Welcome Our Newly Elected Leaders

Mar 11, 2023
St. Mark’s 2023 Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, March 5. At that time, elections took place for the positions of Senior Warden, Vestry Class of 2026 (3), and Diocesan Delegate.

Senior Warden – Jim Brooks (2 years)

Vestry, Class of 2026 (3 years) – Travis Beaty, Meg Platt, Todd Thorpe

Diocesan Delegate – Maureen Shea

Newly Elected Senior Warden Jim Brooks had these inspiring words to share:

Thank you for electing me to the position of senior warden of this our St. Mark’s community. I want to thank my immediate predecessors in this role. First, to Louise Walsh, who stepped in at a very critical time of need. I have known Louise since she taught my confirmation class back when that class was nearly as long as Marine Corps boot camp and had two weekends away! To Linell Grundman, with whom I served in support of a number of programs. To Ryan Baugh, with whom I served on the vestry. And to Nora Howell, with whom I also served on the vestry. All these folks brought their individual gifts to this community, and I have learned from them and will try to live up to their examples.

I want to add that I am heartened by the number of people who have shared with me their thoughts, feelings, and observations about this community from the time it was announced that I was going to seek this role. So many people shared their hopes and passions, expectations, and recommendations for the future of this community.

Oh, so many recommendations!

This is a good thing! Talking with so many who feel a stake in the outcomes we might achieve together in the next couple of years is very encouraging. It’s a mark of faith and commitment, and love for this, our St. Mark’s home. Make no mistake; a lot is happening here at St. Mark’s. We are an active and complex community. And we are a community that we choose to embrace; call our own; nurture; and care for. For some, this is a family community. For others, this is a learning community. St. Mark’s is a social community, an artistic community, and a service community. For still others, it is a spiritual and faith community. Many embrace all of these aspects. Many others are drawn here for wholly other reasons.

So what keeps us together? Is it a notion that we mutually pledge to “speak our truth” to one another? And I hasten to add, truth that should be spoken with care and gentleness and respect and compassion. Is it the words we hear every Sunday—that “whoever you are, from wherever you have come, and whatever you believe or don’t believe, all are welcome and invited into the heart of this community?” I believe that what is singularly true for any person who crosses the threshold of St. Mark’s is that this is a community where you—your truest self—is valued, can be known, and can belong. St. Mark’s is more than our family of origin, more than our professional calling, more than a hobby or place of recreation.

At St. Mark’s, we are engaged in what our Patron Saint Verna Dozier suggests is a calling “to be the new thing in the world.” Nothing less than “to restore a fallen world to the dream of a good creation of love and peace and justice.” Verna Dozier is a touchstone for this community as a teacher, preacher, and theologian. So how is it then that you come to belong? That’s the good news. The opportunity to belong is literally pages long—these sheets of announcements are a myriad of ways to share your gifts with this community. And if you don’t see something that captures your passion, you can start something new.

I particularly enjoyed and am especially grateful for the creative and diverse worship services that we have experienced in the last two months. If you have been to, or viewed on Zoom, any of the services in the last two months and value those experiences, raise your hand, raise it high. Look around. Good, that means we will have no trouble securing a team of volunteers to help create the services for the next few months. This is what it takes. This is ownership. This is stewardship. This is ministry. Let us follow the example of our children who this morning were recognized as acolytes and choir members. Did you hear the words of their song—“there is healing and mercy here.” Therefore, the challenge I have set for myself is the same one I set before you. Come. Be valued. Be known. Belong. Follow the advice of Bishop Marianne Edgar Budde and “make your offering no matter how insignificant it may seem to you.” Be the steward. Be an active part of this community in whatever way your unique gifts lead you. Lead with your heart and not your calendar. Lead from possibility and not from limitation. We have so much, and there is so much good we can do in this building, neighborhood, city, and nation.

We are the right people in the right place at the right time with the right gifts. Do this, and your mind, body, and soul will be richer for the effort. I’ll close with hymnal words that we sang two weeks ago. The words are from Marty Haugen. I hope you find them as compelling as I did.

Here in this place, new light is streaming; now is the darkness vanished away; see in this space our fears and our dreamings; brought here to you in the light of this day. Gather us in, the lost and forsaken; gather us in, the blind and the lame; call to us now, and we shall awaken; we shall arise at the sound of your name.

Not in the dark of buildings conning; not in some heaven light years away; here in this place the new light is shining; now is the kingdom, now is the day.

Thank you for your kind attention. I look forward to this journey that we are on together.

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