About us: Staff

 Manny 2J. Manny Santiago: Executive Director 

It is with great joy that I join the ministry at The Crossing. This is a wonderful place to do God’s work and to empower students to transform the world with actions of justice that reflect the God of Life.

I grew up in a coffee farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico with parents that instilled in me a deep respect for life, for creation and for people. I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus with a degree in Sociology. After this, I attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, where I studied for a Master in Public Administration with a concentration on public policy analysis. Finally, my call to ministry led me to Newton Centre, Massachusetts, where I finished a Master of Divinity degree at Andover Newton Theological School with a concentration in Global Christianity, Cross Cultural and Interfaith Ministries.

Ordained in the American Baptist Churches, I have also served congregations of the Metropolitan Community Churches and the United Methodist Church. The Holy One has led me to serve ministries in Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, New York and Washington state. I have also had the chance to teach courses at the university and seminary levels in fields that range from introduction to Christianity to ethics, liturgy and theological writing.

I have a deep passion for social justice and this has led me to work with individuals and communities in places such as Cuba, Panamá, Nicaragua, El Salvador, México, Venezuela, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and the Diné (Navajo) Nation in Arizona. My work with international organizations has also taken me to other countries such as Canada, Greece, Italy and Turkey.

I have too many passions to list, but among them are traveling, reading, writing, cooking – I absolutely love cooking – and standing up for justice in our world. Life has blessed me with a wonderful spouse, Ferneli Hernández, and we have a five year old kitty, Susa.

I look forward to many years at The Crossing working with and empowering students to transform their lives, the lives of others and the whole world.

Feel free to contact me at manny@crossingministries.org. I look forward to hearing from you!


Karla Schmidt: Campus Minister

As we begin the 2016-17 school year, we are excited to welcome back returning students as well as new students who will find in the Crossing a space of welcome and belonging.  I have been with The Crossing since 2001 and feel so blessed by the many students who have enriched us with their presence.  I grew up in the Midwest (a small town in southern Illinois) attending Illinois State University majoring in History (Middle East focus) and Anthropology.  After graduation from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, I did an internship with PrairieFire Rural Action in Des Moines, IA and then served churches in Peoria Heights, Il; Madison, WI; and Whitewater, WI.  Since 2001 it has been my joy to serve as Campus Minister at the Crossing.

Here at the Crossing we seek to offer a ‘space for grace’ where your own faith journey can be nurtured (even as you encounter questions, doubts, and challenging life situations).

It has been exciting to work with the various traditions which support The Crossing.  I find myself embracing each tradition and their convictions of:

  • “God is still speaking”  (United Church of Christ, the tradition in which I am ordained)
  • “Open minds, Open hearts, Open doors”  (United Methodist welcome of everyone)
  • “Soul Freedom” (American Baptist belief that we each have our own faith experience and understanding beyond dogma)

I also embrace the Quaker understanding of the ‘inner light’ and the value of contemplative practices to open our hearts and minds more deeply to the Christ within.  As I grow in my own spiritual journey, I more and more embrace FR Richard Rohr’s understanding of God when he writes:   “God’s life of love is being lived within you, and you must simply learn how to say yes to that life. If you exist on a level where you can see how ‘everything belongs,’ you can trust the flow and trust the life.”

What a gift it is to offer a space where you as students can explore your spiritual lives and beliefs during your university career.  Come visit and find your place among us!  Consider the Crossing a home away from home – a community where you are known and loved.  If you have questions or would just like to get together to visit, please contact me at karla@crossingministries.org.


immer-valle-2Immer Valle: Crossing Administrator & Building Manager

I am Immer, the new Building Manager and Administrator. I have lived in Madison for almost five years now and I love it! I love seeing the seasons change and the beautiful lakes. We moved from Phoenix, Arizona, where I grew up. I started my administrative career in 2012 working for a great law firm and I enjoy working in an office set making sure things are running smoothly. I love playing the piano and leading worship every Sunday at my local church. I am the mom of 4 beautiful children that make my life more beautiful each day. I am very excited to be a part of The Crossing and I look forward to meeting you soon!

To reach Immer Valle you can email her at office@crossingministries.org


Sam MoritzSam Moritz: Quest Coordinator

I am excited and blessed to be joining The Crossing staff as Quest Coordinator following my graduation with majors in International Studies and Chinese from UW-Madison.

As a student, I attended The Crossing and was a member of the worship team for four years. I love the community at The Crossing and the passion everyone has for living out their faith by creating a more loving and just world. In addition to my involvement with The Crossing, I also have experience working with the local non-profit community, teaching and tutoring from the elementary to undergrad level, and working as a camp counselor with students from across the US and the world. I have also had the privilege to study at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan and Nankai University in Tianjin, China. I am most passionate about engaging in issues related to poverty and education. In my free time I enjoy reading, biking, hiking, listening to music, learning languages, tutoring, watching sitcoms, and of course, traveling.

The Quest program creates amazing opportunities for students to learn about critical issues by engaging with, listening to, and serving communities across the world. I look forward to facilitating Quest trips which are eye-opening and deeply transformational, and which give students a holistic and nuanced view of very complex problems in our world today.

I am also excited to be coordinating new outreach program to international students in the coming year-I love meeting people from around the world! Together we will create a fun and supportive environment for both international and domestic students to learn, grow, and thrive. I look forward to seeing old faces and meeting new ones in the coming year! You can reach out by emailing to sam@crossingministries.org


Cody GoetzCody Goetz: Program & Ministry Intern

With great joy, child-like faith, and a passion for learning and dialogue, I am excited to join the 2015-2016 Crossing staff as the Program & Ministry Intern. As a current University of Wisconsin senior, I am currently working towards a double degree in Spanish and Music, with an emphasis in piano performance and pedagogy. I began attending the Crossing Vespers service sporadically during my freshman year and soon became a regular attendant in the fall of 2013. Before becoming an intern, I helped establish “Queer Students of Faith” and served as the pianist for our worship ensemble at Sunday night Vespers.

As the Program & Ministry Intern, my role is to help facilitate the various programs and events at the Crossing in conjunction with our Student Activities Leadership Team (SALT) and Karla Schmidt, our Campus Minister. In addition, I direct our worship ensemble and help coordinate the Vespers to create a safe, welcoming, and empowering worship space for our students. This year, I hope to work together with the students, staff, and Board members of the Crossing to create programs, provide services and events, and promote dialogues that honor and develop an understanding of the human experience within the contexts of music, faith, and personal identity.

When I am not at the Crossing, studying or practicing, I am teaching piano, walking to Picnic Point, hanging out with friends on State street, reading various literature, learning how to cook, or spending time with God and the scriptures. Feel free to stop by during my office hours to chat and get to know one another. I look forward to meeting you and growing together in faith and friendship. I hope and pray that you may find a home in the Crossing and know that indeed, ALL ARE WELCOME in this place.

Get in touch with Cody by email at cody@crossingministries.org


Bill LoveBill Love: Development Consultant

Hello, I am thrilled to share in the experience of the Crossing and to support its ministry.  My wife, Gayle, and I met and fell in love as participants in an ecumenical United Campus Ministry program at Texas A&M university.  We moved to Madison in 1991 and love the area, though it took some time for me to get used to the Wisconsin winters.  I enjoy biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and have recently gotten into kayaking the lakes.

Gayle and I are members of Middleton Community United Church of Christ and on occasion over the years have helped with the after Vespers Sunday evening meal at the Crossing.  I have worked in the areas of case management and social work, but my longest most recent work was at First Unitarian Society as support staff in the areas of annual giving and planned giving.

Robert SchuettpelzRobert Schuettpelz: CPA, Crossing Financial Consultant  

I am excited to take the experience I have gained over the years working with other not-for-profits and apply it to the Crossing.  I have 18 years of experience in public accounting working with a wide range of not-for-profit organizations.  I am the proud father of two nine year old children adopted from Russia eight years ago.  I am also the Executive Director for a Madison based NGO working in Ukraine called Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S. (FOCCUS).

Barb Weisensel: Weis Bookkeeping, LLC

The Crossing is grateful to our Bookkeeper, Barb Weisensel, who has been with us for several years!

A Day in the life of a Bookkeeper – from The Princeton Review“Bookkeepers track all cash flows, billing, and lines of credit that affecttheir companies. They must be detail-oriented and tenacious; they have to track down and rectify any discrepancies, however small, in the company accounts. Most bookkeepers work as internal accountants for small firms that do not have an accountant on staff. They have a large amount of responsibility to the company, and sometimes (particularly at the end of the year and around tax-preparation time) have to work long hours in order to do their job properly…”