Our Wonderful Staff


At Briarwood, we believe that God gives us all we need to do what God is calling us to do.  One of the greatest gifts God gives us is a gifted staff.  Our staff is working hard to make Briarwood an excellent summer camp and retreat facility.  They have already renewed relationships and made new relationships, rebuilt the summer program, added new systems for financial record keeping, and reorganized the camp tracking system.


You are invited to come and meet and staff - new and old - as they lead Briarwood Lutheran Ministries into a new era of ministry.



Executive Director of Briarwood - Pastor Phil Geleske

Email- phil@briarwoodretreat.org


After serving congregations in the NTNL Mission Area for the past 25 years, Pastor Phil joined theBriarwood Team as Executive Director in May of 2012.  Phil began his ministry in Arlington where he served his internship and later served as pastor of congregations in Priddy, Comanche, Flower Mound and most recently Coppell, Texas. Phil and his wife Anna have two grown children, Molly and Caleb.  Caleb served on the Briarwood staff several years ago. They also have a Black Labrador named Luther!


Phil is a graduate of Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana and Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio.  Phil credits the camp experiences of his youth at Outlaw Ranch, South Dakota and Sky Ranch of Colorado for his faith development and, while serving in the parish, made camp and retreat ministry a major component of his youth ministry.  As a seminarian Phil served as a Backpack Counselor at Sky Ranch, he later served for several years on the Board of Directors of LORMS and later as transition chair for the first Board of Directors of Briarwood.


Phil loves outdoor ministry and sees his role as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.  He is eager to work with congregations throughout our mission area in fulfilling the vision of DiscipleLife Alive at Briarwood!




Operations Director - Matt Baumhardt

Email - matt@briarwoodretreat.org


Matt also began at Briarwood in May of 2008, serving as Briarwood's Operations Director.  He has extensive experience in hotel and resort management.    Through his gifts and hard work Briarwood has a better system in managing its resources and is well on its way to reducing its debt, Matt has successfully refinanced all of Briarwood's long-term secured debt in 2010.

Matt graduated from Purdue University in Hotel and Resort Management.  Matt's family is wife Lora, his dog "Comet," who loves to chase the golf carts all over the camp, and his newborn baby Emory, who joined us in April 2015!




Program Director - Aaron Colwick

Email - aaron@briarwoodretreat.org


Aaron is joining the staff as Program Director. He is also the Director of Youth Ministries at Grace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, and the drummer for the band Scattered Seeds, who has been playing at the LYO Gatherings for the past 6 years. Aaron is overjoyed to be able to come back and work at Briarwood! It is at Briarwood that his ministry first began in 2003, so coming back here is like coming back home for him!

Aaron is married to Katrina, and they have a cat and dog, Cami and Ridley.




Facility Manager - Paul Harrington

Email - Paul@briarwoodretreat.org


Paul comes to Briarwood with a background in facility maintenance and repair and has worked as an insurance adjuster.  Paul is a member of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Southlake.



Office Manager & Registrar - Sharon Mersiovsky

Email - Sharon@briarwoodretreat.org


Sharon joined the Briarwood staff as Office Manager and Registrar in June 2015.  She is a lifelong Lutheran and currently attends Rejoice Lutheran in Frisco.  She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor's of Arts in History and likes to read about medieval history for fun.  Sharon is married to Paul and they have two children, Katie and Sean who enjoy running around Briarwood and helping in the office when school is not in session. 



Executive Chef - Carlos Carrasquillo

Sous Chef - Hilario Hernandez










The Briarwood Board

Briarwood is blessed with a very dedicated board.  These volunteers share their time, talents, and gifts to oversee the ministry of Briarwood, to continually make the camping and retreat ministry new and exciting, and to lift up the vision of an ever growing ministry.  We thank them for answering the call to serve.


All Briarwood Board members can be contacted through the Briarwood email address bw@briarwoodretreat.org.


Board Members


The Rev. Diane Eggemeyer

Jerry Gray

Bishop Erik Gronberg

The Rev. Marc Hander

Elizabeth Holschuh

The Rev. Kathi Johnson

Carolyn Knudsen

Bill Lindquist

J. Rae Roe

George M. Sakakeeny

The Rev. Amanda Ullrich



The Rev. Phil Geleske