Important Figures

These are a few of the significant historical figures from our parish.


Dr. William Rainey Holt, the man to whom the Church building (1924) serves as a memorial. This brief biography of Dr. Holt was composed in 1925 by Archibald Henderson, the parish historiographer, with input from Mr. Erwin, Dr. Holt’s grandson.

Dr. William Allen Erwin, the parishioner who funded the construction of the “new chapel,” which we now call the Church, in memory of his grandfather, Dr. William Rainey Holt. Mr. Erwin was recorded to have said that his purpose in funding the construction of the beautiful church building was to establish, at the site of the University, a place where the word of God would be so faithfully preached and beautifully enjoyed that the young movers and shakers of the state couldn’t help but receive a strength of faith “once delivered to the saints.” This biography of Mr. Erwin was composed in 1925 by Archibald Henderson, the then-historiographer for the parish.

The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, renowned civil rights activist and the first African-American woman to be ordained to the Episcopal priesthood, was a native of nearby Durham, N.C., and had a strong connection to our parish. After becoming ordained, Rev. Dr. Murray offered her first communion in our chapel. Learn more about Rev. Dr. Murray and our mutual history here.

Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, a former rector who went on to become Bishop of Virginia.

The Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple was ordained North Carolina’s Bishop Suffragan on June 15, 2013. She is the sixth person to be ordained into this role and the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Province IV. The Chapel of the Cross sponsored her for ordination in the mid-1980s and ordained her a transitional deacon in 1987.