LEADERSHIP AT ST. ANDREW'S
Pastor Caleb Crainer joined us as our called full-time pastor in September 2012.
Pastor Caleb asks a lot of questions and is always learning to communicate God's Good News of hope in fresh and exciting ways. Church can be a fun place where people can get to know folks of different backgrounds, ages, and places in life; where we can listen to stories from a different era alongside our elder friends or learn the familiar Bible stories again for the first-time alongside youngsters. Being a publicly-identified gay man has led him to proactive visions of inclusion and hospitality. Caleb embraces and celebrates diversity, and is excited to serve a congregation that enjoys all kinds of folks.
His scholarly background includes nine years of theological education at various institutions around the country, and a year-long pastoral internship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He holds a B.A. in Theology from Valparaiso University, an M.A. in Biblical Languages from The Graduate Theological Union, and an M.Div. from The Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest. Although Caleb hails from a small city in Kansas, he has mostly lived in or near large metropolitan areas over the past decade and is enthusiastic about returning to California. He enjoys Bollywood movies, music from around the globe, good Shawarma, and Sci-Fi. (Be sure to ask him about working at a Space Museum!)
Caleb is energized when facilitating engagement between the church and local communities through volunteer opportunities and civic advocacy, and by building sustaining relationships outside the walls of the church. God is active in the ways we connect with each other. Caleb speaks Spanish, has a background in biblical languages and archaeology, and has written several bible study curricula on current social topics.
To be a Lutheran, for him, is "to boldly ask questions and boldly love our neighbors." Caleb loves "the vibe" at St. Andrew's, the commitment to the community, and the spirit of welcome that radiates from the congregation. He sees many assets in the way the folks here follow Jesus as they care for one another, respect and nurture children, and love a good laugh.
Pastor Caleb hopes St. Andrews can be a place for friendships across the borders that divide us. Where you can get to know someone of a different political affiliation, age group, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, skin color, accent, addiction, personality, or profession. Whether you're a believer, a questioner, or a questioning believer, whether you're a lifelong Lutheran or new to faith, Pastor Caleb and St. Andrew's extend a warm welcome to you.
Galina Barskaya began studying piano at the age of four and started to perform professionally at the age of 7. She got her BM and MM in Kiev State College and Kiev State Conservatory where she studied piano, organ, conducting, music history and composition. She toured extensively in Russia, Ukraine and other parts of former USSR.
Since coming to the United States in 1993, Ms. Barskaya has established herself as a soloist, chamber musician, accompanist and teacher. She has also been working as a conductor and music director. Ms. Barskaya had been on staff of Santa Monica College and Cal State Long Beach and has been a member and founding member of several chamber ensembles and groups. In the Los Angeles area, she has performed at numerous venues including the Alex Theater and Hollywood Bowl.She's been involved in different religious music programs as Music Director/Conductor as well as pianist/organist including Emerson UU Church, Kehillat Isarael and Lutheran Church of the Master.
She created "Musical Explorations" concert series, and from 2001 to 2009 had been its founding Artistic Director. From 2009 to 2012 she's been a Music Director at LA Metropolitan Opera. Presently, she is on staff of Occidental College, is Music Director at St. Andrews Lutheran Church as well as a Music Director at Mesopotamian Opera Company and a Founding Artistic Director/CEO of Independent Opera Company. Galina is also a composer, her music most recently was featured in an educational movie "Birth In Action".