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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.


Please check back often for more updates and information!


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.


Rev. Nathan Hall. Preacher for our worship service

Nathan Hall lives with his wife and two sons in Fryeburg, Maine and serves as pastor at Lutheran Church of the Nativity in North Conway, New Hampshire, the adjacent town. 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.


Sherman Lee. Co-Executive Director of Crossings

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.


Rev. 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.


Rev. Tom Bayham. Associate Pastor Friedens UCC

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 Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and New Hampshire. 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.


Afternoon       Check in and dinner on your own

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

7:00                 Rev. 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.