Jackie Gertken

Office Manager and Registrar

Suzy Affeldt

Food Service Manager

Gabriel Skarphol

Facilities Director

Phyllis Jacobson

Planned Giving Coordinator

Chelsey Genszler

Office administrator/Marketing Coordinator

Heidi Knauf

Event Coordinator and Housekeeping Manager

Tim Peterson

Interim Executive Director

David Blackstad

Program Director

Meet the new staff!

Tim Peterson - Interim Executive Director

Mount Carmel has been a very important place for my family and myself. My mother-in-law, Alice Eastvold Melby, came to Mount Carmel in one of its earliest years – maybe 1939. My parents, Earl and Lorraine Peterson met each other here in 1946. My wife Donadee and I have been coming every summer since 1995. Our children, Nathan, John, and Elise, all worked here.

I am an ELCA pastor. I served 28 years as a Chaplain in the Army Reserve and the Minnesota Army National Guard. I have worked as a software developer, trainer, and consultant. I have written a couple of books. My most recent jobs have been 15 months as interim pastor of the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (Mindekirken) in Minneapolis (preaching in Norwegian) and 7 months as the interim pastor of the American Lutheran Congregation in Oslo, Norway (preaching in English).

Donadee and I love to bike, swim, and cross-country ski. We have a home in Battle Lake, Minnesota. We have 4 grandchildren.

I want to see Mount Carmel prosper on into the future – to be a place where people are pointed to Jesus Only – a place of blessing, renewal, awakening, and conversion. We need to hear the Good News of Jesus again and again.

Tim will officially start on April 15, 2020 and is contracted for 20-24 months. We look forward to having him and his wife, Donadee join us!

David Blackstad - Director of Programming

I’ve been coming to Mount Carmel with my family since 1997 and have experienced firsthand how amazing the rest, renewal, and recreation of this place are for families. Mount Carmel’s misson to “be a place where people experience Jesus through rest, renewal, and recreation” and it’s values of Joy, Hospitality, Christian Community, and Jesus Only shape who I am and will guide the Biblically-based ministry that I have the honor of overseeing at Mount Carmel.

I graduated from Luther College in spring of 2019 with my BA in Music and Psychology. Within those disciplines I focused on jazz and buisness psychology! Between my years at Luther College I spent my summers serving in various roles at Mount Carmel from high school program leader to worship coordinator and left each summer with a stronger faith and stronger christian community. 

This fall I was at the University of Minnesota Duluth pursuing my master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology when the board of trustees reached out to offer me a position at Mount Carmel. After four summers of serving Jesus Only at Mount Carmel I was incredibly honored to accept the program director position. 

If you have come to know and love the programming over the years you can expect next summer share a lot of similarities. The ministry of Mount Carmel has changed thousands of lives (mine very much included) and I know Jesus will continue working in this place for summer of 2020 and well beyond! 

Chelsey Strickler - Office administrator/Marketing Coordinator

Chelsey's Headshot

Chelsey Genszler was first introduced to Mount Carmel when she served as summer staff in 2013. She returned the next two summers in different roles including Summer Staff Co-Coordinator. In between her second and third summer, Chelsey graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor’s in Communication: Public Relations and English. She also served as the part-time Operations Assistant at Mount Carmel from 2015-2017, until she moved to Michigan to participate in a 10-month ministry and discipleship training called SEND Young Adults. Chelsey is excited to be “welcomed home” to serve in a new role, and seeing how God uses her gifts and experiences to guide others in finding rest, renewal, and recreation while at camp.

In her free time, Chelsey loves to spend time with her husband, family, and friends, go on adventures, and watch crime shows. She is always seeking something new to learn and loves hearing people’s stories.

Board of Trustees

The Mount Carmel Ministries Board of Trustees consists of eleven men and women who are elected by the Proclaimers (voting members of Mount Carmel). Each year at our Annual Meeting, the Board of Trustee candidates are elected, each for a three-year-term.

Call the office for more information (320) 846-2744, or email at

The Board of Trustees are:
Sally Smith – Alexandria, MN
Nate Bjorge – Little Falls, MN
Stu Wood – Alexandria, MN
Bill Odermann – Austin, MN
David Schmidgall – Hancock, MN
Kim Deterding – Alexandria, MN
Ken Birst – Bismarck, ND
Miriam Kindem – Bemidji, MN
Bryn Knatterud – St. Paul, MN
Eric Ristvedt – Alexandria, MN
Marcella Nelson – Brookfield, WI