Events & News

Total Wellness: Unwind & Relax your Mind

Free Art Experience

Second Saturday of Each Month — 10-11:00 am

September 11 subject will be “Imagining A Safe Place.”

Relax and feel better by creating art! 102 N. Main Street, Hillsboro (2nd floor of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau)

As a Christian organization, the art lesson will begin with a brief devotion with relationship to an artist or artwork. Participants will then use line, pattern, and color to create unique art. Supplies will be provided. No previous art experience required. All ages are welcome, but 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Register by calling 217-851-5424 or contacting dianesingler @

small paintbrush over palette of greens, blues, yellows, pinks
Healing & Wellness Events

13 Week DivorceCare Program

Thursdays & Mondays @ 7pm, Sep 9 — Dec 6, 2021

Are you and/or your children angry, hurt, and confused about your separation or divorce? DivorceCare, an online support group, is offered to those who are hurting deeply by separation or divorce. Participants can join the open group at any time throughout the 13-week span, beginning September 9, 2021 through December 6th, 2021 at 7:00pm. All participants are encouraged to attend at least three consecutive sessions to become comfortable and committed to the group. The material is biblically based, but participants do not have to be a member of a church to attend.

The 13-week sessions include:

  1. Video material prior to small group (average 40 minutes each)
  2. Small group discussion via Zoom (scheduled 45-60 minutes)
  3. Workbook for personal study and application. The workbook has a cost of $15 with scholarships available, if needed.

Additionally, there is a program for children called DivorceCare for Kids or DC4K. This is also a 13-week online group and, like DivorceCare, children can join at any time during the 13-week program. It meets on Mondays. This open group follows the same topics each week as the adult version, except it is age appropriate (5-12yrs.).

The 13-week youth sessions include:

  1. Video material prior to or after small group (averages 15 minutes each week)
  2. Small group discussion via Zoom (scheduled 20-30 minutes)
  3. Activity Workbook to follow along. The activity workbook has a cost of $15 with scholarships available, if needed.

For more information on both programs please check out the registration pages and send a message to the Ministry Leaders.

DivorceCare Program Series

Upcoming Meetings

Third Tuesday of each Month — 6:30-8:00 pm

Cross Over Ministries Board Meeting
Second level in the Montgomery County Farm Bureau (102 N Main Street, Hillsboro, IL)
In case of bad weather or other meeting restrictions, it is possible we’ll meet via Zoom - watch our Facebook page for notices!

Training Opportunity

Life-Saving Training Sessions

Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help.

QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Training to be offered in high schools and junior high schools in Montgomery County beginning in the fall of 2021.

Dates and Details of upcoming training opportunities To Be Announced!

Staying Connected & Supported Free Webinars

Archived Videos from Grace Alliance

Premiered March 23 & 25, Watch Anytime!

“Refreshing & Renewing our Minds” | “Practical Ways to Manage Life Stressors”.
Mental Health Grace Alliance is doing what they can to help us all manage these long days at home ... and the stress we’re all feeling. That’s why Grace Alliance has provided some free topics from their Thrive workbook (Thrive mini-workbook) and live and interactive free webinars.

Free Webinars and Mini-Thrive Workbook from Grace Alliance

Recent News

Radio Intervew: AMC with Shawn Balint

WSMI Radio

WSMI Radio’s “Around Montgomery County with Shawn Balint” featured an interview with representatives from Cross Over Ministries on Saturday, May 1, 2021. The fifty-minute long discussion included an overview of the faith-based organization, current issues and challenges for individuals and community in 2021, breaking the stigma, mental health opportunities for whole person wellness in the local area, and spreading the word and hope about Mental Health Awareness Month.

Pastor Cassie Sexton-Riggs Joins Advisory Council

Cross Over Ministries is delighted to share that Pastor Cassie Sexton-Riggs has joined our Advisory Council. She will be joining Pastor Randy Sands of the Hillsboro Free Methodist Church, Pastor Jeff Hemken of Calvary Baptist Church in Hillsboro and Matt Houser, Principal of Faith Bible Christian Academy in Rosamond.

Pastor Cassie has been the Pastor of the Union Avenue Christian Church in Litchfield since November, 2017. She is also the Secretary of the Litchfield Ministerial Alliance. Her husband, Michael, pastors the Union Avenue Christian Church in St. Louis.

“I believe that being healthy involves spiritual, mental and physical,” Pastor Cassie explained when asked her reasons for becoming a part of Cross Over Ministries. “You can’t truly be healthy without taking care of all three. Mental health is the one we never talk about though because we have been taught it isn’t ‘polite’ and that has contributed to the mental health crisis in our country.”

She went on to share, “The lack of mental health care has a direct correlation between drug and alcohol addiction and suicide. All of these are major issues here in Montgomery County.”

“It will be a privilege to be able to have the Board of COM seek advice and get input from Pastor Cassie,” Linda Liebscher, President of Cross Over Ministries, said. “I have gotten to know her through the Litchfield Ministerial Alliance and I and the rest of the Board along with the other members of the Advisory Council are looking forward to building a strong relationship with her.”

Cross Over Ministries is a Christ-centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities in Montgomery County and beyond. For further information about COM, please visit their website at or their Facebook page.

Lynette Weiss Cross Over Ministries Newest Board Member

Lynette Weiss joined the team of Cross Over Ministries (COM) as a Board Member at the last meeting on February 16, 2021. Lynette brings a wide variety of experience to the team as a Licensed Professional Counselor, retired Air Force veteran, ministry leader for DivorceCare/DC4K, wife to an amazingly supportive man named Jake, and mother of two through remarriage.

Lynette’s own divorce in 2008 led her to seek a program of care and healing called, Broken Promises, for her and her son, Gary.

“The Program helped my son and me grow closer to God and better understand how to recover from divorce,” Lynette shared. “That is why I am so passionate about the Divorce Care and Divorce Care for Kids Program.”

In 2010, Lynette was deployed to Afghanistan. Amid a blackout base and being the only female from her unit, she remembers a New Year’s Eve that changed her purpose in life.

“I was laying in my bunk silently crying as I listened to bombs detonating nearby and shaking the ground. I prayed that God would send someone for me to talk with, to share my fears and emotions. Unfortunately, there was no one.”

Lynette decided at that moment to pursue a career as a therapist. Upon her return, Jake and Lynette began dating and marriage was discussed. Lynette suggested to Jake and his daughter, Sami, that they attend the Broken Promises program, also. This helped the couple build a firm foundation with God as well as have a more informed understanding of the challenges of divorce and remarriage.

“I am so grateful for my knowledge as a therapist, but I am even more grateful that I can connect with others on a professional level to aid in their healing, Cross Over Ministries will allow me the opportunity to use my passion, my knowledge, and my lived experience to give others hope and encouragement,” Lynette said.

“Lynette has volunteered with COM for almost 2 years. It is a privilege to have her as a Board Member,” said Dawn Young, Secretary of Cross Over Ministries.

“I agree,” Kate Wedekind added. “Lynette will be an integral resource with COM in the supervisory role of the Living Room that will be coming very soon.”

The Living Room will be a non-clinical, recovery-focused resource for anyone struggling with mental health conditions, substance use disorders or life issues.

“All of us are pleased to welcome Lynette to the team. She is so relational and compassionate,” Andrea Ruppert said. “It is a blessing to work alongside of her.”

Cross Over Ministries Remembers Survivors

Hillsboro Journal-News

Twelve people dressed in warm clothes kneel outdoors behind white lunch bags lit from within with electric candles, all the bags arranged in the shape of a ribbon twist for a cause.

Pictured above, from the left are Recovery Support Peers Tanya Maria, Tudy Hill, Amber Kith and Kyle Smith, along with Cross Over Ministries board members Linda Liebscher, Wayne Wedekind, Jodi Reynolds, Kate Niemeier, Lynette Weiss, Andrea Ruppert, Diane Singler and Becky Wedekind. [PHOTO COURTESY OF BROOKS MORELAND]

Around the world, people pause to remember the survivors of suicide loss at the end of November each year. It’s a day set aside for survivors to come together to find connection, understanding and hope through their shared experiences.

Cross Over Ministries in Montgomery County hosted a special ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Shane Cole Park in Nokomis.

Prior to the ceremony, participants were asked to select a bead necklace in a variety of colors. The colors signified their relationship to someone who has been a victim of suicide. Orange signifies the loss of a sibling, purple is the loss of a relative or friend, white is the loss of a child, gold is the loss of a parent, red is the loss of a partner or spouse, silver is the loss of a first responder or military member. Teal beads signify that someone’s loved one struggles, blue beads support the cause and green beads support a personal struggle.

The group created luminaries in memory of those who have been lost to suicide and read their names in a special ceremony.

Following the reading of names, the ceremony included a Native American rock and feather ceremony, which is an ancient ritual of healing and hope. The rock and feather are used to represent both the pains of the past and the hope of the future.

Before concluding the ceremony, Cross Over Ministries announced two new board members, including Andrea Ruppert of Witt and Jodi Reynolds of Nokomis.

They also announced they will soon open The Living Room, which provides a mental health crisis alternative for adults, on the second level of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau building in downtown Hillsboro.

It will offer free crisis intervention, an alternative to hospital emergency rooms and a safe, comfortable and confidential place for those who need it.

Montgomery County’s New RSPs

Hillsboro Journal-News

Representatives of Crossover Ministries attended the September meeting of the Montgomery County Board for a proclamation in honor of Suicide Awareness Month in September.

Pictured above, Sitting left to right, Mikka Lipe, Amber Kite, Becky Brasfield (Facilitator); Standing left to right, Jeff Weaver. Kyle Smith, Regina Crider (facilitator), AJ French( facilitator and Gift of Voice President), Tudy Hill. Gloria Centeno (facilitator) Tanya Maria and Linda Liebscher.

Recovery Support Peers began their six-month training program sponsored by Cross Over Ministries by attending the two-day Competency Training held in Hillsboro at Calvary Baptist Church on September 28th and 29th. Facilitators from Edwardsville, Rantoul and Chicago introduced the RSPs to the four domains that they will actively participate in for the duration of their training. The domains are advocacy, professional responsibility, mentoring and recovery support. Emphasis will be placed on mentoring and recovery support since the RSPs will eventually be hired by COM to be the essential staff at The Living Room, a crisis intervention program that is a long-term goal of the ministry.

“This diverse group was wonderful to work with and very receptive to new concepts regarding mental health recovery and wellness,” said AJ French, Founder and President of Gift of Voice, whom Cross Over Ministries contracted with to facilitate the training. “All of the facilitators were delighted to hear how the RSPs have put into practice some of the things they learned. This team really impressed us.”

The RSPs will continue their training with on-line programs, bi-weekly team meetings, helping to facilitate mental health educational programs, sharing their own stories, learning about recovery resources and meeting with people who work in mental health, and working directly with COM to develop The Living Room. They will also be learning about how a Board operates so that eventually they will become their own Board under the leadership of Cross Over Ministries.

“Most people think that because a person has a mental health condition or a substance use disorder that they will be limited to working in this field. Some may choose to do so. We want their training to include opportunities to become leaders in whatever field they decide to go into and for them as well as our community to realize their value and the gifts they have to offer, whatever they decide to do,” Linda Liebscher, President of Cross Over Ministries, stated. “I have already learned so much from them in a short time. COM believes that the Lord will fulfill His Word to them; He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that they ask or think.”

For more information about Cross Over Ministries or about the Recovery Support Peer training, please contact Liebscher at or 618-210-0313.

County Raises Awareness For Suicide

By Mary (Galer) Herschelman Hillsboro Journal-News

Representatives of Crossover Ministries attended the September meeting of the Montgomery County Board for a proclamation in honor of Suicide Awareness Month in September.

Pictured above, from the left are Dawn Young, Linda Liebscher, Montgomery County Board Chairman Evan Young, Randy and Diane Singler, Kyle Reynolds and Jodi Reynolds. Not pictured is Chad Ruppert.

“Every citizen in our county can help to end the silence and the stigma that creates a barrier to individuals seeking help when they are depressed or having suicidal thoughts,” read County Coordinator Chris Daniels, as part of a proclamation marking September as Suicide Awareness Prevention Month.

“We, the citizens of Montgomery County affirm the intrinsic value of every person in our county and desire for each individual to know their true worth and potential, thereby encouraging them to become contributing members of our communities.”

Members of Crossover Ministries joined the regular monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Board on Tuesday evening, Sept. 8, at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Hillsboro to help bring awareness to the importance of mental health.

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, second leading cause of death for people ten to 34 and fourth leading cause of death for people ages 35 to 54.

Board Chairman Evan Young signed the proclamation, which was approved unanimously.

Diane Singler of Irving and Jodi Reynolds of Nokomis, both who have lost children to suicide, spoke to the board the need to decrease the stigma of suicide and that the youth as well as adults need to know where they can go for help.

“It’s an invisible disease that can happen to anyone,” Singler said.

Applicants Wanted for Mental Health Training Program

Hillsboro Journal-News

Cross Over Ministries is now taking applications through September 15th for a new mental health training program that will eventually lead to employment. “This six-month training program is specifically designed for people in recovery from a mental health condition or substance use disorder who have a desire to support others in their wellness journey,” Board Member, Kate Niemeier, said. “Recovery Support Peers use their personal recovery experiences and the unique insight they have gained to also help shape systems of care. They will be an asset to many as they participate fully in the life of our community. They will have an integral role in the development and establishment of an alternative crisis intervention in Montgomery County called, ‘The Living Room’ and will be essential team members of it.”

The training program will kick off with a two full-day training on Monday, September, 28th and Tuesday, September 29th. This Competency Training is the same training that Illinois Certified Recovery Support Specialists attend in Springfield. “With COVID 19, the training in Springfield is now done virtually over a three-month period. We wanted future Recovery Support Peers to be able to do an in-person training so we have contracted with Gift of Voice to do the training locally,” Niemeier stated.

There will be a maximum of 6 people who will go through the Competency Training since there will be 4 facilitators doing the training. After the two-day training, RSPs will spend approximately 20 hours per month for the next 6 months enhancing competency skills in the domains of mentoring, advocacy, professional responsibility and support.

Dawn Young, Secretary of Cross Over Ministries, sees the training program and eventual hiring of Recovery Support Peers as a way to fulfill the mission and vision of COM. “As a Christ Centered community committed to cultivating mental health recovery and wellness through hope, opportunity, mercy and encouragement, the Board is fully invested in the Recovery Support Peer Program and the people who will become a part of our team. This is very exciting for us and our community.”

For more information or to get an application please contact Linda Liebscher at 618-210-0313 or

A Basketful of Gratitude

Hillsboro Journal-News

female charity volunteer and female hospital employee stand on either side of a plastic laundry basket full of edible gifts, ribbons and greeting cards of encouragement

Lynette Weiss of Cross Over Ministries presented a basket of goodies on August 4, 2020 to Katie Duncan, Director of Human Resources, Hillsboro Area Hospital. “We realize the commitment our hospital employees have made to our community,” Weiss said. “Cross Over Ministries wanted them to know how much we appreciate all they are doing to keep us safe. We also realize the additional stress they may be experiencing and we thought that some good eats and treats might brighten their day.”

Weiss is a volunteer with Cross Over Ministries, a Christ-Centered Community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities. She created the basket herself and jammed it full of a variety of treats that would satisfy even those who are on a gluten free diet. “I was very excited to present this gift to HAH,” Weiss commented. “There was so much to put into it that I had to use a laundry basket. But I don’t think they minded at all!”

For more information about Cross Over Ministries, please visit their website at or their Facebook page. “If you see something that interests you don’t hesitate to connect with us. We welcome volunteers and are looking for additional Board Members,” stated Weiss. “You will enjoy being a part of our team.”

Cross Over Ministries Releases List of Short-, Mid-, and Long-Term Goals

Cross Over Ministries fiscal year began June 30, 2020. The Board of COM recently established short-term, medium-term and long-term goals for the upcoming fiscal year. Our goals represent what we see as current mental health opportunities in our community. We are always open to changing and adapting our goals to coincide with specific needs that might arise and the direction that Jesus Christ leads us.

In order to fully engage in and implement goals for “The Living Room”, Cross Over Ministries felt it necessary to establish specific short-term, medium-term and long-terms goals for Recovery Support Peers separate from our other goals. RSPs will be the most vital and essential members of “The Living Room”. Without them and the emphasis on their continued recovery, training, education and establishment of relationships within Cross Over Ministries and the community, “The Living Room” will not exist. As with our other goals, Cross Over Ministries is open to adapting and changing these goals based on the needs of our RSPs and our community that might arise and the direction that Jesus Christ leads us.

Virtual Walk Benefits Cross Over Ministries

Hillsboro Journal-News

Kris and Jodi Reynolds coordinate a Destroy The Darkness Walk in memory of their son, Kaden.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Cross Over Ministries is hosting a virtual walk this week. Pictured above, Kris and Jodi Reynolds invited friends and family to join them on Saturday, May 23, walking from the Witt Lions Building to the Witt Cemetery, in memory of their son, Kaden.

Local residents are still invited to join the virtual walk through May 28, choosing their own date and course. Those who donate $20 will be eligible to win prizes and all participants will receive a “Be Well, Live Well” sticker. Participants are encouraged to share photos to social media using the hashtag #destroythedarkness. On the final night, May 28, participants are invited to light a candle or turn their porch lights on in honor of or in memory of those who struggle with mental illness.

Registration forms are available online at and donations may be sent to Cross Over Ministries, PO Box 238, Hillsboro, IL 62049.

GUEST COLUMN: Let’s Talk—Really, Really Talk

By Linda Liebscher, president and one of the founders of Cross Over Ministries
Hillsboro Journal-News

Phone or Facetime a friend and really talk

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Some people assume they are well mentally because they do not have a diagnosed mental illness, they do not use illicit drugs and they don’t take medication for depression or anxiety. And, this may be true for many people.

Recently however, life as we have known it has changed. COVID-19 has infiltrated almost every area of our lives—jobs, school, activities, caring for our loved ones, being able to grieve well, even our ideas on what our future holds. It is a different time, one that can make us fearful, lonely, anxious and mad.

For me, it is a time to retreat. If I can just read a good book, delve into my Bible, watch some mind-numbing television, pretend that my life is just fine and take seven naps a day, then I do not have to think about what is really happening in the world and inside of me. I am not one of those who assumes I am mentally well because I do have a mental illness and I do take medication for my depression. But I am certainly one of those who pretends to be mentally well.

One of the healthiest things we can all be doing right now is... talk. Not the, “how are you—I am fine” talking, not even the “we are going to get through this together” talking, but the “down in my innermost being I really don’t want to talk about it” talking. It may not even have to do with COVID and the changes in your circumstances this pandemic has brought. It just may be something that you have hidden for a long time that needs to come out so you can start healing.

Some of us have great friends and family that allow us to share ourselves, who pray with us and encourage us. Many have built a support system within their church or organization. Others of us have found a great counselor who asks some tough questions and make us think about what needs to change.

What about those of us who have no one? Well, in Montgomery County, there is always someone. There are national and state organizations. We have a mental health department that is willing to talk with you anytime, day or night. We have many pastors who are not only great listeners and pray-ers, but also know of resources and can help you connect. There are counselors in our area that truly care. And there are people who are in their own recovery process who will listen to you, not judge you and will respect you.

So, do you want to talk—really? Do you want to really talk? Let someone know. Let family or friends or the mental health department or your doctor or a pastor or a national organization or Cross Over Ministries know. They won’t have all the answers. They definitely won’t be your answer, but letting someone know is your first step in getting help. And getting help is your first step in gaining hope. And hope allows us to see life from a different perspective even if our circumstances don’t change.

I think I am going to really talk to someone this week. How about you?

GUEST COLUMN: Diane’s “Open Hearts” Walnut Walk

By Linda Liebscher, president and one of the founders of Cross Over Ministries
Hillsboro Journal-News

A walnut split open to reveal two heart shapes

Nature has a way of speaking volumes—if we will only listen. And nature also has a way of opening our eyes to some truths that we might not have been able to express on our own. That is exactly what happened when Diane heard nature speaking as she was walking her dog, Dolly.

It was a walnut—not something that most of us would consider a gift of nature. Except, this walnut had been cut in two, right down the middle, exposing its most inward parts. Your guess is as good as mine as to what could have split the walnut into two equal halves. There it was, though, ready for whomever came across it to notice it.

I am grateful for friends like Diane. She not only sees beauty in nature, she shares it. So, when she forwarded the picture of this walnut to me, I was immediately drawn to the two complete hearts inside of it. Even though the walnut was no longer “whole,” it seemed to have more to offer after it had been cracked open. Its exposed inward parts had a message.

I asked Diane what she thought of the wonderful image she sent to me. Diane had this to share:

God’s love appears in unexpected ways. I really feel that these shapes are more than the shapes of hearts, but also represent openness, since they are split open. A blog by “Anxious Cucumber” put it this way: “Open hearts, free minds.” This is a good message for now with all the anxiety people are feeling. It is time for people to open up. It is also a time for those of us who know people who are having a difficult time to connect with them and share our hearts.

It’s amazing that a walnut could speak so profoundly. And just think, had it not been for the brokenness of the walnut, Diane may not have even noticed it. She would have missed out on nature speaking to her. I would have missed out too.

Could it be that your brokenness and my brokenness need to be shared? Would we become bigger-hearted people by allowing others to know our inward parts? If we open up to others and allow them to open up to us, is there a possibility we would experience a freedom of our minds that would help us to value and accept people who are different from us?

Jesus answered all of these questions with a resounding “yes” by sharing His very life with us. His brokenness became our wholeness. His Spirit living in us makes us able to share our hearts with others. His great love and how He values every life leave no room for the deception of stigma and harsh judgement.

I will never forget the image of the walnut Diane sent me. It’s etched in my mind and it has opened my eyes to some truths that Diane shared and some truths that it revealed to me. Yes, it really did speak. I bet some of you looking at the image right now are hearing it speak too.

Many of us are taking more walks nowadays because some of our other forms of entertainment are not available right now. Taking walks is a good thing, at least that’s what my Nurse Practitioner tells me. Next time you are on a walk, open yourself up to the adventure of nature speaking to you. You just might hear a truth that allows you to realize that life is still good, opening up to others can free your mind from anxiety, God is still in control and walnuts can bring messages of sharing, caring and hope.

Cross Over Ministries To Host Virtual Walk

Hillsboro Journal-News

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, Cross Over Ministries is hosting a virtual walk throughout Montgomery County. Mental Health Awareness Week is May 18-24, and organizers with Cross Over Ministries will be hosting daily events and activities on the group’s Facebook page throughout the week.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines, they will also sponsor a virtual walk/run the week of May 23 through May 28. “You choose your days, time, distance and favorite route to join us from your community to raise awareness about mental health,” said volunteer Andrea Ruppert.

Donations to the organization will be accepted for the virtual walk, and donations of all size will be accepted, but those who donate $20 or more will be eligible for participation prizes. All participants will also receive a “Be Well, Stay Well, Live Well” sticker after the event is complete.

Participants are encouraged to share photos from their walk on social media using the hashtag #destroythedarkness and #crossoverministries. “Also share with us how may days you participated that week, your distance, your most unique route and any other highlights so we can connect with you,” Ruppert said.

On the very last night, May 28, organizers ask participants to light a candle or turn on their porch light in honor or in memory of those who struggle with mental illness.

Pre-registration for the walk is available online at, or checks may be sent to Cross Over Ministries, PO Box 238, Hillsboro, IL 62049.

For more information, contact Andrea Ruppert, Kate Niemeier or Dawn Young.

All proceeds will be used in Montgomery County to promote mental health needs through Cross Over Ministries, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Newsletter Inaugural Edition

Cross Over Ministries has published our first issue of our new Monthly Newsletter! Thank you all for keeping Montgomery County moving forward during this different, COVID-19, time in all of our lives. Now we invite you to catch up on the “news” with our mission, vision, goals, and activities.

Plus! May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Get some tips on how you can help despite social distancing restrictions.

May 2020 Newsletter (.docx)   Download DOCX
May 2020 Newsletter (.pdf)   Download PDF

Niemeier Joins Cross Over Board

Kate Niemeier selfie

Kate Niemeier of Butler has become a Board Member of Cross Over Ministries. She has been volunteering with the organization for several months and was voted in as a Board Member at the meeting on Tuesday, April 21.

“We are so excited to have Kate working with us,” said Dawn Young, Secretary of COM. “She brings such energy and innovative ideas to the table and she is willing to do what she can to help fulfill our mission. We are very blessed to have her join us.”

Niemeier is a 2006 graduate of Hillsboro High School and a 2010 graduate of Western Illinois University with a degree in Ag education. She has been a strong advocate of agriculture and loves to do crafts, show livestock and garden in her free time. She is married to Steve and they have two beautiful boys, Bode who is 4 and Bryce who is 3.

“My advocacy for mental health was not something I chose. It chose me when I lost my brother Andrew to suicide in 2014, Niemeier shared. “My parents, Becky and Wayne Wedekind, and I were at a complete loss as to why Andrew would take his own life. Since that time, we have been learning about the signs of suicide, mental health conditions, and how to support those who need help. Our grief will never go away, but we see the opportunity to be involved with Cross Over Ministries as one way to share Andrew’s story. We know he would want us to do just that.” Niemeier has a Facebook page called “Hope in the Hollow” which is dedicated to mental health advocacy. You can also follow her on Twitter @hopeinthehollow.

“It has been a difficult journey for my family and without God we would never be able to do what we are doing. But, as my dad always says, if we can help one person and be a part of saving just one life, then the pain of sharing our story is worth it. Perhaps we can give hope to others,” Niemeier stated.

For more information about Cross Over Ministries and to find out ways you can be involved, visit their website at or call Dawn Young at 217-710-5332 or Linda Liebscher at 618-210-0313.

Mental Health Providers Turn To Telemedicine During COVID-19 Crisis, But Will Insurance Cover It?

Chicago CBS

a lone female in front of a fence wearing a face mask - Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

Doctor’s visits are still allowed while Illinois is under a shelter in place order. Continued treatment is especially important for people needing help with addiction or psychological issues, but what if offices are closed?

The hope is insurance companies and human resources departments take note and offer temporary relief until the pandemic peters out.

In the linked article below, CBS 2 Chicago Morning Insider Lauren Victory looks at the impact of COVID-19 on mental health services.

Plus, the Morning Insiders compiled a list of helpful mental health resources: an informative guide from NAMI; online meetings for addiction recovery; free meditations, bed time stories, stretches and calming music; and a digital health community with 2 million subscribers.

Stressed Farmers: “Don’t Wait For A Crisis”

Hillsboro Journal-News

Featured speaker Adrienne DeSutter shares with a room rull of farm families at an event hosted by Cross Over Ministries and the Montgomery County Farm Bureau.

“Don’t wait for a crisis before you start taking care of yourself,” featured speaker Adrienne DeSutter said to a room full of farm families at the “Faith, Family, Friends, Farmers & Future” event hosted by Cross Over Ministries and the Montgomery County Farm Bureau on Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Butler Community Center.

The event focused on sharing ways that farm families can handle the stress in their occupation. DeSutter, a Knox County farm wife with a masters degree in counseling who now advocates for farmers’ mental health, told those present that farmers suffer higher-than-average levels of stress, depression, substance use and suicide.

“I’m not happy we have to have these conversations, but I’m happy we’re ready to,” the speaker said before teaching her audience how to recognize signs of a possible crisis, specifically in agriculture.

The event also featured a farm-themed parody video, Annette Blankenship led a dance before she and Dawn Young shared farm humor, and Pastor Stefan Munker of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro led a devotion based on the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.

“My friends, Jesus knows that we have worries, but Jesus does not want these worries to overwhelm us,” the pastor said.

Dinner was provided by Milanos Catering, and Montgomery County Farm Bureau Manager Katie Wilson was master of ceremonies. The program ended with Linda Liebscher describing the mission of Cross Over Ministries and members of the ministries sharing their connections.

Cross Over and Montgomery CFB Partner to Celebrate our Farmers

Hillsboro Journal-News

Cross Over Ministries and Montgomery County Farm Bureau will be celebrating our hardworking farmers on Thursday, February 20, 2020. The free event will be held at the MCFB, 102 N. Main Street, Hillsboro. The theme of the event is “High Five to our Farmers”—Faith, Family, Friends, Farmers and Future, and will include a dinner at 6:00 p.m., a devotional by Pastor Stefan Munker, entertainment and a discussion on managing stress by Adrienne DeSutter. Adrienne is a Knox County farm wife and advocate for farmer’s mental health. With a Master’s degree and certification in Counseling, Adrienne works off the farm as a Behavioral Health Consultant, partnering with agriculture organizations to combat farmer suicide and provide education on ag wellness.

“It is vitally important that our farmers and their families are recognized for their contribution to Montgomery County, to our State and to our Country,” Katie Wilson, Director of Montgomery CFB said. “By providing an evening that honors them, we hope they will see what we seldom say, ‘Thank you’. We are excited to partner with Cross Over Ministries for this event.”

Reservations are requested by February 7, 2020, and can be made by calling the Montgomery County CFB Office at 217-532-6171.

Lucania “Didn’t Want To Die, I Didn’t Know How To Live”

Hillsboro Journal-News

New Jersey native Sam Anthony Lucania shared his story of hope and recovery with Lincolnwood students in Raymond on Tuesday afternoon. He also visited schools in Hillsboro, Litchfield, and Nokomis and spoke at a public event Wednesday night at The Event Center in Taylor Springs.

“Your life is full of ‘not yets,’” Sam Anthony Lucania shared with high school and junior high students at Lincolnwood in Raymond on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28.

Sponsored by Cross Over Ministries, Lucania shared a message of wellness along with his personal experiences with drugs, alcohol, anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior to help motivate students in all four school districts in Montgomery County–Hillsboro and Lincolnwood on Tuesday, then Litchfield and Nokomis on Wednesday.

His visit concluded with a free public event at The Event Center in Taylor Springs on Wednesday evening.

Lucania began his hour-long presentation to students by graphically demonstrating how he was found by his wife in 2013 on the verge of death after an overdose on prescription drugs.

“I am the face of addiction,” the fit, energetic and charismatic speaker said.

He emphasized to students that their lives are full of “not yets,” and encouraged them to focus on the positive things they will accomplish but haven’t yet, and not give in to negative experiences they have yet to try.

He told students how his unwillingness to share his anxiety problems led to substance abuse, arrests, and his near-death overdose.

“I didn’t want to die,” Lucania said. “I just didn’t know how to live.”

He encouraged students to share moments of anxiety and depression, and to be willing to seek help.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the person that other people think you should be,” the speaker said. ”Be the person you know you are.”

Cross Over Ministries, sponsor of the two-day events, specifically sought out Lucania, a New Jersey native, as someone who could connect with youth in Montgomery County, where the suicide rate is higher than the state average, and both hospitals report increased rates of patients with depression.

Through hope, opportunity, mercy, and encouragement, Cross Over Ministries is a grass roots not-for-profit working to cultivate mental health opportunities and promote individual recovery and wellness through resources for mental health, recovery, and suicide prevention; assistance with co-pays and transportation; training opportunities; support and recovery groups; community awareness and advocacy; and story-sharing in the form of memorials and testimonials.

Divorce Care Program To Be Offered At Litchfield Church

Hillsboro Journal-News

Logo DivorceCare 4 Kids

Cross Over Ministries and the Christian Church of Litchfield are collaborating to bring DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K) to Litchfield. The 13-week program will be held each Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., beginning Monday, Feb 3.

DC4K provides a safe, fun place where children can learn to understand and express their emotions appropriately. The outreach program aims to bring much needed healing to area children and families affected by divorce.

While titled divorce care, the program is for children going through any kind of family fragmentation whether the upheaval is due to divorce, incarceration, addiction or other factors. The mission of DC4K is to provide children with a safe, neutral place to gain an age-appropriate understanding of separation.

The interactive course focuses on teaching young children how to process and share their feelings. Each week of the program will focus on breaking down a different aspect associated with parental separation. The sessions feature games, crafts, role playing, discussion times, journaling and activity books to help children process parental separation and move forward in their lives.

While DC4K is geared towards children, an adult program will run concurrently at the church. While it is not mandatory for parents to attend the adult program, it is encouraged. Similar to DC4K the adult course aims to provide a space for single parents to come together to discuss the emotional aspects of divorce and how to raise thriving children in a fragmented family. Like the children’s course, each week will cover a different topic and the group will share inspirational articles and real life experiences from fellow single parents.

The program has a $15 fee per person. These fees cover the cost of the workbook used in the program. There are scholarship opportunities available to help cover registration costs. Those interested may find more information or register for the program by calling or texting 217-820-2143 or online at

The Christian Church of Litchfield is located at 131 Yaeger Lake Trail. While held in Litchfield, the program is open to any child age five through 12 years old, and their parents, who are in need of the ministry-based service.

Cross Over Hosting Mental Health/Wellness Speaker

Hillsboro Journal-News

Sam Anthony Lucania headshot

Sam Anthony Lucania will be sharing his story of hope and recovery with students at four local high schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 28-29, and at a free public event on Wednesday evening at The Event Center in Taylor Springs.

Lucania shares a message of wellness along with his personal experiences with drugs, alcohol, anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior to motivate others to seek help. He will be speaking at the morning session on Tuesday at Hillsboro High School and in the afternoon to students at Lincolnwood High School. On Wednesday, Sam will be visiting Nokomis High School in the morning and Litchfield High School in the afternoon.

The free public event on Wednesday, Jan. 29, will begin at 6:30 p.m. at The Event Center.

“If you want to hear the whole story, join us for the evening session,” Lucania said.

“We hope to pack the place with students, parents, teachers, counselors, law enforcement, church members, business owners, organization members and political and civic leaders,” according to Dawn Young, secretary of Cross Over Ministries. “With the increase in substance use disorders and mental health conditions in Montgomery County, it is time we all became more aware of how to reduce stigma and promote recovery and wellness.”

Statistics from the Hillsboro Area Hospital 2019 Health Needs Assessment indicate that Montgomery County’s suicide rate is higher than the state of Illinois’ rate (2010-2014) as well as the rate of Medicare beneficiaries with depression (2015). HSHS St. Francis Hospital reports that there has a been a 36 percent increase in the number of patients seen in the emergency department with behavioral health challenges from 2017 to 2019. Both hospitals are taking an active role in implementing new ways to effectively diagnose and treat these patients.

“These statistics are not just numbers,” Linda Liebscher, president of Cross Over Ministries said. “They are our friends and neighbors, our children and our parents. Cross Over Ministries is a Christ-centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities. It is our desire that by bringing Sam to Montgomery County, we will be influencing positive changes to the way we view people with mental health conditions and living the mission of our ministry.”

For more information about Lucania, visit his website, and to learn more about Cross Over Ministries visit their website at

Annual Walk Brings Light To Suicide Prevention

by Christy Mollet, Hillsboro Journal-News

Participants gathered together on a chilly Saturday morning, Nov. 2,for Out of the Darkness and Into His Light walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health.

Although it was a chilly Saturday Nov. 2 morning, 50 people, including walkers, kitchen staff and Cross Over Ministries members and board, gathered together at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for the second annual Out of the Darkness and Into His Light walk. This event helps to bring awareness of suicide prevention and mental health.

Cross Over Ministries Secretary Dawn Young said, “This is our biggest fundraiser for the year. All money and donations go to the programs for mental health in Montgomery County.”

Young went on to say that some of the programs offered include prescription-assistance and medical co-pays for doctor’s office visits. “We are planning on having an event at the county schools,” Young said. “We are wanting to bring a speaker to the schools this year. We also have a program in the works to help farmers with stress management.”

After walkers returned to the church, everyone enjoyed a breakfast feast. “We thank St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for hosting the walk and breakfast,” said Young.

Linda Liebscher, president of Cross Over Ministries said, “God is leading us. He is laying the needs on our hearts. Montgomery County is in dire need of a crisis intervention center.” Cross Over members and volunteers are following the way the Lord is leading them in this journey.

Many of Cross Over members and volunteers were recognized for their hard work. In fact, David Imler, who has contributed greatly to Cross Over Ministries with prayer, support and encouragement, was given a plaque.

Although Imler was unable to attend the event, Pastor Stefan Munker received the plaque in his honor. and presented it to him on Sunday. Before everyone dismissed, participants, board members and volunteers, gathered in a circle for a closing word of prayer.

Pastor Stefan Munker accepts a plaque for David Imler, in honor of his service and support to Cross Over Ministries.

Pictured above Pastor Stefan Munker accepts a plaque for David Imler, in honor of his service and support to Cross Over Ministries. From the left are Deb Roemhildt, Kim Noyes, Becky Wedekind, Vice President Wayne Wedekind, Diane Singler, Pastor Stefan Munker, President Linda Liebscher, Secretary Dawn Young and Annette Blankenship. Not present for photo was David Imler.

Second Annual Cross Over Ministries Walk Set for November 2nd

Hillsboro Journal-News

Scene from Inaugural Walk in 2018

Cross Over Ministries is planning its second annual “Out of the Darkness into His Light” suicide prevention and mental health walk for Saturday, Nov. 2nd in Hillsboro.

“The theme is the same as last year,” Dawn Young, Cross Over secretary and chair person of the walk said, “because the mission is still the same: we are a Christ-centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities so that the people of Montgomery County can live in recovery and wellness.”

The 1k walk will begin at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in downtown Hillsboro at 7:00am with registration from 6:30am until 6:55am. Participants are encouraged to register ahead of time by going to or by filling out a registration form and emailing it to, or sending it to Cross Over Ministries c/o Dawn Young, 13130 N. Hillsboro, IL 62049. The forms are available on COM’S website, . A $20 donation per walker will support and promote the Cross Over vision. Walkers 10 and under are free, and all walkers will receive a colorful LED flashlight.

“We are also very grateful for our host this year, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro,” Young said. “They will be providing a delicious breakfast after the walk.”

You don’t have to walk the walk if you are unable, but you are still invited for breakfast and to “hear the talk,” Young said. “Our board and volunteers want to share about our future plans and how you can be involved. We would also appreciate any input about what the needs are in our communities to prevent suicides and to promote mental health. The exchange of ideas will help us to set our goals for 2020. We are a ministry that believes in whole person wellness — spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, relational, creative and educational. It is exactly what Jesus Christ wants for all of us!”

DC4K Bringing Comfort To Hurting Families

By Tori O’Dell, Hillsboro Journal-News

Logo DivorceCare 4 Kids

Cross Over Ministries and the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church are collaborating to bring DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K) to Hillsboro. The 13-week program will be held each Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 9, through Monday, Dec. 2. While held in Hillsboro, the program is open to any child age five through 12 years old, and their parents, who are in need of the ministry-based service.

Spearheaded by Cross Over Ministries volunteer Lynette Weiss, the program organizers hope to bring much needed healing to area children and parents affected by divorce. Weiss, a child of divorce herself, had gone through a similar program alongside her son, following her own divorce. The closest DC4K program was in Springfield and Weiss made the weekly commutes to attend knowing the benefits it would have for her family. While titled divorce care, the program is for children going through any kind of family fragmentation whether the upheaval is due to divorce, incarceration, addiction or other factors. The mission of DC4K is to provide children with a safe, neutral place to gain an age-appropriate understanding of separation.

“Bringing divorce care to Montgomery County is something that has been on my heart for over a decade. It was incredibly beneficial to my son and myself when we went through a divorce care program,” Weiss explained. “I was not even thinking about finally being able to start a local divorce care program when I started volunteering with Cross Over Ministries, but I couldn’t stop myself from bringing it up when we were discussing local needs. DC4K fits perfectly into the work that we do at Cross Over: catch kids young and teach them the skills they need to be better at coping with the obstacles of life.”

The interactive course focuses on teaching young children how to process and share their feelings. Each week of the program will focus on breaking down a different aspect associated with parental separation. The weekly topics include: What’s Happening to My Family, God Loves Children in All Kinds of Families, Facing My Anger, Journey from Anger to Sadness, I Am Not Alone, God’s Plan for Me, Developing New Relationships, Developing Money Smarts, It’s Not My Fault, Telling My Parents How I Feel, Forgiveness, Loving My Parents and Moving On: Growing Up and Closer to God. The goal of the sessions is to help children realize that life goes on after divorce.

While centered around healing, the topics are presented in a fun, interactive format. The sessions feature games, crafts, role playing, discussion times, journaling and activity books to help children process parental separation and move forward in their lives. The biblically-based support course places a heavy emphasis on teaching children to relax and rest securely in God’s love. The hope is that each child completes the course with the knowledge that despite the trials of separation they have the ability to create healthy and happy futures and relationships.

“In many ways a divorce is like a death. There is a profound sense of loss and pain, and our children are not spared from these feelings because they are small — they just don’t have the emotional intelligence or vocabulary to express what they are feeling yet. Because they cannot communicate these complex emotions they internalize their hurt and guilt,” said Weiss. “One of the things that shocked me when my family went through the program was how much my son really believed that our divorce was his fault.

“The divorce care program taught him that it is okay to express seemingly negative emotions like anger or sadness far better than I could as his mother, at that time, and I am a professional counselor. More importantly it allowed him to connect with other children, going through a similar hardship, and realize that he was not alone.”

While DC4K is geared towards children, an adult program will run concurrently at the church. While it is not mandatory for parents to attend the adult program, it is encouraged. Similar to DC4K the adult course aims to provide a space for single parents to come together to discuss the emotional aspects of divorce and how to raise thriving children in a fragmented family. Like the children’s course, each week will cover a different topic and the group will share inspirational articles and real life experiences from fellow single parents.

“I can only speak for my own family, but enrolling my son in a divorce care program, and going through it myself, was one of the best decisions I made following my divorce. The real beauty of the program (for me) was that taking the adult program, alongside my son, gave us things to talk about and connect on an intimate level, at a time when we were both deeply hurt. It allowed us to go through the grief of losing our family, as we had known it, together. I really believe that this program helped both of us come out of this period of our lives stronger and better adjusted to tackle hardships.”

While Hillsboro Presbyterian Church, along with the Hillsboro Ministerial Alliance, will be the first host of the DivorceCare 4 Kids program, Cross Over Ministries hopes to expand the program into Litchfield in 2020. The outreach would like the program to eventually run on a rotational basis throughout all of Montgomery County. The goal is to reach as many families as possible to help further them on the healing process, while spreading Cross Over Ministries’ message that no one is ever alone in their pain.

The program has a $15 fee per person. These fees cover the cost of the workbook used in the program. There are scholarship opportunities available to help cover registration costs. Those interested may find more information or register for the program by calling or texting Weiss at 217-820-2143 or online at

Cross Over Ministries Will Hold Presentation June 19

Hillsboro Journal-News

Welcome to Hillsboro Public Library, Illinois

Cross Over Ministries presentation on local mental health resources will be held at the Hillsboro Public Library on Wednesday, June 19, from 5 to 6 p.m. at 214 School Street.

Linda Liebscher, Lori Hopwood and Dawn Young from Cross Over Ministries will speak about various mental health resources in the area, in order to promote mental health awareness. In addition, they will speak about their mission at Cross Over Ministries to help those who are lost emotionally or spiritually or in need of someone who understands what they are going through.

Hillsboro Public Library Director, Shelley (Singler) Kolb said, “As someone from the community who has felt very lost, and still is after the loss of a family member, I didn’t know who to go to or to turn to, and I think many people don’t realize what resources are already available in the community.”

Kolb also said that there are many who truly need help, but may not need emergency medical or psychiatric help, and it can be very difficult to find counselors, therapists or psychiatrists in the local area without having to drive to Springfield or St. Louis, MO.

“I also worry for those who may not be able to afford to go to a therapist or doctor for help and need free mental health resources. There are resources out there, as I am beginning to learn, but I don’t think everyone knows what they are or that those alternative options even exist.”

Kolb also said, “It’s big need in this community that people don’t normally think about or talk about because they are afraid to ask for help or don’t know who to go to. I plan to help Cross Over Ministries address this community’s need at the library on a professional and personal level.”

Honoring Andrew Through Cross Over Ministries Work

By Mike Plunkett, Hillsboro Journal-News
Photo contributed by WSMI Radio

Wayne Wedekind of Crossover Ministries, County Board Proclaims October as Suicide Prevention Month

“Sometimes you don’t know what you have until you lose it,” Cross Over Ministries Vice President Wayne Wedekind said. “I just want to keep people from experiencing that loss.” In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, observed during May since 1949, Wedekind shared what he and his wife Becky have been doing through Cross Over to honor their son, Andrew, who lost his life to suicide on January 23, 2014, and to help deter others who may be contemplating that path.

“Before we lost Andrew, for me to get in front of people and speak would be out of the question,” Wedekind said, “but we’re kind of getting bolder-making an effort to get in front of bigger crowds.”

Not only were the Wedekinds involved in the formation of Cross Over, a faith-based ministry committed to cultivating mental health opportunities, promoting individual recovery and wellness through hope, opportunity, mercy and encouragement, they have been instrumental in programs and training aimed at reversing the high rate of suicide in Montgomery County.

Kevin Hines is one of only eight to survive a suicide jump from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and a movie about his story was shown in both Hillsboro and Litchfield. The Wedekinds also spoke at QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) suicide prevention training hosted by Cross Over in both Hillsboro and Litchfield, and they hosed suicide outreach programs featuring Sam Eaton who founded the “Recklessly Alive” suicide ministry.

Using funds donated as memorials to their son, the Wedekinds hosted Eaton at both Hillsboro High School and Western Illinois University, where Andrew was a student at the time of his death. More than 450 students attended the WIU event, and the Wedekinds are planning another, likely this fall at Lake Land College.

“Those kind of people are an inspiration to me,” Wedekind said of the work Hines and Eaton are doing to prevent suicide. “You don’t know how many lives they’ve saved.” Andrew’s parents hope sharing his story will save lives, too, but that doesn’t come without an emotional price.

“It’s been tough,” Wedekind said about sharing Andrew’s story in an effort to help others. “Every time you go through it, you go through all of the emotions again. But I think that has helped. The easy thing to do would be to shrink up and blame God. One of the natural reactions is you get mad. But He didn’t intend to hurt us. He’s kind of inspired us. This ministry is a big part of the healing process.

“For a lot of people, if someone would show them some empathy or sympathy, it would help. You’ve got to start somewhere. You can’t be afraid of making a mistake. You’ve got to get over the stigma of mental illness.”

That’s part of the focus of the QPR training hosted by Cross Over in February and March. Just asking a question of someone suspected of contemplating suicide and offering to assist them in finding help has proven effective in saving lives. “Some of the kids contemplating suicide get the feeling that the world would be a better place without them,” Wedekind said. “We need to let them know that they will be missed, and the world would not be a better place. If you know someone who may be thinking about it, you need to point-blank ask them.”

He is also more than willing to talk to anyone who wants to reach out to him. His cell number is 217-851-0153. Cross Over is not only taking on the high suicide rate in Montgomery County, they are also focused on mental illness, opioid addiction, trauma, and other issues that are often stigmatized.

“They’re all tied together,” Wedekind said. “Cross Over has been a big deal for me, and I want to see it go forward. We’re looking for programs; we have lots of ideas.” Among those ideas are a booth at the Picker’s Market in Litchfield in June, and a possible program on the impact of divorce in September.

Runners Not Deterred by Rain Showers

Hillsboro Journal-News

More than 80 joined the inaugural 5K run/walk Be Somebunny's Ray of Hope sponsored by Montgomery Co Health Dept on Saturday, May 11.

Early morning rainstorms did not deter 83 runners and walkers from participating in the first annual Suicide Prevention 5K run/walk on Saturday morning, May 11.

This is the first in what is to be a yearly 5K organized by the Montgomery County Health Department under the direction of Shannon Pivoney and Lynette Weiss. The walk was held to bring awareness to the rising suicide and substance abuse rates in the county and the importance of caring for mental health as rigorously as physical health. The organizers hope not only to break down mental health stigmas but to showcase locally available services. The Montgomery County Health Department offers a variety of services which include counseling and suicide prevention line. While the health department organized the event, the proceeds were donated to Cross Over Ministries.

The non-profit organization was founded in June 2018 by community members who felt called to aid the brokenness of the community, specifically to assist individuals and families living with mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders. The local outreach is Christ-centered and actively engages in cultivating mental health throughout Montgomery County. Cross Over Ministries aims to promote recovery and wellness through educating communities on mental health, sharing testimonials and holding public outreach events.

The proceeds from the Suicide Prevention 5K will be utilized towards Cross Over Ministries programs, including transportation assistance, training opportunities, support and recovery groups, and mental health awareness events. In addition to ministerial outreach, the non-profit provides medical and pharmaceutical co-pay assistance programs, mental health and recovery resources, and suicide prevention resources.

Along with the 5K participants, auxiliary police members Captain Bobby Johnson, Assistant Chief Michael Lee and Patrolman Matt Warren braved the inclement weather to ensure runner’s safety.

There were several local sponsors including, DC Waste, Springfield Clinic, HSHS St. Francis Hospital, Hiller’s Sheet Metal, Cisler and Associates Real Estate, Inc., Moonlingh Y, Curt’s 24-Hour Towing Co., Illinois Solar, Inc., Lessman Pools and Spas, Inc., Elam’s Towing, Inc., Weiss Power Equipment, Litchfield Pump and Motor Company, Bank of Hillsboro, Hearts United Association, C.T.I., The Dressing Room, Litchfield National Bank, Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Jeff Mitchell, First National Bank of Nokomis, Studio L, Law Offices of Glenn and West, Family Eye Care Association, First Community Bank of Hillsboro, MCR Realty Professionals and Jubelt’s Bakery and Restaurants.

While rainstorms may not seem ideal for the 5K, the Saturday morning showers certainly felt symbolic of the organizations’ and attendees’ commitment to not only spreading mental health awareness, but mobilizing communities to better stand with those in the midst of personal storms.

Cross Over Ministries Hosts Suicide Prevention Training

Hillsboro Journal-News

Kaitlyn Wilson, trained QPR Gatekeeper Instructor and member of the St. Clair County Suicide Prevention Alliance.

“Ask a question; save a life” was the theme for QPR “question, persuade, refer” training on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hillsboro Area Hospital, designed to identify and respond to cues that someone may be contemplating suicide.

The training was hosted by Cross Over Ministries, which has another session scheduled for Saturday, March 16, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield.

“We’ve got to start talking about this,” Cross Over President Linda Liebscher said to the 40-some who took the training Feb. 23 at Hillsboro Area Hospital. “We’ve got to start opening up.”

The event opened with a training session guided by Kaitlyn N. Wilson, a trained QPR Gatekeeper Instructor and member of the St. Clair County Suicide Prevention Alliance.

Later, she shared her story of reaching out for help before a suicide attempt, and sat for a panel discussion with Wayne and Becky Wedekind, whose son Andrew took his life while a student at Western Illinois University five years ago. “I never got a chance to help," his mother said during the panel discussion. She and her husband have become active in helping others prevent suicide, and have made numerous trips to the Western Illinois University campus to help their son’s friends in their grief.

Those present learned during the training session that suicide is the most preventable kind of death, and almost any positive action may save a life.

Verbal cues and warning signs include comments such as “I wish I were dead,” “I’m tired of life and can’t go on,” and “I just want out.” Behavioral clues can include putting personal affairs in order, giving away prized possessions, a sudden change in interest about religion, and unexplained anger and irritability.

Wilson encouraged asking those exhibiting warning signs either directly or indirectly if they are considering suicide. “If you cannot ask the question, find someone who can,” Wilson said.

The next steps in the training involve non-judgmental listening, offering hope in any form, and persuading them to seek help. “Say, ‘I want you to live,’ or ‘I’m on your side. We’ll get through this,’” Wilson told the trainees.

The next step is “refer.” “Suicidal people often believe they cannot be helped, so you may have to do more,” Wilson said. “The best referral involves taking the person directly to someone who can help.”

The training session closed with a brief discussion from Dr. Sheila Thomas, a psychiatrist who is creating a “collaborative care” program at Hillsboro Area Hospital that incorporates team-based mental health into primary care.

Those interested in attending the March 16 QPR training at HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield may register at the Cross Over Ministries website.

Cross Over Ministries Sponsors Copay Program

Cross Over Ministries has partnered with local health care providers and with local pharmacies to assist individuals seeking treatment for their mental health recovery.

“We are so excited to offer these two programs to our Montgomery County residents,” Lori Hopwood, Secretary of Cross Over Ministries, said. “We could not have offered them without the cooperation of providers and pharmacists in our community who also see the need to support people with mental health conditions.”

The two programs began on February 1, 2019. The Medical Co-Pay Program will assist individuals with Medicaid co-pays and private insurance deductibles. Ms. Hopwood stated, “People without insurance may still be able to receive help and this would be handled on a case-by-case basis.” She encouraged people to check with their medical providers to see if they qualify for any of the program funding.

The Pharmaceutical Program is a cooperative agreement between John’s Pharmacy in Hillsboro and Sullivan’s Drugs in Hillsboro, Litchfield and Raymond to provide financial assistance to individuals with commonly prescribed medications to support mental wellness. Dawn Young, a Board Member of Cross Over Ministries, said that both John and Brian were instrumental in helping to get this program off the ground. “John and Brian spent time with us and shared their expertise. It just proves that we live in a community that truly cares about people with mental health conditions. We praise the Lord for all He is doing!”

Cross Over Ministries is a Christ Centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities.

Cross Over Ministries Seeks Affiliate Board Members

Cross Over Ministries, a Christ Centered Community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities, is seeking Montgomery County residents to partner with them in accomplishing their strategic goals in 2019.

“We have come a long way since our inception in June, 2018,” Secretary Lori Hopwood said. “Having community members on our Board will add diversity and value and afford more opportunities for our citizens to participate in their own recovery and wellness in 2019.”

The Ministry is seeking representation from religious organizations, health care organizations, local business and non-profit organizations as well as affiliate Board Members who would represent the judicial, educational, political and law enforcement community.

Ms. Hopwood continued, “Our focus in 2018 and continuing into 2019 will be on education and awareness, training programs (Trauma Informed Care, Suicide Prevention, etc.) Co-Pay Programs for medical and pharmaceutical needs, recovery groups, as well as beginning the process of developing a Crisis Intervention Program that would perhaps be an alternative to Emergency Room visits for people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

“It is not only what our community needs, but what it wants as evidenced by the similarities between the community health needs assessments done by Montgomery County Health Department, Hillsboro Area Hospital and St. Francis Hospital. All three reports showed mental health and/or substance abuse to be within the top three community needs.”

“As you can tell,” Linda Liebscher, President of Cross Over Ministries stated, “there is a lot of great work to be done, and with the Lord’s leading and guidance and the Montgomery County Community engaging with us, we will be able to help many who need spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional, and educational support. Hope, Opportunity, Mercy and Encouragement are our core values.”

For more information about Cross Over Ministries please visit their website at If you are interested in becoming an affiliate Board Member please call Linda Liebscher at 618-210-0313.

For Some, This Time Of Year Is Not Happy Or Festive

By Linda Liebscher

Cross Over Ministries celebrated a Storybook Christmas

We love it when a town comes together!

And that’s exactly what took place in Hillsboro on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 as we celebrated a Storybook Christmas. Parades, lighting of the town Christmas tree, craft booths, music, lots of good food and many people dressed in Christmas story fashion added to the festivity of the weekend. There were even some elves hanging around giving out candy canes. You could see the delight in the eyes of the children as they picked out their favorite flavor of candy cane! And, the elves gave the parents of the children with sticky faces flyers about Cross Over Ministries.

For some, however, this time of year is not happy or festive. Many in our community who have suffered loss of a loved one by suicide, or have a mental health condition triggered by painful past experiences or memories see this time of year as another reminder that life is difficult. Others who have financial burdens or marriages that have crumbled experience depression and isolation. And for those of us who are stressed by the hustle and bustle of every day life topped off by all the Christmas activities, gift buying and decorating, this time of year can be very stressful.

We at Cross Over Ministries know that sorrow and hopelessness can be overwhelming. That is why in the next several months, we will be working closely with our communities to develop some specific goals and actions to bring about more community unity: a Christ-centered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities through hope, opportunity, mercy and encouragement.

You will be finding out more specifics about these goals and actions in the beginning of 2019. In the meantime, please pray with us that our Lord will continue to bless this ministry. Get involved and help us fulfill our mission and vision.

We welcome you:

Over 60 Attend Cross Over Ministries Walk

Hillsboro Journal-News

More than 60 joined the inaugural one-mile walk Out of the Darkness and Into His Light sponsored by Cross Over Ministries on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church.

Nearly 65 local residents joined Cross Over Ministries for the inaugural “Out of the Darkness and Into His Light” walk on Saturday morning, Nov. 3, at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church.

Walkers departed the church bright and early for a one-mile course through downtown Hillsboro to raise awareness for mental health issues and substance abuse disorder.

Following the walk, participants enjoyed a breakfast with a special program. Pastor Stefan Munker of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro opened the program in prayer.

After breakfast, Wayne Wedekind of Butler spoke about losing his son, Andrew, to suicide. In his remarks, Wedekind shared his faith journey, growing up in a church in Raymond and a desire to raise his family in a church. “Losing Andrew has to be the most life-changing experience I’ve been through,” Wedekind said. “Without God and our church family, I don’t know what I would have done. It required all the faith I could muster to get through it.”

Wedekind also spoke about living in a fallen world, where bad things do happen to God’s people. ”Our faith was tested and we chose to turn to God not away from him,” Wedekind said. “Some people might blame their loved ones’ death on God, but God created Andrew in his image. He gave him gifts to use for His glory and created him with a specific task in mind, and He loved him. I’m sure God mourned his death as much as we did.”

Before concluding his remarks, Wedekind, who serves as a board member of Cross Over Ministries, talked about the new ministry. “Cross Over Ministries is my way to glorify God and give meaning to Andrew’s life and to be able to help others deal with mental illness, drug addiction, depression and grief,” Wedekind said. “It’s our way to give thanks for God giving us hope in our time of need.”

After Wedekind spoke, participants watched a brief video on the mission of Cross Over Ministries. The video is available to watch on the organization’s [YouTube Channel] and Facebook page.

Cross Over Ministries meets on the third Tuesday evening of each month in the old board room at Hillsboro Area Hospital. Their mission is to be a Christ-centered, community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities and their vision is to promote individual recovery and wellness through hope, opportunity, mercy and encouragement. For more information about the ministry, visit

Cross Over Ministries Plans Outreach Walk

Hillsboro Journal-News

Members of the newly formed Cross Over Ministries board of directors, from the left are Dawn Young, Linda Liebscher, Wayne Wedekind, Jane Hewitt and Lori Hopwood. Not present for the photo was Syble Kemp.

The newly formed Cross Over Ministries is planning a special event “Out of the Darkness and Into His Light” walk and breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Hillsboro.

This inaugural walk will start and end at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church, located at 537 Rountree Street in Hillsboro. Registration will be held from 6:30 to 6:55 a.m., and the walk will start promptly at 7 a.m. Free breakfast will be served immediately following the walk, and glow-in-the-dark bracelets will be provided for all walkers.

“We hope you will join us that morning to learn about our future plans and how you can be involved,” said President Linda Liebscher.

Other board members are Secretary Lori Hopwood, Treasurer Jane Hewitt, Syble Kemp, Wayne Wedekind, Dawn Young and advisory members the Rev. Randy Sands, the Rev. Jeff Hemken and Matt Houser.

A donation of $20 per walker is suggested to participate in this year’s event, and all donations will be used to promote the mission and vision of Cross Over Ministries.

Their mission is to be a Christcentered community committed to cultivating mental health opportunities and their vision is to promote individual recovery and wellness through hope, opportunity, mercy and encouragement. For more information about the ministry or to register for the walk online, visit

Cross Over Ministries Accepts Proclamation

By Mary (Galer) Herschelman Hillsboro Journal-News

Megan Beeler, at left, vice chairman of the Montgomery County Board, presents a proclamation recognizing suicide prevention awareness to Wayne Wedekind of Crossover Ministries during the board's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday morning, Oct. 9, in Hillsboro.

WSMI Podcast: Tune in to The Forum with David Jenkins | Guest: Linda Liebscher, President of Crossover Ministries | Topic: About Crossover Ministries and September being Suicide Prevention month

During the Montgomery County Board Meeting October 9th at the Historic Courthouse, [board member] Megan Beeler read a proclamation recognizing October as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. She presented a certificate to Wayne Wedekind of Cross Over Ministries.

“Having lost a son to suicide five years ago, it’s time that we do something about suicide,” said Wedekind. “Those of us that are involved with Cross Over Ministries are committed to doing something for mental health and suicide prevention. If you agree with us, we could use your support.”

Beeler remarked, “Whereas every member of our community should understand that throughout life’s struggles we need an occasional reminder that we all silently fight our own battles,” Beeler said. “Whereas we encourage all residents of Montgomery County to take the time to inquire as to the well-being of their family, friends and neighbors over the next few days and to genuinely convey their appreciation for their existence by any gesture they deem appropriate. A simple phone call, message, handshake or hug can go a long way toward helping someone realize that suicide is not the answer.”

About 200 View “The Ripple Effect” Movie

Hillsboro Journal-News

AJ French of the Gift of Voice, center, speaks at a special screening of The Ripple Effect, hosted by Cross Over Ministries, on Monday, Sept. 17, at Hillsboro Junior High School. The discussion focused on suicide and suicide prevention.

“We are very pleased and grateful that so many people showed up,” said Linda Liebscher, president of the Cross Over Ministries organization.

The group sponsored two free showings of the documentary movie “The Ripple Effect” on Sept. 10 in Litchfield and Sept. 17 in Hillsboro, with about 200 in attendance at both events.

“This is our opportunity to let our community know there are things out there that are hard to talk about, but we need to start,” Liebscher said.

“The Ripple Effect” is a documentary style movie that chronicles the life of Kevin Hines and his unsuccessful attempt at suicide when he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. Since that time, he has dedicated his life to mental health advocacy and suicide prevention.

AJ French of the Gift of Voice was on hand at both presentations to talk about the silent signs of depression, as well as opportunities for hope.

In addition to this presentation, Cross Over Ministries is also looking at other opportunities to help with mental health issues in this community.

Liebscher said the group is working on a website for the organization with local resources for those in need. They are also working on a fundraiser, “Out of the Darkness, Into His Light,” which would raise funds for their mission, but also raise awareness for mental health.

A long-term goal of the organization is to have a place where people can go in a comfortable setting to talk to a recovery support specialist.

For more information, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Illinois Warm Line at 1-866-880-4459.

To Form or Not to Form

Community Outreach Letter, June 15

Calvary Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Illinois

Dear Community Member:

The Mental Health Seminar that took place in our community on February 3, 2018, proved that many are wanting more opportunities for recovery for people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. We are aware that the need for mental, physical, social, emotional, economical and spiritual wellness is great, and it is increasing daily. There is, however, a big difference between realizing the need and doing something about it.

Cross-Over Ministries will be a Christ-Centered organization dedicated and committed to helping people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders who want to recover and live full and abundant lives. This Ministry will also reach out to families and friends of those with mental health conditions, as many of us personally know the challenging journey of having a loved one with a mental illness.

This is a pivotal time for Cross-Over Ministries. We will either be organizing this Ministry or we will not be moving forward with it. God can place a vision in our hearts, but it takes His people to fulfill it. Are you one of those people?

I am writing this letter to encourage you to attend our next meeting on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at Calvary Baptist Church in Hillsboro, from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Please know that even though this meeting will be held in Hillsboro, Cross-Over Ministries is for our ENTIRE community and beyond. Our desire is to be a Ministry that becomes an example to other communities of God’s power and grace displayed in recovery.

The main purpose of this meeting is to answer any questions you may have about Cross-Over Ministries and then to decide if this vision will become a reality. We need people willing to be on the Board of Directors and Advisory Council. We will also need people whose level of commitment at this time may be to volunteer, be on a committee, or attend the meetings regularly to share with others the vision and programs of Cross-Over Ministries. That is why attending the June 26th meeting is so vital. To put it in physical terms, the “child” has been born; now we need “parents” willing to learn and grow in a “parenting” role. Imagine the joy and excitement of watching as the “Child Vision” of Cross-Over Ministries becomes all that our Parent, God our Father, intended it to be!

Please share this letter and invitation with anyone you know who may be interested in attending the meeting. We need people from all walks of life, who have talents and gifts in different areas of expertise so that we can work together to be a Ministry that glorifies God by our commitment to Him and His people.

I welcome your questions and comments. You may contact me at 618-210-0313 or leendachambers @ I’d be happy to send you information about the vision. May our Lord direct your decision regarding Cross-Over Ministries.

Linda Liebscher
Hillsboro, Illinois