Officials broke ground on a new worship space at Chapel of the Cross on Sunday as the entire parish gathered to offer prayers, thanksgivings, and music in front the construction site. 

The site is located in the bucolic setting just behind the current Chapel at 674 Mannsdale Road. 

On Sunday, July 19, 1852, the Rt. Rev. William Mercer Green, the first Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi, consecrated to the service of almighty God the Chapel of the Cross.  Bishop Green later wrote in his journal, “the only thing to be regretted was the Chapel could not contain one half of the persons in attendance.”  Since that day, the Chapel has seen a great deal: her bell was melted down during the Civil War, she was used as a hay barn, and teenagers from Jackson would gather in her shadow to tell ghost stories and go parking.  But in 1976, a group of stalwart folk resolved to restore the Chapel and establish a regular congregation.  

And now, as Madison County continues to thrive and grow at a rapid pace, the Chapel is celebrating a season of growth and vitality.  Longtime members and new families with young children fill the pews on Sundays. 

Maintaining the original Chapel will continue to be part of the congregation’s mission, and we will continue to worship in the Chapel, but we need more space for the people to gather on Sunday morning.  Amy Barker, parishioner and Chair of the Building Committee said, “Our mission here at the Chapel begins with 'Welcoming the stranger,” but in our current space, there is not even enough room for all current members to worship together. With this new worship space, we will be able to more completely fulfill our mission and embrace the growth that's happening in our community and our church."

Master planning for the new worship space began April 2014, with a final master plan presented in March 2015, although there have been multiple iterations before that. 

The master plan was developed by Austin Architects from Cambridge, Mass., in association with Barlow, Eddy, Jenkins of Jackson. 

Fundraising began in 2016, and the church has secured pledges of over $3.2 million toward the project. 

On Friday, March 29, the Chapel leadership signed a contract with Probity Construction to bring this plan to fruition.

As the Rev. Ben Robertson, rector of the Chapel of the Cross reflects, “seeing all of the new families with little ones joining the parish, we are also building a Children’s Chapel where our smallest friends can gather and learn about the love of God. “