In keeping with the church’s rapid growth, members built the first rectory in 1986. With the continuing growth that the church has experienced in recent years, this building became the church business office in 2001.
In 1997, the narthex wall was moved back to its original location, expanding nave seating for the growing congregation. Stairs now lead up to the renovated balcony above, which is home to the choir and the beautiful English pipe organ installed in 1999.
The Church of the Cross celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004.
The Church of the Cross has seen much during the century and a half plus it has graced the May River bluff. The historic church offers much more than a lovingly restored architecture. It shelters a fellowship of Christians — growing even more rapidly than Bluffton — with a long history of devotion to the community.
Rooted in the Past
Passing through the heavy pine front doors at The Church of the Cross seems like a step into a time long gone. It’s easy to imagine the summer congregation of island planters beginning June Sundays with worship. You can almost feel the cool morning air wafting through open windows as the harmonies of hymns float out. You might picture the small winter congregation in 1900 huddling around a potbellied stove in the narthex chapel, listening to St. Matthew’s recounting of the nativity on a chilly Christmas Eve. Indeed many church members recall such days and nights until the early 1980’s. They remember the leaky roof, visiting priests, and bees and squirrels nesting in the walls and crevices.
Sheltering the Present
In the two decades since The Church of the Cross grew from a mission to a parish in the Diocese of South Carolina, the number of parishioners has increased twenty fold and in excess of seventy lay-led ministries have been added to serve the parish and surrounding communities.