GALLIPOLIS — A chapter ends and a new one begins as Pastor John Jackson steps back and New Life Lutheran Church welcomes Michael Giese as its new pastor this coming Sunday.
Giese originally hails from Granite Falls, Minnesota.
“I’ve been a pastor for 10 years,” said Giese. “I was a chaplain in the (US) Army and did a tour in Afghanistan back in ‘08-‘09. My most recent parish was southwest of Houston, Texas…I originally went onto duty as a combat medic and have some experiences dealing with soldiers, especially with (posttraumatic stress disorder). This was after the first Gulf War, with a couple of different experiences, I felt compelled to move from healing bodies to help heal souls.”
Giese said he felt the military in the last few years has encouraged veterans to find help as a source of strength and encouraged such efforts.
“Coincidentally, Granite Falls is in the Minnesota River Valley,” said Giese. “That was appealing to me because Gallipolis reminds me a lot of where I grew up in Granite Falls…Outside of the city, I grew up 42 miles north of Walnut Grove, Minnesota…It is prairie flatland as far as the eyes can see, while the Minnesota River Valley is rolling. Now, (the Minnesota River) is smaller than the Ohio River but I look around here with the hills and the trees and it is much bigger than (the Minnesota River Valley area) where I grew up but it reminds me a lot of that.”
“I’d like to emphasize the family feel of the church and the community,” said Giese. “This is a great community for families. New Life Lutheran Church is really into the family philosophy.”
Giese lives in Gallipolis now.
Giese said Granite Falls, as an interesting piece of trivia, was known to be home to the late US Representative Andrew Volstead. Volstead has closely been associated with National Prohibition Act of 1919.
Jackson said this would be his third time retiring from his role as a pastor. He looks forward to a new step in New Life Lutheran Church’s future in Giese’s hands as a fellow chaplain and veteran.
New Life Lutheran Church welcomes all comers and will welcome Giese formally at 9:30 a.m. Sunday during worship at 900 Jackson Pike.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-242, ext. 2103.