Parishioners share their thoughts on what St Mark's means to them.
Parishioner Brent Welch offered us a wonderfully moving sermon on October 30 about his views on Stewardship, and how that translates to his own support of St Mark’s. You can listen to his sermon for the first time, or as a reminder, right here.
A few parishioners gave us their perspective in writing on what St Mark’s means to them.
I first came to St. Mark's during a time of upheaval at my previous church (All Saints Palo Alto). The rector retired, the interim left after less than a year, and then the newly-called rector had a style which I disliked. The entire staff at the church left and were replaced. The bishop had also resigned under a cloud. I started to feel like I was worshiping in a construction zone. I was a new mother of a 2-year-old in a parish without many children or activities for them.
I became friends with the associate Rector, Lori Walton. The parish troubles continued. When Lori left to come to St. Mark's, I wondered what that parish across town was like. [...] read full article
Stewardship. I remember an Amtrak trip from New York’s Grand Central Station to Oakland’s Jack London Square. There was a steward who took care of us, including making up our bunks at night. He seemed to really enjoy his work. So stewardship can be fun. I certainly enjoy the little bits of stewardship I do at St. Mark’s.
For me St. Mark’s is a lot about community. I belong to many great communities: family, friends, neighbors, school, work, dancing, etc. Church is one of the best. [...] read full article
My first visit to St. Mark’s happened to be the 2014 de-greening of the church. An announcement was made that anyone was welcome to stay after Agape and help put the Christmas decorations away, so I stayed. Even though no one knew me, I soon found myself with armfuls of fake poinsettias and vague instructions to put them away. I figured out who to follow and soon got to see the “backstage” of the church, including the vestry and the basement - the kind of area that was off-limits to newcomers at other churches and synagogues I’d been at.
It may seem silly to cite an opportunity to help de-green a church and access to a storage basement as a clear signal that St. Mark’s was the right place for me - but it made it clear to me that not just my presence but my participation was welcome. [...] read full article
There’s a lot of different options for “dummies” in the series of reference books published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. There’s everything from Pinterest for Dummies to Bird Watching for Dummies, but there isn’t “Transitioning to College for Dummies”. I was warned that the transition to college might be hard, but I didn’t anticipate exactly how hard it was going to be for me.
Up until now, I took for granted the communities I grew up in. Now that I live somewhere else, I know that I was extremely fortunate not only to grow up in Palo Alto, but more specifically in the St. Mark’s community. [...] read full article
A long-time Episcopal priest who has spent his career in academic life (the last decades at Stanford), I have known and participated in a fair number of parish churches. Mary Layne and I joined St. Mark’s seventeen years ago, and are grateful beneficiaries of its ministry and mission. Rather than write abstractly about this church’s character and virtues, as we see them, let me simply make observations about “a day in the life of…” [...] read full article
Matt and I grew up in very different faith traditions, so in looking for a home church, we had to make some compromises. My Quaker background ensured I wanted a church that had time for quiet reflection and community prayer. Matt’s Lutheran background had him looking for a church that served Communion weekly, promoted the care and feeding of the poor, and had a music program of familiar hymns. We both wanted a church that was LGBT friendly, and socially conscious. [...] read full article
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. [...] read full article
My wife and I came to St. Mark’s about six years ago. We had been happily attending All Saints Episcopal Church in downtown Palo Alto, but we were soon to welcome our first child and were looking for a more family-oriented church community. I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and church was always a big family activity. I started attending the 8 a.m. service, and then switched to the 10 o’clock service after my son was born. [...] read full article
We were an Air Force family and moved a good bit. My husband and I sponsored the youth groups in the various Episcopal churches we joined whenever we moved. We started doing this when we first moved to Albuquerque and our two baby sitters told us the youth group would have to disband if they couldn’t get a sponsor. We asked two other couples to join with us which worked out very well. We continued to do this when we moved to Southern California and back to Arlington. [...] read full article
St. Mark’s has been a very special place for me for many years - spiritually, socially and even physically. Much of this time I did not realize how special and important St. Mark’s has been. I was busy with the typical myriad of activities, some important and some less so, involving family, friends, business and profession, “church”, travel, various groups, and the list goes on. However, reflecting a bit, I am realizing how St. Mark’s has supported and guided me through all these activities. In other words, how St. Mark’s has helped and continues to help me live my life in our challenging world. [...] read full article