Pastor Beth Birkholz was born in Flint, Michigan, and is happy to be back up north after many years away. After multiple moves as a child due to family job transfers, her family settled near Knoxville, Tennessee where most of them still live. She went to Trinity Lutheran Seminary, did a pastoral internship in Colorado, and then served several churches in the Atlanta, Georgia area over the next 16 years.
Pastor Beth loves being on or near water of any type, trail running, yoga, square pizza, and dark roast coffee. She is certified as an Ashtanga yoga teacher and will be happy to discuss why Ashtanga is like Lutheran liturgy. Together with her husband, Pastor Scott, they have two children, two cats, and a Good Dog named Chipper.
Pastor Beth records a podcast most weeks that discusses the translation of the week's Gospel reading from the original Greek to the English. It can be found on the Revs Podcast page.
Pastor Scott grew up in upstate New York. He graduated from the State University of New York in Syracuse with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio with a Master of Divinity degree. After interning in Washington D.C. and Denver, Pastor Scott served three calls over sixteen years in Atlanta. He has been a youth director, associate pastor, new church planter, and senior pastor, and now serves as co-pastor of Holy Cross with his wife, Pastor Beth Birkholz.
Pastor Scott is a frequent contributor to Living Lutheran magazine and was one of the writers of the 2010 movie Get Low, which starred Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray. He followed up the movie by writing a book on the same story titled Uncle Bush's Live Funeral.
Pastor Scott and Pastor Beth have two children, two cats, and a seventy-pound lap dog named Chipper Jones. They love the outdoors, and Pastor Scott is especially fond of lacrosse and Syracuse University sports. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, his blog, and email.
Michael Burkhardt was called to be our first Cantor* in August 2013 after five years among us as an on-site resource teacher and leader. During that time, he founded the Hearts, Hands and Voices Fine Arts Program for children in Southeast Michigan and taught us all about the power of music and liturgy. Upon his installation in September 2013, Pastor Dana remarked, “Worship plays a central role in inspiring and equipping us in our life of discipleship, and music is integral to it. What is unique about his leadership is that he understands that the primary instrument in worship is the human voice. As accomplished as he is, the bottom line is, 'Did the people sing?' Rising above and beyond categories of 'traditional' or 'contemporary,' under his leadership worship at Holy Cross utilizes music of all times and places to bear the Word, and makes it accessible for the person in the pew to sing – because worship is not a spectator sport. Liturgy is literally ‘the work of the people.’ And our people work!” Michael is known around the world for his compositions (choral, organ, and instrumental), for his teaching (choral and organ), for his innovative and inspiring hymn festivals, and for his creative work with children. He is in frequent demand as a choral clinician, organ recitalist, and hymn festival leader.
In addition to his role as Holy Cross Cantor, he is Artist–Professor of Organ at Eastern Michigan University, the Artistic Director of Holy Cross’ Hearts, Hands and Voices Fine Arts Program for children, and the Artistic Director of the Detroit Handbell Ensemble.
Michael Burkhardt is a graduate of Carthage College, Kenosha, WI. He earned his M.M. from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, and his D.M.A. from Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
*The term cantor is the historic designation for the vocation of the Lutheran Church musician who normally serves as organist, director of choirs and instrumental groups, and teaches, encourages, and nurtures the musical talent of the congregation. The cantor’s calling extends into the larger community in which the congregation is situated.
Cindy Channey is the Office Administrator at Holy Cross and is often the first friendly face you see when you walk in the door (and the first voice you hear on the phone!). She makes sure bulletins are ready for worship services, puts the monthly newsletter together, maintains the church calendar, as well directing “traffic” in a very busy building.
Growing up in Livonia, Cindy attended Franklin High School and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree and teaching certification for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. Cindy is married to Mike and they have a daughter, Sarah, who attends Grand Valley State University. She is also “mom” to Chloe dog and Alley cat.
Please contact Cindy for any administrative questions, including scheduling life events, building use and renting the Fellowship Hall.
Kimberly Rowe is the Director of Youth Ministries here at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Her job includes working with youth to ensure they feel comfortable and accepted, while having fun and learning about the Gospel. Kim has worked with young children and youth for most of her life, including volunteering for three years in the youth program, teaching at a daycare facility and working as a nanny. She currently resides in Westland with her husband Jason and their sweet pup Lily. In addition, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, working out and enjoying the great outdoors. Most importantly, Kimberly’s previous experience being a youth in the Lutheran church has formed her strong passion to be a part of youth ministries now.