Church Staff


Lead Pastor: R. Adam Berndt


It is a blessing to be serving at Cross of Hope Lutheran Church and Schools and living in Albuquerque. I enjoy spending time with my wife, Laura, daughter, Addison, and son, Bennett, as we explore the great southwest. God calls us all into a community of faith to explore, work, and be sustained by a real relationship with God, and being together in many different ways brings excitement and joy to my days. The kids, faculty, staff, and community of faith are an inspiration to me in ministry and I look forward to continuing to discover God in this place. Please be invited to come see and experience God at work through the ministries and community of Cross of Hope!



Pastor: Matt Powell


I began serving as a Pastor at Cross of Hope in September 2013. I serve in a part-time capacity with a special emphasis on evangelism, outreach, and discipleship ministries. I feel called to part-time pastoral ministry during this season of my life so that I might have additional time for the exciting and unpredictable vocation of parenting. I am from the Midwest—born and raised in Indiana, graduated college in Ohio, and seminary in Minnesota. I was ordained in 2001 and have served congregations in Maryland and Wisconsin before moving to Albuquerque for my wife, Rachael, to accept a call to serve as Pastor at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Nob Hill. We have a son who was born in 2008 and our family enjoys all of the outdoor opportunities available here in New Mexico. The people of Cross of Hope inspire me every day as their lives witness to a vibrant faith lived in the beautiful and messy places of our work, schools, neighborhoods, and homes. At Cross of Hope we are all at different points in our journeys of faith. None of us have our lives or our faith completely figured out. Come and experience God with us, share your story, bring questions, and use your God-given talents to impact our neighborhood and the world with God’s grace!




Director of Music, Youth and Family Ministry:  Richard Hielkema

Richard serves as the music director and youth and family ministry for Cross of Hope Church as well as the music instructor in the elementary school. Richard holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, K-12, and a Master’s degree in Music Education. Richard enjoys spending time with his family whether it is playing in the backyard or out camping. He and his wife Erin have three children. Other hobbies include playing golf, skiing, and watching any type of sports that might be on TV.

Church Administrator: Linda Willoughby

Linda Willoughby Nov 2016 NEWLinda Willoughby Nov 2016 NEW

 I believe God has led me to work at Cross of Hope to utilize the skills of administration. It is a true blessing to meet and come to know many of the congregation folks, staff and volunteers. Being a disciple of Christ is fun, but it is also serious business. I have an accountability to God to live the life of Christ and to disciple those around me.

 The activity of ministry of interaction with all ages that happens during the week is what excites me about Cross of Hope, in that ministry does not stop on Sunday. Here at Cross of Hope there is constant interaction of ministry with our Preschool, Elementary, and office Church Staff.

 I invite you to come and experience ministry in action at Cross of Hope. Here, there is a spark for you to get charged with. The bread of life is plentiful now and throughout the week. Come and get fed.



Administrative Assistant: Nancy Morrison

At Cross of Hope, Nancy prepares all church bulletins, and announcements, and she prepares the media presentations for worship. Nancy, Greg, and their daughter, Heather, moved to Rio Rancho from Minot, North Dakota, in 1993 and joined Cross of Hope in June 1995.


Preschool Director: Mary Sue Hale

I feel very blessed to be a part of the Cross of Hope Lutheran Church and Schools community.   My husband Danny and I have two children and four grandchildren and spending time with them is our biggest delight. We also love to spend time traveling. It is exciting to be a part of this vibrant ministry at Cross of Hope. I thank God every day for calling me to this ministry. Spending time with God’s precious little ones, showing them His love and ministering to the families does not feel like work at all!   The preschool staff inspire me every day as I watch them nurture, love and educate the children placed in their care. I am blessed every day I come to work. Please know that you are welcome to come by the preschool at any time. You might consider attending our Christmas Play in December. I promise you will come away feeling blessed!


Director of Elementary School Ministries:  Pastor Matt Powell




Accompanist: Amy Ellis

Amy Ellis

Amy accompanies the first and second services. Prior to living in Albuquerque, Amy grew up in Eagle River, Alaska, where she first learned how to play the piano. Since then music has been a big part of her life - she has accompanied small and large choirs, vocalists, instrumentalists, and even the occasional musical. One of her fondest memories is of playing the pipe organ for several years at her hometown Lutheran church. She also sang for seven years with the Anchorage Concert Chorus and currently sings with the University Chorus at UNM. In addition to working at Cross of Hope, she is a Dual Language teacher at APS, where she teaches in Spanish. In her free time she enjoys reading and being in the great outdoors.





 Florence Begay - Nursery Caregiver


Sarah Apelian - Nursery Caregiver




Director of Financial and Business Operations:



Bookeeper and Payroll Clerk : Erin Sachs