Mission and Core Values
Mission: Crossings Akron connects cultures and cultivates community by offering opportunities for educational, practical, spiritual and relational interactions which result in improved lives and healthy, safe and reciprocal friendships that glorify God.
Core Values: Prayer, transparency, humility, respect, relationship, empowerment, open-handedness.
Meet Our Executive Director
Hi, my name is Bena. I am the Executive Director of Crossings Akron. It’s a tremendous privilege and joy to be part of such a special group of people from all over the world.
My husband and I have been married for more than 30 years. We have four adult children. We moved to North Hill in 2017 to be closer to our international friends, and we love it here! In our free time you will find us hanging out with our grandchildren or hiking with our dog, Beau.
MY BACK STORY
My life was changed forever the day I impulsively raised my hand and said, “I’ll do it.”
It was 1982. My high school principal announced that the local resettlement agency needed tutors for refugees from Cambodia. I had no idea that volunteering to help would open a whole new world to me. I had never spent time with people from other countries or cultures, so there was no way I could have anticipated how deeply impacted I would be by the experience.
I spent lots of time with my new Cambodian friends. I loved learning from them, experiencing their foods and traditions, hearing their stories, sharing their lives. And it was fun to help them with English and to introduce them to things like bowling and baseball and fireworks. I discovered that it was possible to truly connect with, love and care for people who are very different from me.
A few years later I got married and moved to Ohio. My husband and I continued to have many cross-cultural experiences and relationships, but it would be decades before I would have another opportunity to purposefully welcome refugees and immigrants to our country and to start sharing life with them again.
Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our
lives as well.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
A BRIEF HISTORY ON CROSSINGS AKRON
Fast forward to 2015. I was working at a church and as we became aware of the large numbers of refugees and immigrants coming into Akron, we felt that we should welcome these new Americans. God talks a lot about refugees/foreigners in the Bible and He always says to welcome, love and care for them.
From one man he made all the people of the world.
Now they live all over the earth.
He decided exactly when they should live.
And he decided exactly where they should live.
God did this so that people would seek him.
And perhaps they would reach for him and find him.
We formed a little team which included an intern named Christy, my co-worker Cassie, and me. The three of us started exploring ways to welcome new Americans to Akron and found that the most consistent thing we were hearing was that the adults wanted to learn English. So, with a handful of volunteers, we started to offer English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes. Thanks to the generosity and kindness of the people at Urban Vision (www.urbanvisionministry.org) we were able to use their building for our classes.
Over time, our English Center became our hub. Our offerings expanded to include citizenship, driving, ‘Life in America’ workshops, and help with all kinds of paperwork and other areas of life. It became a busy and exciting place with volunteers coming from all over the region, and students coming from all over the world.
Crossings has grown in ways we never imagined. We have become a community of people from many different cultures, all just doing life together. The teacher/student dynamic has morphed into reciprocal friendship marked by hospitality, fellowship and the sharing of food, family and faiths.
In 2020, we recognized that Crossings had become something that went beyond belonging to just one local church. Therefore, with the blessing of our original supporting church, we became a separate non-profit, 501(c)(3) entity. We continue to meet in the Urban Vision building as well as in various homes, yards and parks. The English Center is still our main point of contact, but we also enjoy a variety of workshops, pot-luck dinners, holiday events and our popular Story Pods, which offer a safe space to learn and discuss stories from the Bible with people from all faiths and with all levels of English.
What We Believe
At Crossings we welcome people from all faiths. Our community is rich with people from many different religious backgrounds and beliefs. We enjoy the friendship and fellowship of diverse cultures and we deeply appreciate all who are willing to cross religious, cultural and language barriers to be in authentic relationship with one another.
Our Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff adhere to the following beliefs:
- We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of people, and the divine and final authority for all Christian faith, life and conduct.
- We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ, without any change in His eternal deity, became man through conception by the Holy Spirit and virgin birth and that He died on the cross, a perfect and complete sacrifice, in our place and for our sins, according to the Scriptures. He rose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of God the Father, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.
- We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict of sin and regenerate the sinner upon believing in Christ, at the time of regeneration baptizing the believer into the one body, of which Christ is the head, and to indwell, guide, instruct, fill and empower the believer for godly living and service.
- We believe that every person was directly created by God in His own image, but that humans fell into sin. The entire human race is, therefore, lost. Only through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and regeneration of the Holy Spirit, can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.
- We believe that the atoning death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground of justification and salvation for all who believe, and that only such as receive Jesus Christ by personal faith are born of the Holy Spirit and by Him are sealed to the day of redemption.
- We believe in the personal, imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ and that the hope of His appearing has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead; of the believer to everlasting life with the Lord, and of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting and conscious punishment.
- We believe that the Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the body of Christ, of which He is the head.
- We believe that water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during this present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation.
- We believe that all the saved should live in such manner as will honor and glorify and not bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord, and that it is commanded by God to remain separate from false doctrines and sinful pleasures, practices and associations.
- We believe in the existence of angels who worship God and minister to believers. We also believe in the existence of Satan, the devil, a fallen angelic being who, with his demons, opposes God, His people and His work, but over whom Christians can have spiritual victory.