Our Story - The "Affluent 80s"
During the 1980s, Holy Apostles continued to build on the solid foundation of ministry and evangelism that was laid by committed parishioners in the late-1960s and 1970s. In January 1981, the rapidly growing congregation was rewarded with full parish status, and the Rev. Robert Allen (previously our vicar) became our first Rector. The cookbook sequel, Munch, Snack, and Feast was also published in 1981.
Parish programs included outreach, evangelism, a rich and varied liturgical life, and numerous community service efforts, plus an active athletic program for our school age children as well as adults. Growth of the surrounding Fox Meadows, Ridgeway and Hickory Hill areas provided positive influence on parish growth through increasing membership, increasing opportunities for ministry, and increasing responsibilities for the congregation. Father Allen left in 1984, and the vestry called the Rev. Robert Certain to became our Rector in August 1985.
By 1986, such vigorous congregational growth and ministry outreach necessitated a new nave and more classroom space. Plans were drawn to convert the original parish hall into four classrooms, the nave into a parish hall with two additional classrooms, and to build a new nave, restrooms, sacristy, and vesting room adjacent to the south end. The northern 5 acres of the property were sold and a capital campaign was undertaken to help finance these changes and additions.
Over 200 communicants of Holy Apostles participated in groundbreaking ceremonies on April 27, 1986. The Rt. Rev. Alex Dixon, bishop of the Diocese of West Tennessee, turned the first shovel of dirt to mark the official beginning of construction on the project to allow the congregation to more than double its evangelism efforts. "We have established a caring and calling ministry program as the first major part of our evangelism efforts," said the
Rev. Certain. "We have important work to do ahead of us, and we are anxious to get started in the new space." The parish celebrated that day with a family picnic and barbecue cooked by the Holy Smokers Too, a BBQ team of members from Holy Apostles and the 1985 champions of the Memphis in May International BBQ Contest. The first service in the new nave was held on Christmas Eve 1986.
In September 1986, Holy Apostles Day School opened, offering pre-school and kindergarten classes. Holy Apostles also hosted chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and the Boy Scouts. In addition, the church developed a ministry to firemen, providing Sunday morning study and worship at the local fire station.
In April of 1987, we sold the parish rectory to Father Allen and held the dedication ceremony for the new 6,500 square foot nave. In December of 1989, the Rev. Certain left and Canon Frank Cooper served as Interim Rector. Throughout the 1980s, Holy Apostles was a thriving congregation with a full program of worship, education ministries and by 1989, we counted almost 500 communicants, with 220 school age children and an annual budget of $130,000.