Holy Cross Anglican Church

Churches | Holy Cross Anglican Church
615 Bay Rd. | (585) 671-0411 | www.holycrossanglican.net

Holy Cross Anglican Church is located at 615 Bay Rd in the Old Bay Rd School. In 1977, the Episcopal church went through a modernization which resulted in controversy among the church members. In protest against the revision of the 1928 Traditional Book of Common Prayer, ordination of women priests and the Episcopal Church’s liberal stance on abortion and homosexuality, several members from the area as well as members from as far away as Geneva, NY and Lewiston, NY met to form a new church. Thirty-three families gathered to establish a church that would follow the traditions and values of the original Anglican Church in England using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Holy Cross of the Diocese of the Resurrection of the Anglican Church of North America was formed and in October of 1977 the first service was held at St. Casimir’s Church. In February of 1978 the governing body of the new church was formed. Officers were named: Robert Cone (Senior Warden), Charles M. Scott Jr., (Warden) Peter L. MacNaughten (treasurer), Ruth Shepherd (secretary) and Vestry Members Lilyan F. Billman, Howard R. Moore, Edward B. Schoonmaker, and Barbara Richards.

Joe and Joan Watson approached the Webster School Board about leasing the abandoned Old Bay Rd School. A lease was signed with the Webster Central School District in May of 1978. Many renovations began including the acquisition of an altar from St. Monica’s convent, the altar rail from St. Rita’s Church, pews from St. Monica’s Church and St. John Episcopal Church. A church member donated an organ and other items were obtained from area church surpluses. Most of the renovations were completed by the church members. Some early church members included Robert and Beatrice Cone, Helen and Charles Scott, Holly and Harry Hoyen, Mary and Les Harmer, Eugene Van Voorhis Bowen, Joyce and Jim Rice, Joe and Joan Watson, Richard Popowych, Peter MacNaughten, Bill Birkett, and Laurel Ann Sevigny Collins.

In June of 1978, the first service was held in the new church with Fr. Stuyvesant officiating. Fr. David Ambuske joined the church in the fall of 1978 becoming its first pastor. While driving home from his job as a program director for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Fr. Ambuske heard about the new church and its need for a pastor on a radio talk show program. Fr. Ambuske contacted the new church and it was agreed that he would accept the position of pastor. He remained pastor until his passing in December 2011.

On October 22, of 1978, the church celebrated its one-year anniversary with a service of the Holy Eucharist and a social hour with specially-decorated cookies.

In 1979, the church purchased the Old Bay Rd school for $35,000 from the Webster Central School District. The Sunday School class of 21 students was taught by Bea Cone and Helen Scott. In June of 1979 Joe Watson decided to look for the old school bell that was thought to be missing. Joe climbed up to the roof to investigate the bell tower and discovered the bell intact. It was in good condition although a little rusty. The old bell had been obscured from view by louvered shutters placed across the belfry windows to keep out birds and small animals. The bell was restored and now rings after every Sunday service.

Over the years many changes and improvements were made to the Holy Cross Church building. In 1981 a reconstruction project was undertaken. The front altar was moved forward to make room for a chancel. Small rooms in the back of the church were removed. A false ceiling was removed revealing a vaulted ceiling. Blackboards were removed; however the chalk trays remained between windows. Walls were plastered and painted, new ceiling fixtures were installed and a new roof was put on the building. In 1982, the Rector’s office was created as well as storage space for the Altar Guild. In 1984, construction began on a large addition and basement project at the rear of the building. In 1987, the addition was completed. This space was to be used for Sunday School classes, dining, meetings and a place for special events. A handicapped-access entry ramp and bathrooms were added and the kitchen was enlarged.

Eugene Van Voorhis and his mother commissioned stained glass windows to be designed and installed at the church in memory of the late State Court of Appeals Judge John Van Voorhis. Marilyn Belle Isle, a Webster artist, was chosen for the job. The work took 2 1⁄2 years to complete. Many hours of thought and consultation with the family and with Fr. Ambuske went into the design. The glass pieces were hand-blown, hand-cut, and sanded before being fitted into the design. In 1987 the new windows were dedicated during the church’s 10th anniversary celebration.

In 1989 Eugene Van Voorhis generously donated a tracker organ built by J. W. Walker and Sons to the church. This organ had previously belonged to the church of St Martin’s in the Field, London, England At the time of the installation of the new organ, the schoolhouse boys and girls washrooms were removed to accommodate the 500 pipes from the organ. The entrance was also opened to the sanctuary. Holy Cross Church has a rich history of music. There is no formal choir, all the church members participate. Several doctoral students from the Eastman School of Music have served as organist over the years including Curt Sather, Daniel Brondel, and Aaron James. Today the organist is Elania McKie.

In 1992 James Ayres found a 1902 pulpit at a flea market; he refinished the pulpit and it was dedicated on October 23, 1994. In June 2003, Fr James Ayres became Assistant Priest to Holy Cross. He remained with the church until 2007.

An additional 0.97 acres of land adjoining the existing church property was purchased in 2004. Several outbuilding on the property needed to be removed. They were demolished by the Webster Fire Department during training exercises. The loan to purchase this property will be paid in full during the summer of 2018.

In 2010 the Webster Museum and Historical Society presented a historic plaque to Holy Cross commemorating the history of the church building. It was noted that School #4 was built on this site in 1839. A new one-room schoolhouse was built to replace the first schoolhouse in 1872 and it remained in use as a school until 1970.

In 2013 the St. Martha’s Guild published “In St. Martha’s Kitchen: Tried and True Recipes for St. Martha’s Guild”. The cookbook was dedicated to Joyce Rice who was a founding member of the guild. The Martha’s Guild formed in 1978 to provide hospitality, ideas for improvements, and outreach through the ministry of hospitality.

2013 also saw the arrival of Fr. Marin Mahoney as pastor. He remained until 2016. Fr. Edward Ihde arrived in 2016 to be Priest-in-Charge. He remains at Holy Cross today.

In March of 2017, a major wind storm in the area cause significant damage to Webster and surrounding areas. that time. The church roof was severely damaged and was replaced at that time.

Pastor’s List

Rev. David J. Ambuske1978-2011
Rev. Harnish [interim]
Rev. McCready [interim]
Rev. Martin Mahoney [interim]2013-2016
Rev. Edward Ihde2016-2017
Rev. Robert Ludwig [interim]2017
Rev. Thomas Stone2019-
Rev. Thomas Stone
Church History


  • “Parish Profile 2017, Holy Cross Anglican Church in America” pg 7,8,9, 2016,
  • www.acanedio.org/parishes/HolyCross/Parishprofile2016.pdf
  • “Church Celebrates First Anniversary”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, November 1, 1978, p 11B.
  • “School Bell Found in Unusual Spot”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, June 20, 1979.
  • Doyle, Chris, “Local Artist designs stained glass windows”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, October 21, 1987, p 1B.
  • “Newly renovated building greets congregation on anniversary”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, October 7, 1987.
  • “Windows tell story of Church in Stained Glass”, Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY, November 28, 1987.
  • “Sacred music concert set”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, October 17, 1990, p 7.
  • Burgess, Lee, “Pilgrims of ‘80”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, November 25, 1980, p 3A.
  • Dioceses of Northeast Anglican Church in America, Webster, NY, Holy Cross ACA, 2010-2018, ​http://www.acanedio.org/
  • Holy Cross Anglican Church, 2010-2017, http://acanedio.org/parishes/HolyCross/index.shtml
  • Bowen, Linda, conversation and review of church scrapbooks, Webster, NY, February 22, 2018.