Staff

Rev. Christian & Molly Ruch

Rector
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Christian serves as the rector of Church of the Cross and his responsibilities include preaching, overseeing the staff team, and providing pastoral care. He grew up in Indiana, went to college in Ohio, did seminary in Illinois (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and ended up in Minnesota (but he still roots for the Colts…well, actually, he doesn’t really care about football, but if he did, he would be a Colts fan). One of his favorite things to do as a pastor is to get together with people and hear about their lives and their interests. He enjoys spending time with his wife Molly and four kids—Aidan, Cyrus, Drew, and Lottie. He also enjoys reading (novels, history, theology, movie reviews), running, traveling to new places, and working obscure cultural references into his sermons.

Molly has loved serving at Church of the Cross since it began in the Ruch’s living room. The living room is still used for hosting Newcomer Dinners, planning meetings, cookie exchanges and more. Her focus at church is helping develop leaders and strategize mission, especially in her role as Church Plant Coordinator for the Minnesota Deanery of the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Like her husband, she loves to read but they typically don’t share books as hers include topics on art (including wallpaper design), architecture and business. Museums are places she goes for both solace and to be reinvigorated, and her four children often accompany her, sometimes willingly. She loves to learn people’s interests and connect them to others with the same. She likes the smell of coffee but not the taste, so she’ll join you for coffee and have a cup of tea.

Rev. Peter Berg

Deacon, Pastor of Youth + Adult Ministries
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Peter loves teaching and encouraging Christian maturity, as well as hanging out and having fun, and these traits work perfectly for him as the Pastor of Youth and Adult Ministries. He received his B.S. in youth ministry in 2006 and his M.A. in theological studies in 2008. He and his wife, Elizabeth (who also loves serving our church’s teens and adults), began attending Church of the Cross in 2009, began ministering in 2011, and he was ordained a deacon in April 2016. Aside from being with his wife and two sons, Corin (3 years old) and Elis (newborn), Peter enjoys reading, playing video games, and spending time with friends.

Annie Birtcil

Office Manager
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After growing up in an old colonial Episcopal church in Maryland—her dad on the vestry and mom on the altar guild—Annie came to faith as a young mother and grew up in it through Bible Study Fellowship.  It took only one service at Church of the Cross in 2005 to bring her here. Two years later she applied for the office manager position and was enthusiastically hired. Her role continues to be one of those rare lifetime joys of loving one’s work and being perfectly suited for it. Annie shares her home with two cats who love watching birds as much as she does and has two college-age children.

Andrea Lang

Pastor of Children's & Family Ministry

After visiting a Christmas Eve service in 2006, Andrea’s heart was drawn to Church of the Cross from the first moment as she thought, “Some people get to come here every week!” Andrea has been attending COTC since moving back to MN in 2007, taking a respite from a life of coming and going. After calling 7 different locations home, collecting an eclectic combination of Exercise Science and Oboe Performance degrees, and starting a family with her husband Matt, Andrea has finally found a place to be planted in her church and community. Andrea has delighted in saying “yes” to opportunities God has brought along and establishing roots, from serving on the worship team, working as a nursery coordinator, then joining the Children’s Leadership Team in 2012. The opportunity to “bloom” and take on the ministry of her beloved mentor, Liz Stewart, was an easy privilege. With a passion and energy for people, Andrea believes there is no higher calling than shepherding and making spaces for children to weekly engage with the Spirit & body of Christ. In her spare time, Andrea loves cooking, playing music, tending her large perennial garden, and filling the family calendar full of gatherings of friends and loved ones.

Andene O’Neil

Pastor of Worship Ministry
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Andene grew up in the cornfields of southeastern Minnesota where she became passionate about music, the humanities, and ministry. Throughout her time at Bethel University (B.A. History) and then Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, these passions turned into masters degrees (M.Div. & Th.M. in Church History & the Arts) as well as a worship ministry position at Gordon College near Boston. While there, she fell in love with the Anglican tradition and intertwined her studies and work with the worship life of the Anglican Church. Eventually, tuning into A Prairie Home Companion just wasn’t cutting it and she felt called to return to her Midwestern roots where she met her husband, Sean. These days they live in NE Minneapolis where, together with their toddler son Lincoln (and a new baby on the way), they love to play music, make delicious food, watch good movies, and go on lots of outdoor adventures.

Rev. Rick Stawarz

Deacon, Pastor of Connecting & Outreach
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Rick and his wife, Molly, spent six years living in Birmingham, AL before moving to Minneapolis. While in the ‘ham, Rick received an M.Div. from Beeson Divinity School and served as Assistant Pastor at Christ the King Anglican. They are originally from the Midwest and are incredibly excited to be closer to their roots, especially since their three girls are now only a few hours away from the grandparents’ lake cabin. In addition to teaching the Word, Rick loves to talk about Apple technology and fussy coffee. Following his residency at Cross, Rick hopes to plant a church within the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Oh, and you should probably know that their last name is pronounced like “Star Wars,” but without the first R.

Rev. Cheryl Witham

Deacon, Pastor of Formation
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God began preparing Cheryl’s heart to be Anglican in 1989 when she and her family lived in England for two years. Coming to Church of the Cross in 2005 was like coming home. Prompted by a passion to see lives transformed by Christ, she studied spiritual formation at Bethel Seminary and completed a masters of Theology in 2004. After the death of her husband John in 2010, Cheryl was ordained as a deacon and began to serve on staff at COTC in 2013. She serves our community through the ministry of prayer, the experience of biblical narrative, small group spiritual formation as well as sanctuary liturgical arts. In 2014 Cheryl and Gerard Pierre were married. They minister together in prayer and in the sanctuary arts. Their lives are full of love for many; grown children, in-laws and grandchildren (35+), as well as those from our community in Hopkins and around the world. They are also really good cooks!