Click on names to learn about people in our community, and how they’re Finding Their Way Back to God.
- Madison McDowell
- Joey English
- John and Kelsie McGlothin
- Ashley Cutshall
- Eric and Kristi Anderson
- Ted and Stephanie Hethcote
- Joy Gaertner
Two years ago, I journeyed to Knoxville to begin my career as a Speech Language Pathologist. Having just finished grad school in Missouri, I didn’t know anyone in this new town but was ready to take a leap of faith. I interviewed for my job and found an apartment all in the same weekend, and since then I’ve been reminded repeatedly of the Lord’s plan for me. He has surprised me with a fierce community and fulfilling work, which most recently includes working with children and their families at the Children’s Hospital. In this role I walk alongside medically fragile children during the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. In doing this, I’ve learned that big milestones don’t always happen in the time we want them to or how we would expect them to. In fact, my patients have taught me that it’s really the small steps happening in between the milestones that makes all the difference. That realization has developed my faith to a deeper level, showing me to take a moment to listen to God and enjoy the moments He provides instead of trying to seek the next. One of the best parts of my job is watching the faces of parents when they get to hear their babies voice or cry for the first time. Watching the joy of a parent seeing their baby take their first taste of food is another favorite. These moments are little milestones that we sometimes take for granted but they are so precious. I am so thankful that I am a part of a faith community that creates and participates in the little moments of my life. My community walks beside me, supports and challenges me on a regular basis. My move to Knoxville has led me to find Crossings, myself, and so many sweet surprises along the way.
I began following Christ when I finally got out of the way. I realized that “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” meant exactly what is says, despite my habit of adding weight to almost anything. Growing up we’re taught to get to the top, images of gold medals are glorified through our televisions. As a budding songwriter I remember thinking, “If you can’t write a song better than Bob Dylan, there’s no point to writing at all.” The bar was set so high that I could only talk down to myself. But all the heavy burdens I laid did eventually get me to an important place — it got me down on my knees. It was there I found that I didn’t need to add more to my life, but I needed to peel back. There were layers and layers that revolved around me, layers that served as a wall between God and this illusion I found myself in. I encountered God in this place of surrender, in returning to I Am. My wife Corey and I joined Crossings in 2017 and were so grateful to find a community that took Christ seriously, that welcomed the stranger as they are. We’ve been nudged toward finding our identity in God, and expressing it through our work and within our community. These days I’m eager to perform my songs, even if I’m no Dylan. In fact songwriting has become inseparable from my purpose here on earth. Whenever I perform, whether to a small audience or large, I always think: “Where two or more are gathered, there I Am.” Art creates a space where we can be broken and poured out together. And there’s a beautiful dance there, a dance that I’m convinced is nothing short of Divine.
John and Kelsie McGlothin
Hello! We are John and Kelsie McGlothin, and we joined Crossings in 2018. We met and fell in love in Chattanooga while both training to be mental health therapists and are now working as counselors in Knoxville. As an Adoption Support and Preservation family therapist, John serves families who have adopted children, both through the foster system and through private adoption. Kelsie works as a therapist at Haven Counseling Center in Bearden, and specializes in trauma healing and recovery. We both have different reasons, different stories, different wounds that led us to into the mental health field. Like many, our individual experiences of seeking God have included times that vary from abundant to lacking, but we both feel strongly that this is the work God would have us do in furthering his kingdom. At a time when John was in great need as a teenager, a camp counselor accepted and invested in him. Now, John has a belief that relationships — steady, compassionate and often silly — have incredible power to heal. This enables him to sit with, talk with, play with parents and kids who are struggling. Kelsie sees her job as a way to gently illuminate and soothe the parts of us that hold shame, pain, grief and fear. As someone who suffered with OCD and anxiety without appropriate intervention or explanation for a significant portion of her life, Kelsie now feels particular joy in expressing a message of “You’re ok, and we’ll figure this out together.” To have this opportunity to be the hands and feet, and hopefully the heart, of Christ is the joy and glory of God to us. On a less philosophical but still important note, our lives are also filled with our huge Pyrador puppy Laurel, genuine friends, silly and sweet nieces and nephews, and lots of coffee!”
Hi, my name is Ashley Cutshall, and I am an ESL teacher at a Knox County middle school which has the highest population of English Language Learners of and middle School in Knoxville. My students are navigating their whole world in a language and culture that isn’t familiar to them. A lot of people think that I teach grammar all day or that I spend most of my class time translating for students, but that is definitely not the case. Most of what I do at the middle school level is teaching them grade level concepts at a proficiency level that is appropriate for that group of students. We practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing and set goals to reach new proficiency levels. Working with a variety of cultures has taught me so much. I’d say the number one thing I’ve learned is how much of a privilege it is to be a part of a multicultural community. I waltzed in to this job thinking, of course they will love me. I’m a really nice white lady. I just assumed my students would love me. But it’s taken years to build trust. My first year teaching, I had limited family engagement and I think that’s because I never stopped and asked “How does this community feel with me being a part of it?” I’ve built trust by committing to this community and learning from the leaders already in the community (i.e. parents!) I am truly working on being first a learner, and then a teacher. I feel like I get to seek out the Kingdom of God in my job by helping my students of all languages and cultures to feel comfortable showing up at school in the wholeness of their own selves, create a sense of belonging for them, and reassuring them of their importance and value in our community.
Eric and Kristi Anderson
When introduced together to someone new and the question is asked about how we met, “In prison,” is the standard refrain; it’s a scratch on the conversational record that skips us to a social justice issue we both care deeply about. Our winding way, first apart, now together travels through the most unlikely of places; prisons and jails and through the locks, walls and razor wire into the hearts of the incarcerated. You see, everyone matters to God regardless of what they’ve done, no one is beyond redemption and restoration: there simply are no disposable people. What if you were only ever known by the worst mistake you ever made? The men, women and youth in custody are reminded continually of their offenses by just about every minute and detail of their life behind bars. For us, moving from the abstract (prisoner) to the personal and known has moved the waypoints on our journey. Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy) insists you have to, “get proximate to the problem.” Hutch, Hicks, D-White, Iron Head, Keith, Ronnie Slim, Deli, Sandra, Cindy, Sabrina – each name recalls a face, a heart, a life that matters. Little by little we come to know each other, we tell our stories from level ground, not about what we’ve done but who we are, and who we are becoming, exhorting one another, not alone, but in community, to love, redemption, restoration, and good works. Working to make prison a place of shalom, where the wounded can find healing, is a driving force and source of joy in our life. We were married under the arch outside of Café 4 in August of 2019, on a Sunday morning in-between Crossings’ services. We love our life in The Knox – the Gay Street Gingers – Graffiti Alley and Market Square in the back yard and Cruze Farms in the front. For us, early mornings are for coffee and the sharing of words read in the books shelved and stacked about, days for work at the 4th Purpose Foundation, nights for Schitt’s Creek, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, or a walk down to the river; weekends for mountain hiking and flower seeking. We are rich in daughters having 4: Miranda, Madelyn, Callie and Emily. We are exceeding grateful for our life in the Crossings Community – come visit us downtown, we love to cook and break bread around the table.
Ted and Stephanie Hethcote
Soon after becoming Christians we began more than 30 years of intense involvement in the Christian community through both churches and non-profit organizations. Our hearts goal was to bring the hope, freedom and unity with God that is available to all the world through relationship with Christ. Then after those 30 plus years of what seemed to be successful Christian work, we both had powerful encounters with God within a 24-hour period. Those encounters altered the trajectory of our lives changing how we engage in our relationships with each other, our family, our friends, and with God. Prior to the time of our encounters much of what we did stemmed from a mindset of very “Black and White/Right and Wrong” thinking. In many ways that made life simple making judgements about people and situations easy. It also made it easy when working with those in distress to simply offer good biblical advice and then disengage from their situation. Our times of encounter changed all of that radically. God showed us that His pleasure isn’t in what we do but rather in who we are. That sounds fundamental enough, but it took on great depth when God started asking us to explore these questions: 1) Who am I? 2) What caused my distortions? 3) What needs to change for me to reflect Him more clearly? Our journey to discover answers to those questions altered our hearts toward ourselves and other people. First, we discovered our own stories and how they impact the ways we engage our world and God. This made us curious about how the stories of others have impacted their lives. Our new journey with God has led us from: “Certainty” to “Curiosity” “Having answers” to “Asking Questions” “Working for God” to “Resting in God” “Talking” to “Listening”
Going through a devastating divorce was a heartbreaking experience, and nearly cost me my life as I was diagnosed with cancer. I found myself feeling depressed, anger and lost. I was afraid I would be stuck in the pain and hopelessness forever I was ill-prepared to handle grief on this level. I thought if I just tried harder and kept busy the pain would go away. I was wrong. The pain did not go away. By utilizing the same Grief Recovery Method® that I now teach to others, I was able to breakthrough the pain and find hope again…to find my smile again! I am an Advanced Loss & Grief Recovery Specialist because I do not want people to be unprepared for the losses that shatter hearts. Instead I want to empower and equip them with tools to process their grief and move beyond the pain. It is a journey from “the dark night of the soul” to resurrection …and new life.