The Crossroad

100 in 10

The Pacific Southwest District in its last triennial convention adopted a mission goal titled “100 in 10.” The aim is to start 100 new missional communities in the next 10 years through the District.

Our District President, our District Mission Executive and the District Board of Directors have identified Bethany’s John Alwood, who has over 2 decades of church planting experience and church planter coaching, as one of the workers to drive this mission effort along the coast from San Clemente to Santa Monica (roughly). John’s ministry will focus on training, equipping and empowering planters to plant missional communities; and develop a Mission Society in the above region, partnering with congregations in this area for the work of 100 in 10.


The District BOD has awarded Bethany a grant to fund this worker and deploy him for this at large, kingdom impacting work. This grant, and a subsequent MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the PSD and Bethany Lutheran Church are good for one year; with funding potential of a few renewal periods. The ultimate hope is that during this time period the established Mission Society could issue a call. In the mean time as Bethany adds John to our staff and deploys him to the District at large for the majority of his work, there is zero fiscal impact to our budget.


When John was in St Louis recently, the Seminary Colloquy Committee asked that prior to his ordination, while beginning the Mission Society ministry, John simultaneous serve a one year vicarage at his congregation (Bethany). John’s daily work will find him serving throughout the coastal region, and his work at Bethany (both campuses) will be in fulfillment of the Colloquy Committee request he have opportunities to preach and lead worship. 


We in turn, as a congregation, will be Sending a worker to Connect and Gather that many might be Blessed by, through and at Bethany.



Dear Holy Cross family:


Great are the Works of the Lord (Psalm 111:2)


I continue to pray you are all healthy and your families are well. Services on Sunday are joyful, and I would like to welcome the guests and Bethany members that have joined us on Sundays as well. Wonderful to see us together.


As we have entered 2024, this will be an exciting year for Holy Cross Lutheran Church. I would like to give everybody an update on the many actions that will be taking place over the coming months.


We will begin our merger with Bethany Lutheran in the coming weeks as we get ready to close on our property with a charter school. This is an exciting time in that together we will be stronger and as you have seen in the Narthex, we are going to begin the design and renovation of our sanctuary. Once final designs are agreed to, the Keltner group will put the project out to bid.  Bethany has already begun assisting us by providing our musical service on Sundays and they will continue to provide a mix of organ and piano players. Bethany‘s leadership has also been assisting us on campus with issues as far as repairs are needed, moving of some items, and just good fellowship as we grow together. Once the sales is complete we can then begin the paper work and actions needed at the State of California level to change our property status.


The Charter School group is making good progress on plans for the campus, and they are working to obtain the city’s approval. The Foundry, our realtor is keeping us up to date. February is targeted for closing of the sale to Red Hook. It will take approximately 30 days for full closure on the property to occur at which time we will receive funds and will be without the school property.


The Keltner group, the Architect team that we have contracted with is working on a final design phase after input from the Leadership Board and we look forward to seeing that in the coming weeks. They estimate the construction will take approximately 4 to 5 months, during which time we will not be able to use the sanctuary. The Leadership Board along with Pastor Kritzer is looking at alternatives for when and how we will be able to meet on Sundays and during the week as needed.


I also want to thank those that have been assisting with cleanup up of materials for disposal and the moving of items to storage and relocating office space. Betty, Ethel, Ethel’s grandchildren, Nathan, Mark, Dave, Frank and Cameron Kritzer, Pastors son. If I missed a name, I apologize.


As mentioned in prior Crossroad editions, if you would like time with the pastoral staff, please contact the church office and speak with Nathan to coordinate and if you have any questions for myself let me know. Nathan is placing the schedule of hours in the bulletin.


We continue to have much to be Thankful for and am looking forward to the continued growth of our ministry here at Holy Cross and with Bethany. If there are any questions, please contact any of us on the Leadership Board or contact Nathan.


The positive activities continue at Holy Cross and God Bless our congregation.


Les Friend

Eagle Scout

Mikayla Bowman earned her Eagle Scout in Dec. Her project was to build bookcases for Precious Life Thrift Store. Thanks to Don and Carol Doss for mentoring her in this project.  Mikayla and Brady were among the last Scouts to earn their Eagles while Holy Cross sponsored Troop 657.

† Luther’s Corner †

So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!


Martin Luther



Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

          At the February, 2023 voter’s meeting the members of Holy Cross voted to merge with Bethany Lutheran Church, Long Beach.  We are drawing near to the formal merger of our congregations.  Our congregation will have multiple campuses, one of which will be Bethany Lutheran at Holy Cross; our address remaining at 4321 Cerritos Ave in Cypress, as we become one congregational body.   


          One of the steps in becoming one, is the merger of membership rosters.  This letter is simply to let you that this will be taking place on January 18th, 2024.

As our congregations merge, a new governance structure is being put into place.  Mark Ruhl from Holy Cross is serving on the interim Board of Directors of Bethany.  Our new congregational structure will include a leadership team for our multi-site ministry locations.  As Holy Cross campus will remain a site of Bethany Lutheran Church, we will naturally have a servant leadership team at Holy Cross from those who generally gather and connect with the ministry at the Holy Cross campus.  The new structure will provide by laws regarding how members are elected/appointed to these teams.  As we start this new life together, the servant leadership team at the Holy Cross campus will consists of the present leadership team of Holy Cross. 

In January, you’ll officially become a member of Bethany Lutheran Congregation and soon thereafter, our congregations will become one official entity.  If you have any questions about the transferring of memberships to Bethany please contact pastor Kevin or Les Friend at



> -discussion of what the next 5-6 months looks like, what the following 6-8 months looks like, and visioning of what takes place as we start anew/afresh on our renovated campus, with our new neighbors. 

Future of the Church (at Large, on the corner of Arbor and Clark, in Downtown LB and on Cerritos blvd in Cypress…


The rise of the Nones sounds like a Star Wars meets Rome novel but nones is with an o and ending in an e not nun…Those who no religious preference.

“If you were born between 1925 and 1945 there’s a 65% chance that to this day you worship at least monthly in a Christian Church.  If you were born between 1946 and 1966 there’s a 50% chance that to this day you worship at least monthly in a Christian Church. If you were born between 1967 and 1987 there’s a 35% chance you worship at least monthly in a Christian Church. If you were born between 1987-2007 there is a 20% chance that you worship at least monthly in a Christian Church…2007-2027 is yet tbd, but if clip continues, which seems likely that means there will be a 5% chance.”  


Of course, monthly worship and daily identity are different things, but they track the same…another survey reveals that: A few decades ago a Christian identity was so common among Americans that it could almost be taken for granted. As recently as the early 1990s, about 85% of U.S. adults identified as Christians. But today, in the early 2020s only about 60% of adults identify as Christians.6 

In other words, when I was ordained in 1992 only 8% of the US population said they had NO religious preference (NONE) by 2000 it was 14%, by 2010 it was 18% and in 2020 25%. 


To further cause alarm, concern or heartache – today’s nones have been raised by, or are themselves, de-churched people.  In other words, those who at one time were connected with a congregational entity and had themselves a Christian identity…when the children of the nones are adults (two decades from now) the estimate is that instead of 60% claiming Christian identity and 25% claiming no preference the rates will be inversed and 60% will claim to be nones and 25% Christian.



What is the solution?  A missiologist named Roxburgh says,


  1. We must recapture the missionary, sent nature of the church. The church doesn’t just SEND missionaries, the church IS the missionary. (individually and collectively) G,C,S are essential


  1. We must activate ALL the people of God to engage in Jesus’ redemptive mission in their local contexts. We have to diminish both the sacred-secular divide and the clergy-laity divide. We need to “deprofessionalize” ministry. You are a Gatherer…


  1. We must start new, smaller, simpler, agile expressions of church that start with and are organized around mission.


  1. We must cultivate a more comprehensive view of discipleship and evangelism that is more contextual, relational, communal and Kingdom/Jesus-centric.


  1. We must use different metrics to measure “success” that focus on missionary behaviors and activities in the daily rhythms of life and not just what happens on Sunday morning.


  1. we must lean into that with which we are having success at countering the trend…***FOR US…quick side note from general state of the church to our church – SCHOOL and School relationships…Precious Lambs Preschool and Sycamore Charter School… in a world in which so very few children to go worship and claim Christian identity being part of a ministry that is baptizing, connecting, equipping, gathering children to Jesus…


The good news is that means there is plenty of kingdom work to do!  The other good news is that of the de-churched, those who have quit attending, according to the most recent pew and barna polling – haven’t done so because of scandal among Christians/churches, mean congregants, scientific discovery or faith incompatibility with modernity.  The top reasons given are


#1 We moved


#2 Something caused us to get out of the habit




Of course, these stats also impact congregational stats: *prior to the pandemic Nation wide – cross denominations – a large church statistically speaking was considered to be one with 600 more in worship on a Sunday…today that number is 200.  Pre pandemic the average size of an LCMS congregation synod wide was an average attendance of 85 today it is 55.  In OUR circuit – only 1 congregation besides Bethany averages more than 55 week.  Our District believes (from experience) that without 100 worshippers a congregation will not be able to afford a pastor and cover the rest of the fiscal need for a brick and mortar facility.

To further complicate matters we are moving further and further away from having plenty of pastors to serve … The burnout rate of clergy is tremendously high.  The moveability of “successful” clergy is even higher and a long tenured pastorate in a setting that is filled with animosity, unrealistic demands or micro management is non existant… there are simply too many churches with too few solid pastors in our church body to hold someone in place simply because they got nowhere to go.  Conversely pastors that congregants would love to share with a different congregation…they are staying where they are at…


So the good Lutheran question is, what does this mean?  The answer isn’t as simple as it used to be…maintaining what has been…a worshipping location and centrality is imperative…it must be dynamic and vibrant but it must be partnered with new expressions and new venues of faith community.  (By that I don’t mean a smoke machine and heavy metal Christian music – that’s fine if that’s your jam, but even that is in house…the nones aren’t saying to themselves, I’d go to church if only they had smoke machines and heavy metal music…) 


Planting missional communities/churches that almost exclusively meet in places other than a sanctuary and church property at the very same time we are seeking to make our sanctuary and church properties places of dynamism and vibrancy.  And we also need to continually find ways to engage members in community service/human care. 


So as we have TWO campuses and THREE Focuses into the future we are truly going to be striving to equip and empower our members to be active in our mission in the places God has placed them – at the same time equipping and empowering a ministry in the places we have places to be engaging…

 Stewardship 10

January 2024

   We are comfortable with the knowledge that prayer, worship and giving are parts of stewardship. However, there is a tendency to see giving as being only monetary. There are many ways in which we can give. I would like to suggest these ways for this month.


  1. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to attend church regularly.
  2. Thank Betty Koester for her long, dedicated service to being interim property manager.
  3. Pray for a speedy renovation project at Holy Cross
  4. Pray for the merger with Bethany.
  5. Actively welcome visitors.
  6. Chat with someone you don’t always talk to at coffee time before church.
  7. Compliment Pastor on the lovely Christmas Eve service.
  8. Smile at a stranger..
  9. Send a card to a shut in.
  10. Thank Richard Staley, Don Plog and Joe Thees for their diligent work on Power Point even when it isn’t working proplerly.



From the Ashes

Midweek Lenten Service

Wednesdays 12:00pm at Holy Cross and 6:30pm at Bethany


When it seems as though your life has burned down, are you left beyond hope with nothing but a heap of ashes? Join us for midweek worship during Lent as we discover how Jesus raises you “From the Ashes,” to new life through his life, death, and resurrection.


Feb 14 – Ash Wednesday – “From the Ashes” – John 11:25-26

Feb 21 – “Temptation & Worship” – Matthew 4:1-11

Feb 28 – “Humility & Serving” – John 13:1-11

Mar 6 – “Submission & Purity” – James 4:8

Mar 13 – “Confession & Forgiveness” – Joel 2:12-13

Mar 20 – “Sacrifice & Security” – Hebrew 9:11-14