The History of Holy Cross
After World War II, the Northland consisted of the business district of North Kansas City. This extended to the Water Works, but beyond the bluff of the Missouri River lay open grassland, pasture and farmland. As soldiers returned from the War, the great escape to the suburbs began. The GI Bill, no doubt, provided the funding for mortgages and the Northland began to grow. But it’s God who builds and moves His church here on earth, using dedicated and faithful lay men and women.
The late Mr. Bernard Wendt was the first to take action. He and others felt a need for a parish in the Northland. Mr. Wendt visited with the pastors of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and drafted the first letter to the Missouri District Board of Missions prior to March 1948, requesting help in establishing a mission north of the Missouri River. Rev. Martin Schaefer of the Mission Board informed him there were no funds available for such a mission and recommended that he continue to locate the Lutheran people of the area to justify the need for the new mission. Mrs. Kordula Wendt designed a flyer and walked the streets in the new subdivisions asking all Lutheran people to make contact. Mr. Wendt’s letter was forwarded to the Lutheran Mission Association of Greater Kansas City, and the idea of a church north of the river began to take hold.
In 1950 a mission committee of the Western District, headed by Rev. Schaefer, and using the study done by Mr. and Mrs. Wendt, visited the Northland and granted approval for the organization of a new church. On May 15, 1951, Holy Cross was chartered with the Mission board of the Western District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. With this charter and the help of Pastor Walter Rossnagel, on loan from Our Redeemer, a group of 35 people met at Our Redeemer to demonstrate their interest in establishing the parish. Mr. Wendt and other interested members spent approximately four years convincing the Mission Board that a parish was needed and would be successful.
Sunday worship was started May 20, 1951, with 96 people attending the first service at North Kansas City High School. For sixteen months, pastor Rossnagel conducted the services at 8:00 for Holy Cross and traveled back to Our Redeemer to hold a second service there. Only the flood of July 1951 interrupted this schedule. Expect for a $5,000 grant by the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the Holy Cross Mission was begun with local funding and support. Once Pastor Pardieck was called, the Mission Board subsidized the parish with $250 per month, the pastor’s salary. Holy Cross became a self-supporting parish on December 31, 1954.
The area north of Vivion Road was mostly undeveloped, ripe for development, and with few protestant churches. Mr. Cecil Meier is credited with recommending the building site on Englewood Road. It is the second highest elevation in Clay County and made an excellent site for the future building plans. At a cost of $100,000 the first building was dedicated on February 28, 1953. There were, perhaps, those who viewed the site as too rural or isolated from the population center. Today, however, we praise God for the visionary choice. What was pasture land is now surrounded by residential properties and shopping centers. More importantly, infrastructures of interstate highways converge within blocks of our church, a blessing which is still ours today.