Community collaboration and connection through COTC

The Chapel of the Cross is hosting “Speed Dating for Community Organizations” in the Great Hall on Thursday, September 24, from 4-6 pm. This will be an opportunity for local charitable groups who are doing great work here in our community to make connections and brainstorm collaborations. More than 30 local non-profits have been invited to attend (see list below). Leaders from each group will have five minutes to engage with other leaders to learn about each other’s strengths and challenges and discuss ways they might work together in the coming year to deepen their impact and share resources to better help those in need.

Non-Profit Invite List:
Augustine Literacy Project
Book Harvest
Club Nova
Community Empowerment Fund
Compass Center
Dispute Settlement Center
Duke Homecare & Hospice
El Futuro
Episcopal Farmworkers
Eyes, Ears, Nose & Paws
Faith Connections on Mental Illness
Family Violence and Rape Crisis Center of Chatham County
Farmer Foodshare
Freedom House
Friends of Orange Co. DSS
Fuel-Up Perry Harrison
Helping Hand
IFC/Support Circles
Justice United
Meals on Wheels
Mental Health America of the Triangle
Orange Alamance Prison Ministry
Orange County Rape Crisis Center
Our Children’s Place
Oxford House
Transplanting Traditions
UNC Horizons

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Hot Off the Press! Sermons of Stephen Elkins-Williams

We are delighted to announce the publication of The Word of Love: Preaching in the Ministry of Stephen Elkins-Williams.  Featuring 80 sermons preached over his tenure at the Chapel of the Cross, the book marks Stephen’s retirement and illustrates his power in the pulpit over the years.

We have had the idea of a book of Stephen’s sermons for a couple of years, and even considered trying to compile a volume secretly, as a surprise.  The celebration committee was willing, but it became apparent that we needed Stephen’s help in remembering, editing, and organizing.  Members of the clergy and the celebration committee read great swaths of sermons — each one a bittersweet trip down memory lane.  But the real hero in all this is David Brown, who acted as editor, liaison to the publishers, advisor to the writer, and mid-wife for the whole project.  We would have no book without him.

The book is available on the publisher’s website as well as through Amazon; however, The Chapel of the Cross is providing signed, softcover copies to members of the parish at a discount. You may purchase The Word of Love online or in person, with cash, check or credit card, for $20 a copy — a 16 % savings over the publisher’s price.

Order your book online through this link, or purchase one at the All About Steve potluck this Sunday, August 30, after the 5:15 service.  You may pick up your signed copy at the parish BBQ and farewell to Stephen on September 27.  (We will let you know if the books arrive and are signed sooner.)
Hard copies and e-reader versions are available through Amazon.  We will be placing copies in local independent bookstores as well. Order today and get your parishioner discount!

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Get Engaged!

August 23, is the annual outreach and engagement fair at the Chapel of the Cross. The event includes a pot luck dinner on the grounds — the last DOG of the summer.

Please join your fellow parishioners in the Great Hall following the 10 am service. Drop your potluck contribution (in a disposable container please) in the kitchen prior to the 10 am service. The kitchen guild will be serving fried chicken, lemonade, and biscuits to go along with what you bring. Bring a side dish big enough to share!

While you are thinking about giving and sharing, stroll through the tables at the fair, where you can find a way to share your talents or learn a new skill. The fair will help you find your place at COTC, whether you are interested in volunteer service, committees and governance, ministry to others, Christian formation, or spiritual growth. Representatives from all of the church’s commissions will be at tables to tell you about their efforts, make you feel welcome, and perhaps sign you up! Be sure and stop by the nametag table to sign yourself and your family up for COTC nametags if you haven’t already. You can get a head start by taking a look at Finding Your Place online. This totally interactive, online directory of parish ministries will give you a sense of the scope and breadth of our outreach and in-reach. We welcome your participation!

Here is a list of participants at press time, organized by commission:

Altar Guild
Children’s Chapel
Lay Readers
Youth Readers

Christian Formation
Adult Education Committee
Centering Prayer
Children & Family Ministry Committee
Church School
Adult Inquirers’ Class
Youth Inquirers’ Program
Men’s Spirituality
Mothers of Young Children
Parent Gatherings
Women’s Bible Study (Weekly)
Martha’s Circle Women’s Bible Study (Monthly)
Vacation Church School

Pastoral Care, Hospitality & Fellowship
CrossTies-20s and 30s social group
Episcopal Youth Community
Good Samaritan Guild
Guild of the Christ Child
Kitchen Guild
Men’s Breakfast Group
Naomi’s Network
Newcomer Shepherds
Parish Visitors
Prayer Circle
Support Team Ministry

Outreach & Social Justice
ABC Sale
Environmental Stewardship
Global Mission Committee
Habitat for Humanity – A Brush with Kindness
Inter-Faith Council
Johnson Service Corps
Outreach Ministry Committee
Preschool at the Chapel of the Cross
Project 5000
UNC Habitat
Justice United

Nametag Signup
Office/Front Desk Volunteers

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Introducing the William Mercer Green Society

Since its inception, the Chapel of the Cross has been buoyed by visionary leadership, by people who could see beyond the present to the great things that our parish could be and do in the world.

William Mercer Green, whom we think of as our “founding priest,” was the first of those visionary leaders.  Not only did he lead with intangible gifts, he also provided the kiln to fire the original bricks of our chapel.

To that end, we are creating the William Mercer Green Society to recognize those who have made planned gifts to the Chapel of the Cross, as well as to educate those who are interested in supporting COTC ministries in perpetuity.

Many of you will be receiving a brochure in the mail that outlines the many ways you can include Chapel of the Cross in your financial plans.  It also includes a message from the most recent of our visionary leaders, Stephen Elkins-Williams.  The planned giving chart and the message from Stephen are included with this email.

The first meeting of the William Mercer Green Society is open to all parishioners.  On September 17 at 7 pm, Stephen Elkins-Williams will give a talk about the Rev. Green and his history with the Chapel of the Cross.  He was a fascinating man, and our parish was not the only one he founded!  Wine and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Please join us as one interesting man talks about another.  And learn how you can “build on the legacy of past parishioners by reflecting the simplicity and generosity of letting go.”

Walker Mabe

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A certain light


The stones of the old buildings in Europe have a certain light to them, characteristic of the great cities and their local quarries and kilns.  This afternoon the east wall of our chapel glows warm and pinky-gold in the cloister light, perfectly blending with the granite of the church and the old bricks of the parish house. The faint echo of the Royal School of Church Music choir, practicing for Sunday’s service in the church, convinces us we are in another time and place. But it’s our time and place, and isn’t it beautiful?


The crew has almost completed work on the east side.  There is just one set of scaffolding remaining, where the workers will repair some of the mortar joints before applying a second coat.  All the parapet caps are in place, including the long cap that runs from the side wall up to the tower.


Once the front and northeast corner is completed, all the scaffolding will be moved around to the west wall and front corner, where most of the parapet caps are already in place.  We look forward to seeing the western wall alive in the blaze of a Carolina sunset.


Our time and place. Remember that during the summer months, expenses continue, even though many of you are on vacation. Please keep your pledge current via online giving while you are away!

Walker Mabe

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Interim Rector Update from James Moeser

On July 9, the Vestry met with Canon Hunn to learn more about the search process for an interim Rector. As you know, the Vestry will act as the search committee for the Interim Rector. Next week, I expect the Vestry to approve a salary line for the new Rector. (We will offer the same salary to the Interim, on the advice of Canon Hunn.)


Heather Benjamin and the Personnel Committee have been gathering information about salaries and benefits from the national church and the Diocese of North Carolina for the last several weeks. She has been in communication with Ann Craver, the chair of the Finance Committee, to make sure that what we propose is financially doable.


Once the Vestry has approved an amount for salary and benefits, we shall communicate that to Canon Hunn. Things should begin to move rapidly after that. Canon Hunn has already been in preliminary communication for possible candidates for our position. He has been in conversation with Bishop Curry about individuals who have served successfully in parishes of similar size and complexity. He has already been in touch with several possible candidates to gauge their interest.  They are developing their list for us.


I anticipate that Canon Hunn will recommend two, or at the most, three candidates for us to consider for Interim Rector. The Vestry will hold two-day interview sessions with each of the candidates through the month of August. These interviews will be conducted in an atmosphere of prayer and a framework of total confidentiality. We will not reveal the names of the persons being considered to anyone, including our own staff. We will ask each of the candidates to celebrate a Eucharist and preach a sermon for the Vestry during this interview period. We will share a meal with them, show them the building and the town of Chapel Hill.


Some of you have approached members of the Vestry with suggestions for persons who should be considered for the Interim Rector position. Please know that you may communicate directly to Canon Hunn at He suggested that if you know of priests who may want to be considered for our position, you should advise them to be in direct touch with him. The Vestry will consider only candidates nominated by Canon Hunn on behalf of Bishop Curry.


Let me assure you that the Vestry is approaching this task with humility and in a spirit of prayer, that we may discern God’s will for us and our church.


Please pray for the Vestry and pray for those who may be hearing God’s call to serve as the Interim Rector for the Chapel of the Cross.


James Moeser

Senior Warden



Stay updated on our Rector transition

The transition to a new Rector comprises three distinct parts: celebration, interim, and search.  Click here for a link to YouTube videos of the meeting with Canon Hunn on June 14. Throughout the summer vestry members will be available after the 10 am service for informal conversations about the rector transition process.  Click here for a link to James Moeser’s transition Q&A; you can see his most recent email by clicking here.   You can stay up to date any time by going to announcements on the home page or using the Cross Roads blog and searching for rector transition.  We want you to know everything about our celebration of Stephen Elkins-Williams, the selection of an interim rector, and the new rector search process. For more transition information, check the kiosk in the Great Hall!
Celebration Calendar

You will want to be part of the parishwide events we are planning for the summer and fall:

  • August 23 — Dinner on the Grounds in conjunction with our annual Outreach and Engagement Fair
  • August 30 — Clergy and staff speak about Stephen Elkins Williams — pot luck supper after the 5:15 service
  • September 13 — Church School Kick-off and skit
  • September 27 — Parish BBQ with music from the Pentecost Pickers and farewell presentations to the Rector
  • October 4 — Blessing of the Animals at 9 am followed by cake; special music at 11:15 am; preaching at both services by Stephen Elkins-Williams
  • October 11 — One combined service at 10 am with special music; Stephen Elkins-Williams to preach and celebrate; farewell reception in the Great Hall following

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Neapolitan ice cream

On these scorching summer days, our Chapel looks like a shimmering mirage of… Neapolitan ice cream.

With the removal of the scaffolding around the tower on the north wall, it is easy to see the original paint color (vanilla), the brick in paint-removal mode (chocolate), and the finished product (strawberry).

The crew have completed the paint removal on the east wall and have started to apply the Keim mineral coating, repairing mortar joints as they go. As I watch from my vantage point, Frank is finishing up the final parapet cap along the east wall. I can hear the lively conversation of the workers from their perches on the east wall scaffolding–always amusing and occasionally instructive.

Next they will erect scaffolding along the west wall and begin the process on that side.

Frank, Sean and all the workers continue to be very sensitive to our schedule of worship, preschool pick-up and drop-off, and special services. And they are maintaining their humor in spite of the heat.

Stay cool. Remember that during the summer months, expenses continue, even though many of you are on vacation. Please keep your pledge current via online giving while you are away!

Walker Mabe

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