Tracking and Crossing Our World After November 8, 2016

A Crossings Training Seminar

January 22-24, 2017

Our Lady of the Snows Conference Center

Belleville, IL (near St. Louis)

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An election happened in the U.S. on November 8. Some people rejoiced at the outcome. Others mourned. This mixed reaction surfaced also among Christians, including those who identify with the Crossings Community.

Whether mourning or rejoicing, these Christians have been asking the same question. “Where is God in in all this?” Or more sharply, “What is God up to in this current American moment?” More sharply still, “What is God asking of me right now?”

This seminar aims to tackle these questions head-on. To that end, Steve Kuhl will lead a classic Crossings workshop that 1) “grounds” our thinking in the Epiphany texts from the Sermon on the Mount, 2) “tracks” the present set of issues these texts are driving us to face, and 3) “crosses” those issues with the word and promise of Christ crucified.

We think you’ll find this of tremendous help as you continue in coming months to respond to the election and its aftermath. Respond we must, whether we’re thrilled by the outcome or still in shock over it. Again the question: “How do we respond faithfully, in a way that is true to the God-in-Christ we all happen to trust?”

We hope to see you in Belleville, where we’ll be glad for your insights. Spread the word. Bring a friend.


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Sunday, January 22

3:00 PM – Registration begins.

5:30 PM – Dinner.

6:30 PM – Welcome.

6:35 PM — Session 1: Tracking Our Post-November 8 World.  Panelist (Steven Kuhl, Pat Keifert, Martin Rafanan) prime the pump for a thought discussion about our world after November 8, 2016.

8:00 PM – Evening Prayer.  Reception in the Hotel.  Book signing of “Gift and Promise” with Ed Schroeder.

Monday, January 23

7:00 AM – Continental Breakfast

8:45 AM – Morning Prayer

9:00 AM – Session 2:  Back Tracking: “Crossing Life with the Promise of Christ.”  More Tracking by Participants and Introducing Crossings (Grounding, Tracking, Crossing) as a way of relating the World we experience with the Word of God we proclaim.

10:30 AM – Break

10:45 AM – Session 3: Grounding:  What does this Scripture mean?  Interpreting the Texts for Epiphany Using the Crossings Template (Steven Kuhl and the Crossings Board)

Through Small Group discussion we will learn more about the Crossings Template and how to use it for interpreting/programming Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Texts for Epiphany: Mt 4: 12-23; Mt 5:1-12; Mt. 5:13-20; Mt 5;21-37; Mt 5:38-48; Mt 17:1-9.

12 Noon — Lunch

1:15 P.M. – Session 4: Time Out:  Tracking/Crossing Crossings.   The Crossings Board wants to explore with its Community quandaries, ideas and possibilities about the future of Crossings.  (Jerry Burce with the Crossings Board.)

3:00 P.M. – Break

3:30 P.M. – Session 5: Grounding, Continued.

5:00 P.M. – Break

5:30 P.M. – Dinner

6:30 P.M. – Session 6:  Crossing:  First attempt to connect the two stories, Our Post-November 8 World and God’s Word.  (Steve Kuhl, Mike Hoy and Jerry Burce) We will attempt to connect the Session 1 Tracking of U.S. reality since November 8 with the Matthean Groundings as an exercise in thinking about our world through the lens of the Gospel.  Time will be given for everyone’s input.

8:00 P.M. – Evening Prayer followed by a reception with refreshments in the Hotel.

Tuesday, January 24

7:00 AM – Continental Breakfast

8:45 AM – Morning Prayer

9:00 AM – Session 7:  What have we learned? Table discussion and report to the plenary group.

10:15 AM – Break

10:30 AM – Session 8: Discipleship in a Post-November 8 World. 

The Crossings board panels up and reflects out loud on the Template Step 6 possibilities for discipleship (and the cost thereof) for the times in which we live, both for themselves–and possibly for the rest of us present.

12:30 PM – Lunch and Departure.

Guest Speakers

Patrick Keifert

Patrick Keifert is Professor and Olin S. and Amanda Fjelstad Regstad Chair of Systematic Theology Theology at Luther Seminary, adjunct professor at the School of Law of Hamline University and the President and Director of Research of Church Innovations Institute, a church related non-profit seeking to “innovate our church’s capacities to be missional.”  His work in these three settings find a common link in his interest for “Public Theology,” the way the gospel informs the missional outreach of the church and impacts the challenges of everyday life.  Pat received his M.Div. from Christ Seminary-Seminex and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  He has published many articles and seven books, including, Welcoming the Stranger:  A Public Theology of Worship and Evangelism (1992) and We Are Here Now:  A New Missional Era (2006).

Martin RafananMartin Rafanan is an ordained minister in the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and presently serves as the Coordinator of Champions Programs for Missouri Jobs with Justice, a broad-based coalition of community, labor, student and religious groups across the State of Missouri. Through his work he brings an important perspective on the economic and social challenges faced by typical workers and their families in Middle America.  Holding degrees from Christ Seminary-Seminex (M.Div.) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (D. Min.), over the years Martin has received numerous awards for his social ministry work, including the Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Award of the Peoples’ World.

Michael HoyMichael Hoy is long-time member of the Crossings Community having served in the past as a Crossings Board Member, Crossings President and Editor of the Crossings Newsletter.  He still contributes occasionally to the Crossings Blog and regularly for the Crossings Text Study ministry.  He holds a M.Div. degree from Christ Seminary-Seminex and a Ph.D. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Mike is presently retired, but keeping active as a theological writer.  He is known by the Crossings Community for bringing two rough draft books of Robert Bertram into print, A Time for Confessing (2008) and The Divorce of Sex and Marriage:  Sain Sex (2012), and for his recent Advent devotional booklet called, “From Heaven Above” that Creative Communications published and distributed for the 2016 Advent Season.

Crossings Board Leadership

Crossings Board Member Steve AlbertinSteve Albertin is the President of the Board of Crossings and a regular writer for the Text Study ministry.  He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, serving as the pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, Zionsville, IN.  Steve holds M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees from Christ Seminary-Seminex and a D. Min. Degree from the Lutheran School of Theology.  Over the years, he have written several new hymns and published several collections of sermons through CSS Publications.


Crossings Board Member Jerome BurceJerry Burce is long-time member of the Crossings Board, Contributing Editor for the Crossings Blog  (aka Thursday Theology), regular writer for Crossings Text Study ministry, and frequent presenter and speaker at Crossings Events.  He did M.Div. training at Christ Seminary-Seminex and later earned a D. Min. Degree from Hartford Seminary.  Jerry began ordained ministry as a missionary in Papua-New Guinea, where he was born to missionary parents.  He presently serves as pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Fairview, OH.  In 2000, he published a book through Trinity Press International entitled Proclaiming the Scandal:  Reflections on Post-modern Ministry.  A review is on the Crossings site at

Crossings Board Member Steven KuhlSteven Kuhl is the Executive Director of Crossings, a regular Text Study writer, an occasional contributor to the Crossings Blog, and the Contributing Editor of the Crossings Newsletter.  He is an ordained minister of the ELCA, serving at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in accord with the Full Communion Agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church USA, and Adjunct Professor in religious studies for Lakeland University.  Steve received his M.Div from Christ Seminary-Seminex and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  He has published articles in numerous journals and books, latest being a chapter in the Crossings produced book Gift and Promise: The Augsburg Confession & the Heart of Christian Theology, published through Fortress Press in 2016.

Crossings Board Member Cathy LessmannCathy Lessmann has served the Crossings Community for many years as its Executive Secretary.  In addition, she is a regular writer for Crossings’ Text Study ministry, the logistics coordinator for Crossings Events, and the layout editor for the quarterly Crossings Newsletter.  Cathy holds a Masters of Arts in Ministry Degree from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and serves the church in the St. Louis area in many ways, including, as chairperson of the Lutheran School of Theology in St. Louis and as a licensed lay minister in the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Her skills as a writer and theologian are amply displayed in the “Afterword” she wrote for the new Crossings book, Gift and Promise: The Augsburg Confession & the Heart of Christian Theology.

Crossings Board Member Chris ReppChris Repp has served on the Crossings Board of Directors of Crossings since 2009 and is a regular writer for the Crossings Text Study ministry.  He received his M.Div. training at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and holds a B.A. in Russian Language and a Ph.D. in Russian history from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  From 1999 to 2003 he taught Church History and Systematic Theology as an ELCA Missionary at the Lutheran Seminary in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Chris presently serves as pastor at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Champaign, IL and wrote the chapter called “The Trinity as Gospel,” in Gift and Promise:  The Augsburg Confession & the Heart of Christian Theology.

Crossings Board Member Bill WhiteBill White has been a member of the Crossings Board of Directors since 2011 and is a regular writer for the Crossings Text Study Ministry.  He was first introduced to Crossings through a group in Florida called the Order of Philippi that regularly invited Crossings Co-founder Bob Bertram to lead Crossings Workshops.  It did not take long for Bill to see the value of Crossings for his own edification and ministry.  Bill is a pastor in the North American Lutheran Church, serving presently at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, SC.  He earned an M.Div. Degree from Lutheran Southern Seminary in 1985 and a D. Min. Degree from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2003.



About Us

In the early 1970s two seminary professors listened to the plea of some lay Christians. “Can you help us live out our faith in the world of daily work?” they asked. “Can you help us connect Sunday worship with our lives the other six days of the week?”  That is how Crossings was born.


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