Jolene and I started coming to St Mark’s just before our first child, Christopher, was born in 1994. Jolene had attended St Mark’s for the occasional Christmas or Easter service while in high school because her best friend’s mother attended the church. So as we considered a church for our new family, St Mark’s was our first choice. We found the atmosphere very welcoming and kid friendly, so we started attending more regularly. All three of our boys have been baptised here. Chris is now 21 and a senior at UC San Diego. Daniel is 19 and a Sophomore at Sonoma State. Michael will be 16 in early November, and is a Junior at Mountain View High School.
When Chris was about 6, I joined the choir. An unexpected side effect of being a choir member is a very regular church attendance record! I’ve always loved singing hymns, but had not sung in a choir before. I bought a small electronic keyboard so I could learn my notes. I also painted the note names on an octave so Chris could learn, and today he is a gifted piano player. I love my time with the choir. Rebecca and Jim (and the organ!) are fantastic. In 2006 my mother, Buffy, moved here from Arlington, and now the two of us carpool to choir rehearsal, so you often find us sitting together at church. The choir is a great group of folks, and the opportunity to sing in our wonderful church is such a fulfilling experience.
Our boys have had some great opportunities here at St Mark’s. The mission trips have given them life-long memories. In the Nevada desert they worked on a new school house for a native american church, while experiencing the stark desert beauty and challenging conditions. In Alaska they worked with the native community on the very edge of the world. This summer they worked in Northern California with native american communities to help build a roof, a fence, and an animal shelter. As they grow up in such a privileged world, I think it is super important that our youth have opportunities to see how others live, and to have opportunities to give of themselves.
My latest adventure at St Mark’s has been on the Vestry. It turns out you can’t play the “I’m too busy at work to be on Vestry” card indefinitely, but I tried! I have been pleasantly surprised! I’m continually reminded that giving my time and energy is very rewarding. Just as coaching my boys in soccer meant I had to leave work early (ok, no hardship there), the Vestry work has given me something to do other that stay obsessively up-to-date with work. And it was eye-opening to realize there are about 30 different commissions and small groups and committees and work groups (and Vestry) that provide opportunities to everyone here at St Mark’s.
St Mark’s is a very special place. It has given me more than I ever expected to find. In this Stewardship season, I hope you explore some of the many opportunities we have for you to give to this wonderful community.