I’ve now been around St. Mark’s most of my life though I don’t feel much different from the twenty-something who first visited in 1988. On that October day, the service was an “ancient liturgy” held in the parish hall, an attempt to recreate the spirit of early Christians gathered in a member’s home. One of the church matriarchs spotted me right away and quickly introduced me to a group of post-undergraduate young adults in the hall. Some cautioned me that this wasn’t the usual mode of worship at St. Mark’s, as if it might be off-putting. On the contrary, I was drawn in by it and immediately felt I was a part of the community.
It was natural for me to fall in with the post-college crowd. Within the group, we wrestled with the values that we wanted to embody, along with the challenges of those times. Over the next few years, the group dispersed to pursue advanced education or careers. But the experience remains imprinted on me, and I have attempted to stay engaged with my values as the old group did, to make words and actions congruent with beliefs. To that end, I have found myself serving in multiple groups at St. Mark’s over the years, including music, liturgy, vestry, diocesan delegation, and stewardship.
With respect to stewardship, the yardstick that I sometimes use is a mythical 40-hour work week. In principal, tithing could mean spending four hours on a church project one week; it could instead mean donating four hours worth of my earnings, or some combination of the two. Over time, the balance varies. However, it is a constant that I find that I am thankful for the St. Mark’s community and what we accomplish together.