Spotted on Seventh Street: A man carrying a cross

Published 10:51 am Thursday, July 6, 2017


A man wearing a religious hood and shouldering a white cross is walking along Seventh Street and waving at passersby.

Perhaps you have seen him. Perhaps you waved back.

Trekking across the U.S. while lugging a four-by-four wooden crossbeam is no walk in the park, but for Pennsylvania native and former marine Tobiah Steinmetz, it’s a way of life.

More importantly to Steinmetz, it’s a way of faith.

“Out of comfort, into calling” is his mission statement.

Steinmetz said his call to quite literally carry his cross came in 2010 when he was a student at a Christian discipleship school in South Carolina. He relayed the urgency he felt to “step out in faith” by carrying a physical cross from one end of the U.S. to the other.

He had never heard of such a demonstration, but he obeyed.

Although his first expedition stretched rather rigidly between Orange County, California and Columbia, South Carolina, he has since walked his faith along American trails, highways and interstates with little intentional routing. The routing, he said, is up to God.

“It’s all different,” Steinmetz said of his routing, “because each time we try to plan it, I feel like God switches things up.”

This week, Steinmetz is in Clanton.

Several vehicular troubles with his van and RV towed the Steinmetz family into Clanton courtesy.

Steinmetz said he seized the opportunity to walk his cross along Seventh Street.

“Well, to be honest,” Steinmetz said, “maybe we broke down here for a reason.”

Rest, he said, must be in God’s plan for the family this week. Until both vehicles are fully repaired by Clanton service shops, the family will be enjoying their unplanned sabbatical in the land of the peaches.

Steinmetz’s vocational hikes are arduous. But they cultivate faith.

Steinmetz works full-time, wearing down the soles of his shoes and relying on God’s provision for the finances and living needs of his accompanying family.

He spends much of his walks in prayer and worship, often praying for passersby and sharing his story with many of them who stop to speak with him.

“A lot of times, I’ll put the Bible on audio, and I’ll just listen to that or to worship music. But yeah, I get a lot of opportunity to pray, and a lot of times I’ll wave to people as they pass by, and just say, like, a quick prayer, like, ‘Lord, bless them’,” he said.

Most of the crosses Steinmetz bears are made by his own hand, typically from four-by-four wooden beams. Rubber wheels are attached at the base to prevent the wood from wearing down.

Steinmetz said he gifts half of his crosses to individuals he encounters who wish to carry them as well, and the other half he plants in the ground as monuments in states he passes through.

Steinmetz said his family will soon continue their journey northeastward to South Carolina for a class reunion before “zig-zagging” across the nation.

Steinmetz’s ministry can be followed online at or on Facebook at