A Welcome Next Step

September 15, 2016

Last Sunday at the Chapel at Lansdowne Woods, Geitra Mickelson was commissioned as the new ministry intern for Galilee Church. Like the interns who have served before her, Geitra will fill many roles at the Chapel and our main campus at Winding Road. She will join our team for two years to gain experience in ministry as she pursues her education at Wesley Theological Seminary in DC.

For Geitra, this is big step—but that step is along a path she has known since childhood.

Geitra and her husband Neil with their children

“I was born and raised in northeastern Ohio, near Akron,” says Geitra. “I grew up in a Methodist church in Uniontown. My parents were active in hand bells and my older brother and I liked playing in the church while they were at rehearsal. I don’t recall a time when the church wasn’t a part of my life.”

“I used to ride my bike to the church to just hang out. It had an appeal to me that I didn’t really understand. The sanctuary was my favorite place. I think I recognized the holiness of that space, and God’s presence there, although I never could have articulated that at the time.”

Geitra’s approach to ministry wasn’t a straight line (what pastor’s is?). After graduating from high school in Green, OH, she studied theater at Hiram College, a small liberal arts school. Certified as a teacher, her first jobs were in schools and local theaters. A temp job at the Akron Symphony Orchestra turned into ten years working in orchestra management, something that allowed her to help bring the arts into schools.

“It was a thrill to work and tour with renowned musicians,” says Geitra. “I once held Yo-Yo Ma’s cello!”

In 1998, she married her husband Neil. The two had been in marching band at high school together, but had gone their separate ways. A chance second meeting led to a relationship and Geitra joined her Air Force husband in California, where she was hired by the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. When the military sent Neil to Virginia in 2001, Geitra began working with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. In 2006, Neil and Geitra began their family. They are the proud parents of a ten year old daughter, Amelia, and two seven year old sons, Adrian and Gabriel.

Amelia at the piano

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The boys rockin’ out

Geitra left orchestra work when she became a mom, but music remains a big part of her life. “I love singing in the choir and would like to do that as much as is feasible. When our family has free time together (often Sunday afternoons), you’ll find us playing the piano or Lego Rock Band—I play bass. That’s a big step for a former piccolo player.”

“Music has always meant a lot in my life, and so has faith, and the two are not worlds apart. I remember (not so far back!) when U2’s album The Joshua Tree came out. That was a record that meant a lot to me, because it showed that sincere believers could speak about God in new ways that capture the heart and the imagination—the rawness, the emotion of new metaphors and non-traditional ways of speaking to and about God appealed to me.”

“I believe and celebrate and worship an amazing and creative and powerful God who is “able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) I have seen time and again how our Resurrection God can bring beautiful things to life out of ashes of loss and grief and failures and unfortunate circumstances.”

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Geitra was commissioned as Ministry Intern by Pastor Matt Sergent at the Chapel on September 11, 2016

“It is such a privilege to be learning more about the rich and deep story of our faith! It’s exciting and challenging, and I have been exposed to the diversity of the Christian faith in belief and practice.”

“At Galilee, I am excited to accomplish the work that God has called me to do. I haven’t had time to plan it all out or establish definitive goals just yet. But I’m really trying to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this—what does God want me to do? I believe He wants to use me as an effective pastor. I welcome my next steps at Galilee and the Chapel, where  the variety of experiences will help me explore and define my gifts and graces for ministry.”

Worshippers at our main campus will have the opportunity to meet Geitra and her family this Sunday, September 18.