THIS IS US
Wanna know more about how all these people work together? The Missional Logistics Team (MLT) and the Spiritual Care Team (SCT) are described here.
KATIE went to M.I.T. before she moved on from engineering (which she was really terrible at, but really liked) to theology. She was educated for traditional church ministry at Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary. She did traditional church ministry for almost 20 years. Galileo Church is her attempt to do something completely different, because she had an epiphany while sprawled on the floor of a Spring Creek BBQ. You can ask her about that when you meet her in person.
Katie has a husband of maaaaaaany years, Professor Lance Pape at Brite Divinity School, whom she has repeatedly asked to call her “Reverend Doctor.” And they have two kids, one in college (Lydia) and one in high school (Jack), who will make your life better just by knowing them.
Katie has learned to love it when God takes an unexpected hard left turn, tires squealing, seat belts locking, cars all around God honking in indignation. She imagines God shouting, “Buckle up, suckers!” every time God gets another one of us in God’s muscle car. Or does God drive a Subaru? She’s pretty sure it’s a Subaru.
STEPHANIE is originally from Houston and has been living in Mansfield since 2016. She got a B.A. in Music Business & Voice from Hardin-Simmons U., and subsequently realized her love for songwriting.
She teaches lessons in voice, guitar, piano, and violin (to name a few); and enjoys helping her students grow in their love of music. She loves when her students practice but especially loves when they discover something new about themselves through their art.
Besides owning too much denim, listening to Julien Baker (because, she swears, sad songs make her feel so much better), perfectly timing her rap airhorn sound effect app, and making delicious gluten-free mac and cheese, Stephanie is passionate about God’s love and justice for all in the world. She is excited to continue being a Repairer of the Breach alongside the unique and loving family that is Galileo.
INTERIM LITURGY, PREACHING, & LEADERSHIP MINISTER
IRIE has a D.Min. in “Transformational Leadership and Prophetic Preaching,” which is perhaps all you need to know. Her M.Div. is from Brite, which has recently named her Alumnus of the Year. Her newest ecclesial endeavor is The Gathering, a community that embodies radical welcome and celebrates womanist preaching. Irie has worked as a spiritual director for women exiting the sex trade; a judicatory pastor for her denomination; and a parole officer -- yeah, for real! She is a co-founder of POETIC, a trauma-therapy center and creative arts studio. And she is an accomplished author and sought-after speaker. (Check out this book, for example. Powerful.)
We could go on. But here’s the main thing: Irie and Katie have been walking the ministry path together for a couple of decades. The love and respect they have for each other is BIG. So while our Lead Evangelist is on Writing Leave for several months this year, we’re pleased to welcome Irie and hear her voice.
EVANGELIST FOR YOUNGSTERS & PUBLIC PROVOCATION
RYAN is a middle child, military brat, and pastor’s kid. With a bachelor’s degree in History and English Lit, Ryan has worked in higher ed, home health care, and event planning; and he spent two years as a cruise ship entertainer. He loves travel, high fantasy literature, and board games.
Ryan (re)joined Galileo after a year in LA in the XPLOR program. He’s passionate about LGBTQ+ inclusion and creating welcome, and he’s excited to encourage our kids in biblical education, inter-generational friendship, and inclusive everything.
In early 2018 Galileo Church was pleased to commission Ryan for ministry in cooperation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest. What that means is, he’s listening to God’s call in his life; and that he wants us all to call him “Rev. Ryan.” We’ll try.
KELLEY is Sadie’s mom, and considers herself a fellow child of our amazing God. She grew up on a farm in the Texas panhandle, played saxophone in the marching band, competed on a junior rodeo circuit, and was a self-professed church camp nut. She grew up in the Disciples of Christ (DOC) tradition. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UT Dallas and is a math teacher in the Texas public school system. Kelley says she hopes the whole church can remember what it means to be young at heart, because we are all children of the God who loves us.
CURRICULUM GURU, g-kids
Rev. Jennifer Dawson writes Galileo-specific curriculum for G-Kids as a gift to our church. She is a hope-speaking dream igniter who graduated from UNT. A teacher for years, she lately served as an administrator and curriculum specialist. Jennifer went to Brite Div. School and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA. She pastors First Presbyterian Church Parsons, KS. Jennifer loves stirring up the waters of complacency by helping others to discover their own strengths, loves, and joys. She also really likes helping people to rethink Christian education because God is much bigger than we imagine.
KATIE O is a student at Texas Christian University, majoring is History and Religion, on their way to an M.Div. for full-time ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). On Sundays, their family fills nearly a whole row: their girlfriend, Nathan the cellist; their awesome Mom Jeana; their sister Libby; and Libby’s boyfriend Connor. Sometimes there’s one brother or another in there, too. Katie’s “real” job is at a law firm. At TCU, they are resaearching ways in which Christianity has been used to justify empirical violence, from the Roman Empire to the Jewish Holocaust. They are struggling to reconcile this history with their own faith in God the Liberator, on the side of the oppressed and the marginalized. How do we build a Christianity on that?
SUSAN moved to Texas 32 years ago, having tried out DE, WV, MD, UT, CT, NY, MA, IL, and both ends of PA. Her family consists of husband Charlie, kids Christopher (and spouse Anita Lukic) and Melissa, with an opening for the position of Family Dog. She officially does qualitative social science research, but what she really likes to talk about is Lego Serious Play. Susan found the DOC by way of a crusty neighbor who wouldn’t put up with crap and went to a DOC church. She understands God to be an endlessly creative being, miracles and mutations and new things a part of it, with her job being to help those creations flourish. www.poweredbyplay.net
ASTREIA is a (often tired) wife, mom of 2 teens and a preteen, teacher, grad student. Also: super self-critical, easily overwhelmed, crafting realist. She has no time for foolishness or coddling. (If that sounds mean, it’s because she’s more honest these days.) She loves alpacas! Seriously, the most perfect animal to walk the planet. Also: food, antique stores, traveling, and wondering how I can feel alone in a room full of people she loves. When it comes to God, Astreia says: “I’ve been confused and angry. I’m at a crossroads between what I accepted blindly early in my faith and now truly thinking about whether what I thought is actually true, and where does that exactly leave God in the grand scheme of my life? If people are the hands and feet of Jesus, then I've found a place where at least I feel hopeful again in a world that is imploding.”
PRESIDENT JUST PAST
CORINA has lived in Arlington for most of her life. She works for an app called Favor that basically lets her be her own boss. She is currently enrolled at UTA, working towards a B.A. in Theatre, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and plans to graduate December 2018. She is heavily involved with her campus's Gender and Sexuality Alliance. When not focused on school or work, she may be protesting political BS, listening to podcasts, or geeking out within queer fandom. She grew up Catholic and has always known and loved God, but in the past few years struggled with what that meant along with being part of the LGBTQ+ community. She looked for a church where she didn’t have to snuff out a part of her identity, and loves breaking down norms of “traditional” church while still honoring tradition.
MARK’s pronouns are he/his/him. He’s married to Melina (see this same page, later) and has 2 kids. His oldest came out as MTF transgender about 2 years ago. Both kids are attending UT Austin. He loves to work with his hands and be creative. He actually says: “Being Barn Boss for Galileo Church has allowed me to do more of what I love to do.” God has thrown some incredible curve balls Mark’s way in the past couple of years, which has completely challenged his theological thinking in so may ways. Those certainties that propped up his faith are falling away. His conservative worldview has been tossed aside and he is seeing the world through a different lens. He’s eager to see what’s next!
KIERAN'S pronouns are he/him/his. He’s a quirky, ambiverted (look it up!) high schooler who loves his music, his ink pens, and his video games way too much. In all these ways and more, Kieran strives to do beauty for our God who is beautiful. He wants to help others find themselves while doing it.
MISSY is a recent transplant to Texas, but has always lived in the South. “It’s a long story,” she says. She is a teacher and a learner; and her favorite things are books, making music, gardening, photography, and history. Missy strongly believes that we need to understand history in order to even begin to get a handle on the present. “I am forever seeking justice and an understanding of just what justice is.” Missy found Galileo through a sign at a booth that said “We Seek Spiritual Refugees.” “That’s me," she says. "I found out that I’m not alone. I don't even know what God is up to with me. All I know is that it should be interesting. And there will be stories to tell later.”
SAVANNAH grew up in and still lives in Mansfield. She attends Tarrant County College with plans to go to UTA to pursue a degree in Film/Video. She works in creative media and is a worship leader for a church that meets on Sunday mornings. Despite being an INFP/Type 9/introverted wallflower, Savannah cares deeply for others and will be the first one to run to your aid with a bandage, a big hug, or a quick pun to cheer you up. She’s a mixed-pattern-wearing optimist, camera geek, middle sister, dog lover, wannabe barista, and overly obsessed recycler. She is constantly surprised by God’s grace, and the call for us to be a part of that. She believes the church can be an authentic family, coming together to be the embodiment of God’s love in the world.
KIM is a Mama Bear parent, friend, ally, wife, realtor and kayaking hobbyist! She’s married to her favorite human in the world, David (see this page later) and has 3 fabulous kids, 2 by birth, 1 by choice. She loves her dog Buster (all animals really), good ’80s music, burning anything (she might have a problem), her 1966 Ford truck, and dreaming she’s in Colorado, listening to her husband sing. When it comes to God, she’s been expanding and opening her mind to new things that sometimes seem too good to be true. She finds herself saying, “Yes, why didn’t I see this before? So much wasted time worrying about all the wrong things. My eyes are open and my heart is bursting!”
ANDREA’s pronouns are she/her/hers. (Say Ahn-DRAY-uh.) She has been married to Warren for 22 years, and they have four kids: Hayley, Sophia, Ella and Ethan. She has a math and science brain that corresponds with her nursing degrees; and an artsy brain that makes her useful at web and graphic design and a master of any type of craft. While she’s at it, you can always find her plugged into an audiobook. She moved to Texas three years ago and found Galileo amidst a lot of spiritual confusion. Andrea experienced indifference toward religion in the past, but her eyes are now open to the beauty it can provide without being harmful. Her faith and spirituality continue to grow in this new community she has found.
FRANCINE grew up in the DOC in Arlington. She went to Bethany College in West (By-God) Virginia. After getting her Political Science degree, she earned an M.Div. at Brite Div. School just in time to realize that full-time church pastor-ing was not her calling. But serving people through non-profit administration IS her calling, so she does that at Catholic Charities in Fort Worth. She met Katie while soothing a distraught, partly undressed child under a table at a children's ministry event. She has happily hosted a group of lovely, inappropriate storytelling individuals in her home, and her pasta salad is quite famous. Francine has spent a lifetime practicing her faith and finds that it all boils down to loving God and loving neighbor, even the punk neighbor who parks in your spot.
MARILYN is an AP English teacher at MHS, married to Chris, mom to Milena. She’a native FW-er with a master’s degree in education from Baylor. She used to be a dutiful Baptist pastor’s wife in a town of 351 people… and now mocks her thinking from that time period. She now has another master’s degree in theology, just because. Marilyn would love to be a park ranger, hiking every day, baking decadent desserts, and reading thrillers or mysteries in her down time. In reality, she is passionate about helping emotionally distressed students and teaching students to take stands on social justice issues. After feeling isolated in main-stream churches, she discovered Galileo when friends invited her. Marilyn is learning that God knows she is a person of dust, that self-care is a holy activity, that perfection is a trap, and legalism is a way of keeping the religious elite in power.
MELINA is a wife, mother of two exceptional young adults, and a therapist-in-training. Her kids are both at UT-Austin, and as she enters into this new “empty nest” season, she’s feeling anything but empty as she looks ahead with great expectation at the work that God is calling her to in caring for the world God loves. She loves singing karoake, especially of the disco variety; dessert of all kinds; and laughing out loud in appreciation of all joy that can be found in the world! When it comes to God, Melina has been challenged to bravely, and yet not without fear, step way out of her comfort zone to share the good news that God’s love is for everyone.
CORI is a wife, mom to four kids, recent-ish transplant from California to Texas, and someone who knows a little bit about a bunch of stuff. Her faith-life started in childhood where “if the doors were open, her family was in a pew,” but she always had questions the church wasn’t answering to her satisfaction. After a winding path away from church, then into one that betrayed her trust, she found Galileo — a space when she could doubt and question and listen without speaking and not feel ashamed for any of it. Right now, Cori and God are chewing on the idea that God deserves (and demands) space in her day-to-day when she is so easily caught up in the here-and-now.
ELISABETH is an introverted observer of the world; a natural mediator; and self-professed conflict avoider. Becoming a parent has forced her to come out of her shell and grapple with all of the BIG issues. Elisabeth grew up in St. Louis, but has been in Texas for long enough to be fully committed to “y’all” and the Tex Mex at Chuy’s. Elisabeth is happiest when playing with her toddler, Lucy. She found Galileo by happenstance at the Mansfield Pickle Parade. Elisabeth came to Galileo after seeing our rainbow flag waving in all its glory down Main Street. She grew up in church and church-hopped for many years, but never felt at home...till now.
LAURA, TYLER, ELEANOR, ASHLEY, and JENNY (not pictured) are moving through the ordination process with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), sponsored by Galileo Church and several partner congregations. Four of them are students at Brite Div. School; one (Jenny) has graduated! They work variously as chaplains, youth ministers, educators, and Etsy storekeepers. Talk to them to find out which is which! And pray along with them as they continue down the path toward God’s idea of their best future.
DAVID has his doctorate in music performance (DMA) from UNT, and teaches voice at UTA. (Can you say “Tenure!”?) He’s married to the amazing Kimberly Grogan, who (he says, though we would disagree) he doesn’t deserve. He has two wonderful children, Kat and Aaron, who live in Denton with Kat’s wife, Nova. David has a strong tendency to see the best in people. He loves dogs, his family, teaching, singing, and the occasional gin and tonic. (Okay, more than occasional lately.) He despises bigotry, people who hurt those who he loves, and paperwork. Finding Galileo has been a Godsend in David’s life, and they are trying their hardest to return some of the love they have received from the beautiful people here. He’s trying to sort out the mysteries of faith, and happy to learn with and from his G-Group.