Rev. Michael Gienger | Keynote Speaker

Pastor, Central UMC (Galveston)

Michael GiengerRev. Michael Gienger is an ordained elder in the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. He received his undergraduate degree in Religion, concentrating in Christian Ethics, from Baylor University, and his Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Michael has been serving as co-pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Galveston, Texas, since 2014. He is also the founder of Galveston Housing Plus (GH+) — a new nonprofit providing supportive housing for persons exiting homelessness.

Central is a community in which radical grace is both believed and practiced. Ten years ago, Central had four regular attendees. Today, the church is the major provider of homeless services for the city of Galveston. Central is changing the culture of the city, inviting all towards a posture of compassion and kinship regardless of housing status. This is perhaps most evident on Sunday mornings when friends with homes and friends experiencing homelessness gather together for worship in a couch- and pew-packed sanctuary where all are more than welcome — they are wanted.

Gienger, known for his tenacious solidarity with the poor, has received multiple awards and honors for his work in Galveston, including being named one of Wesleyan Impact Partners' Locke Innovative Leaders. Gienger is married to his partner, Moriah, who is an occupational therapist at TIRR Memorial Hermann. They have a 15-year-old dog named Crouton.