Rev. Elizabeth C. Birkholz
Pastor Beth is 42 years old and grew up the daughter of a General Electric executive living in many places throughout the U.S. and abroad. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Mass Communications in 1996 and from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio with a Master of Divinity degree in 2001.
Pastor Beth served as a Pastoral Intern at Abiding Hope Lutheran Church in Littleton, Colorado from 1999 - 2000. She also served as an Associate Pastor at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta, Georgia from 2001 - 2002. Her next call was as a Redeveloper at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Dahlonega, Georgia from 2003 - 2006. That was followed by an Associate Pastor call at Holy TrinityLutheran Church in Marietta, Georgia from 2008- 2016.
Pastor Beth is passionate about wellness as part of God's call.She has had some kind of wellness ministry in every congregation she has served. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga instructor, as well as a runner, hiker and camper.
Pastor Beth is married to Pastor Scott Seeke.They have two children, Miriam and Jonathan and live in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Rev. Scott J. Seeke
Pastor Scott is 43 years old and grew up in upstate New York. He graduated from State University of New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science in 1995 and from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio with a Master of Divinity degree in 2001.
Pastor Scott served as an intern at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Falls Church, Virginia from 1998-1999 and as a Pastoral Resident at Christ Lutheran Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado from 1999 - 2000.He then served as an Associate Pastor at Cross of Life Lutheran Church in Roswell, Georgia from 2001 - 2006.Next he was called to be Pastor/Developer at The River Lutheran Church in Alpharetta, Georgia from 2006 - 2013. That was followed by an Interim Pastor call at Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Marietta, Georgia in 2014 - 2015. Since 2015, Pastor Scott has been the Senior Pastor at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Writing is a hobby of Pastor Scott.He is a frequent contributor to Living Lutheran and has a writer page on their website. He has his own website, scottseeke.com, where he blogs and promotes his own writing. Pastor Scott was also a writer 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 entitled Uncle Bush's Live Funeral. He also produced a short film called Boxes.
Pastor Scott is married to Pastor Elizabeth (Beth) Birkholz.They have two children, Miriam and Jonathan and live in Alpharetta, Georgia. Scott and Beth love the outdoors and Scott is especially fond of lacrosse and Syracuse University sports.
Dr. Michael Burkhardt
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.
The Journey 2004-2014
Pastor Dana Runestad and Pastor Benjamin Morris
Over the past ten years, the Holy Spirit has been very busy in the community of Holy Cross. We have been blessed by pastoral leadership that has acted as a catalyst, feeding a transformation process that continues each day. For the last 16 months, we were inspired and equipped by a unique Spiritual Leadership Team of three amazingly talented people: Pastor Dana Runestad, Dr. Michael Burkhardt and Pastor Benjamin Morris.
Pastor Dana Runestad dedicated ten years to guiding us to destinations we didn’t know existed. She was with us from October 2004 through November 2014. With much sadness, we wished her Godspeed and farewell as she left to join husband, Dr. Barry Rabe, in a year-long fellowship in Washington D.C. Pastor Dana served us with joy and grace, never letting us forget that God is in the center of all we are and all we do. Her passion for preaching, liturgy and the power of communal worship informed who we are. Her enthusiasm for vision for the sake of the world stretched our horizons. Her vision for worship and music prompted her to encourage a close friend from her days at Carthage College, Dr. Michael Burkhardt, to settle in Southeast Michigan.
Pastor Benjamin Morris was an unexpected gift of the Holy Spirit in our midst. He was with us from August 2011 through December 2014. We were looking for a part-time youth director, and God sent us a full-time pastor specializing in Youth, Culture and Mission. Pastor Ben’s special gift for preaching, bible study and relationships sparked a yearning for us to share the God We Know with those who don’t. He inspired innovative ways of looking at mission, ministry and community…everything from our youth program 6.1.2, which features a shared meal, to our Annual Brew and Stew, pitting home beer brewers in competition as well as chili cookers. It is amazing what ministry can happen rock climbing at the local rec center. Pastor Ben will be sorely missed as we wish him well in his Call to Campus Ministry in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.