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The 2019 International
Crossings Conference

January 27-30, 2019

Our Lady of the Snows Conference Center
Belleville, IL (near St. Louis)


“My God why have you abandoned me?” prayed Jesus, along with the ancient psalmist and countless others over the millennia whom darkness has enveloped and whose prayers have been met with deep and lasting silence.

What authentic Word of God do we speak and embody when we sit with those whose pain and suffering is overwhelming? Is that Word the same for all, whether their suffering and isolation is self-inflicted, a result of corporate or systemic sin, or has no discernible connection to their own or others’ sin, who are merely the hapless victims of a vast, random, capricious universe?

What hope can we honestly urge upon a doomed infant or her distraught parents, for whom nearly all God’s promises have seemed empty?  What authentic promise can we hold out to the masses in myriad circumstances who find themselves likewise abandoned?

Whether among the congregation of battered and bewildered believers, or among the “bruised reeds” who have only questions and fleeting bonds of community, how do we live out our call to honor the crucified Christ and comfort hearts that crave God’s mercy?

– Come join us in exploring these questions at the 2019 conference at the Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois.


Crossings offers the following discounts for the 2019 Conference:
Seminary students AND newly-ordained pastors (up to 3 years into first call) are FREE.
First-time attendees are 50% off.


Keynote Fred Niedner. “When God Is Silent”

Niedner received his M.Div. and S.T.M. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. He earned a Th.D. at Christ Seminary – Seminex where he served as a teaching assistant for Bob Bertram.

With the late David Truemper he wrote Keeping the Faith: A Guide to the Christian Message. He has published numerous scholarly articles and edited several devotional and homiletical resources.


Emmy Kegler

Emmy Kegler is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Northeast Minneapolis ( and the founder and editor of Queer Grace, an encyclopedia of online resources around LGBTQ life and faith (

Her congregation is a small servant-hearted neighborhood community, focused on feeding the hungry and community outreach. She is also co-leader of the Queer Grace Community, a group of LGBTQ+ Christians in the Twin Cities who meet for worship, Bible study, and fellowship. Her first book, One Coin Found: How God's Love Stretches to the Margins is due out in April 2019 and is the story of her journey with and through Scripture as an openly gay woman called to ordained ministry.

She lives in Saint Paul and enjoys biking, board games, books, and spending time with her wife Michelle and their two dogs and cat.


Liv Larson Andrews

Liv Larson Andrews serves as pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Spokane, WA. A graduate of Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, she teaches in a variety of retreat settings and provides leadership regularly to the ELCA.Worship resources such as Sundays and Seasons.

She currently serves on the advisory council of Valparaiso University’s Institute of Liturgical Studies, and in 2018 the Institute recognized her contributions to the church with its Emerging Leader Award.


Rob Saler

Robert Saler is Associate Dean and Research Professor of Religion and Culture at Christian Theological Seminary, where he also serves as Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence.

He lives in Indianapolis, IN with his two children. He loves trail running and live music.


Tom Baynham

Rev. Tom Baynham serves as Associate Pastor for Worship, Music and Church Vitality at Friedens United Church of Christ in St. Charles, MO, with more than thirty years of church music and worship ministry in Baptist, United Methodists, Disciples of Christ, Lutheran and Episcopalian congregations in VA, KY, IN, and NH.

An accomplished leader of congregational song accomplished choral director and soloist, he is also a member of The Century Men, the IN-UNISON Chorus of St. Louis, and The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, also serving on the Advisory Board of the Society’s Center for Congregational Song.


Nathan Hall

Rev. Nathan Hall lives with his wife and two sons in Fryeburg, ME and serves as pastor at Lutheran Church of the Nativity in neighboring North Conway, NH.

Nathan graduated from Valparaiso University with a BA in theology in 2006, and then he received his Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in 2013.


Ruth Hanusa

Ruth Hanusa is an ELCA pastor, serving under call at Saint Mary’s Hospice, Reno, NV. She is also licensed in the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada and is an adjunct priest at Trinity Cathedral, Reno.

She has three children, three grandchildren and two cats.


Lori Cornell

When Lori Cornell is not snowshoeing on Mount Rainier or hiking in the Cascades, she spends her time preaching Christ at Calvary Lutheran Church in Federal Way, WA, supervising her fourth intern, and loving her two brilliant adult daughters.

She is a child of the None Zone in the Pacific Northwest (where religion has a bad name), and she looks forward to the day when Christians there will make the word “Jesus” into something other than a profanity.


Sherman Lee

Sherman Lee is Co-Executive Director of Crossings outside of working his day job as a business analytics consultant for a large financial institution, leading his church’s worship band and communications board (two separate roles), and volunteering for various organizations in the St. Louis metro area.

He and wife Denise may have gone overboard as recent empty-nesters. Fun fact: Sherman was the cover photo for the February 2015 issue of The Lutheran magazine, as an example of someone who joined the ELCA baptized as an adult.


Bruce Modahl

Rev. Bruce Modahl is a retired ELCA pastor. He graduated from Christ Seminary – Seminex, with degrees from Princeton Sem. and Union Seminary, VA. His last parish was Grace Lutheran Church and School in River Forest, IL.

He has written for a variety of publications including Sundays and Seasons, and The Christian Century. His book The Banality of Grace will be available the summer of 2019 from Cascade Press. He and his wife Jackie live on Amelia Island, FL and are enjoying their new vocation as grandparents.


Paul G. Schalow

Paul G. Schalow is a Professor of Japanese Literature at Rutgers University.

His publications include “A Poetics of Courtly Male Friendship in Heian Japan,” which was nominated for the 2007 Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism.


Afternoon       Check in

3:00                 Viewing of the movie “Silence” (tentative)

5:30                 Dinner on your own

7:00                 Lori Cornell –

                        “Revisiting the Crossings Method for 2019 and Beyond”

8:15                 Hymn Sing – “The Songs of Silence”

Prayer, praise and thanksgiving will be an integral part of our gathering.

We pray that you will join us, and bring a friend.