I have been going to St. Marks since I was pretty young. In the beginning, I was going to church every Sunday just to spend time with my grandmother (Kaye Crawford), and church was a meaningless place where I was forced to be quiet and listen while people I barely knew sung and spoke about topics I hadn’t begun to comprehend. I don’t remember being particularly loud, but I’m sure I wasn’t happy. For the most part, church was a foreign world filled with unknown people and ideas.
As I grew older, however, St. Marks itself grew into a warmer place, giving me a feeling of safety equivalent to going to a best friends house for an hour or so. I just went to church and all was good, but nothing was particularly interesting or thought provoking, until I joined youth group. In youth group I found new friends, new questions, and new meaning and a side of the Church world that I had never experienced. I had stepped out of the shell of the bystander to become an active member of the community.
At sixteen years old, I am more involved with a church than I ever thought I would be. I go to youth group when I can, I serve as an acolyte, go on mission trips, and visit church almost weekly. What made it so easy for a boy like me to become a part of the great St. Mark community was its openness. People here made it easy for me, and make it easy for others to come get involved with the church and potentially have their lives changed. This is what makes St. Marks and its congregation stand tall, its ability to open itself up to others and open up minds and hearts. I, personally, am grateful.