Holy Cross Episcopal Church, a mission congregation of the Diocese of San Diego, was born as a mission of St. Michael's By-The-Sea, a larger parish in Carlsbad. Beginning in the early 1980s the Diocese desired a spiritual presence in the rapidly growing area of South Carlsbad. It was agreed that St. Michael's would sponsor a congregation, and a nucleus of members there began to plan the new mission. The Rev. W. Neal Moquin, then a curate at St. Michael's, became the first vicar, and the first service was held in a community center on November 30, 1986.
Holy Cross remained at that location for four years, when a move to a storefront facility in 1990 finally freed the mission from the weekly task of building and tearing down a "sanctuary" every Sunday A.M. and enabled the worship space and the vicar's office to co-exist in the same location. In 1995 Holy Cross moved once again to a larger location in an industrial park where it remains to this day.
In 1996, the Rev. Walter Edelman was appointed vicar by the Diocese to replace Fr. Moquin who had been called by St. Michael's to serve as their rector. Fr. Edelman retired in 1999 and was replaced as vicar by The Rev. Shannon Phelps. In 2000 The Rev. Cannon Bill Dopp was appointed interim vicar of Holy Cross.
The Diocese then broke with tradition and allowed a search committee to call a priest. After an eighteen month search, The Rev. Michael Nee became the fifth vicar of Holy Cross. The congregation grew to over one hundred as families were attracted to the parish. Renewed excitement and optimism led the way in a search for land to build a church building. A site nearby was located and purchased by the Diocese. The congregation held a very successful capital campaign, and building plans were being seriously considered. However, in the spring of 2006, the Diocese was forced to sell the land due to financial constraints.
Concurrent with the sale of the property, the controversial issues of the 2006 General Convention took place. Unrest ensued within the congregation, and many members left Holy Cross during that time. In November 2006 Fr. Nee announced his departure from Holy Cross and the ECUSA. Many of those who had remained followed Fr. Nee to form a new Anglican parish in the area.
However, the twelve to fifteen "holy remnants" of Holy Cross never skipped a beat and continued to worship in those early months. The Diocese quickly appointed the Rev. Ted Atwood as interim vicar. Since then the Sunday attendance at the single 9 A.M. service has grown. Thirty to forty five members worship together each week, and optimism is high. Since the split, attendance is up 89%, pledges are up 41% and Church registry up 169%. In September 2009, we embarked on a search for a vicar to replace Fr. Atwood who has been so instrumental in our "comeback." On July 1, 2010, the Rev. Dr. Laura Sheridan-Campbell assumed the position of Vicar with her first service being held on July 4. In March 2012 Holy Cross moved to its own building on Gateway Road, in the Bressi Ranch community of Carlsbad.