Our roots at St. Mark’s go back to February 1979 when Carl retired from the Navy, and he got a job in Palo Alto. His boss knew Colin Campbell and recommended St. Mark’s. We showed up the first of February, and I asked Polly Fuller if I could work in the yards which were devastated from a drought. I worked alone until I told Carl about the mattresses behind the Sunday School classrooms.
Thus, “The Groundskeepers” was born. To feed the troops, we prepared ham hocks and beans, cornbread, and served beer. Cleo Williams heated the food and baked the corn bread. We stopped at noon, sat down on the steps or ground, and talked and ate Texan grub.
To keep in touch during “the troubles” when some people left, several of us started a “diaspora” picnic at the park on East Meadow. Former parishioners came from Berkeley, Graton, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, San Carlos, Los Altos, Redwood City, Mountain View, Oakland and Tracy. We shared the meal with many who had also stayed at St. Mark’s.
We were at Trinity when it was announced that Matt had been chosen to be the pastor at St. Mark’s. I told him I would pray for him daily. (I probably didn’t do that daily!) It is a good memory, but the parishioners at St. Mark’s have shared in the healing.
We returned to St. Mark’s a year and a half ago, and Matt called us by name. A good friend of mine knew that we had stopped going to church, and she asked me for the name of the church in our neighborhood where we had gone years ago. She looked up St. Mark’s, and told me we needed to return.
On December 1 last year, Carl has a massive stroke and is more confined to our home. St. Mark’s people have embraced us so beautifully, and I rarely can get through the service without tears. The number of Kleenex boxes in the pews has also grown. Last week I counted three large boxes! It was serendipitous that we returned when we did.