HANCOCK — The Rev. Dan Geslin, the new minister at the Hancock Congregational Church, comes to Maine by way of Lake Wobegon.
Geslin grew up in Anoka, Minn., as did radio personality Garrison Keillor, who based the fictional town on his boyhood city.
“I grew up in Lake Wobegon,” said Geslin, who arrived in Maine three weeks ago.
Geslin said he came to the ministry a bit reluctantly.
As a youth he rebelled against his parents’ hopes that he enter the seminary.
“I was more into the countercultural thing,” he said.
After attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where he majored in English, he did decide to give the ministry a try but enrolled in the most open-minded program in the country.
That was the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., which brought together 13 denominations in its seminary program.
“It was at the height of the ecumenical movement,” said Geslin, who ultimately earned his degree in 1983 from Pacific School of Religion at Berkeley.
“I was struggling with my sense of identity,” he said of that period in his life. “I went to the seminary in search of my integrity and saw this as a spiritual process.”
Later he went on to earn his doctorate in preaching and liturgy at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
After graduation, Geslin accepted the post of hospital chaplain at San Francisco General Hospital, where he ministered to people with AIDS.
“I learned a lot about community, caring for one another and bringing men and women together as caregivers,” he said.