May 29, 2020
Dear People of God at St. Mark’s:
At your annual meeting in January, we talked about new ways to build the St. Mark’s congregation and increase our outreach to the Erie community. Today I have exciting news to share on that front.
In consultation with the Bishop’s Committee and with the support of Diocesan Council, the staff of St. Mark’s has formed a collaborative partnership with the staff of the Cathedral of St. Paul. Under this new arrangement, which begins July 1, St. Mark’s and the cathedral will share a half-time associate priest, a youth minister, and a full-time administrator. These new staff members will provide St. Mark’s with more capacity for ministry and outreach and allow Craig Dressler and Carly Rowe more time to focus on the Christian formation, liturgy, and congregational development that our growing congregation needs.
While we are still seeking people to fill the youth minister and administrator positions, I am delighted to announce that on July 5, the Rev. Kathleen Moore will join St. Mark’s and the cathedral as a half-time associate priest. Kathleen, whom some of you already know through her work at Canticle Communications, is a 2019 graduate of Church Divinity School of the Pacific who has a passionate commitment to community ministry and to lay-led congregations like St. Mark’s. She is currently a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Vermont—her ordination to the priesthood has been delayed by the pandemic, but will take place later this summer as soon as it is safe and practical. Before seminary, Kathleen, who also has a B.A. in history from Kenyon College, spent two years as the social media manager for The Orvis Company and eight years working in the television industry in Los Angeles. She will move to Erie later this summer and continue working half-time at Canticle Communications, where she has been communications manager since 2014.
When we reopen our church buildings, Kathleen will spend three Sundays each month at St. Mark’s and Father Don will become vicar emeritus, focused primarily on pastoral care. This is the role that he has asked to play during our conversations about his succession plan, and I am enormously grateful for his willingness to remain a part of our ministry at St. Mark’s.
In the midst of these other transitions, Deacon Dick Nygaard has asked to retire from active ministry on July 1. Once we are able to gather in person again, we will find time to celebrate his time at St. Mark’s and thank him for his faithful diaconal service in our diocese.
Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes our world, the church urgently needs new and innovative partnerships like this one. This is not a merger—both St. Mark’s and the cathedral will maintain their own buildings, liturgical styles, and cultures. But it is a new way of sharing resources to increase ministry in our congregations and in Erie, and I am grateful to you for your willingness, once again, to try new ideas for the sake of the gospel.
I hope that if you have questions about these new developments at St. Mark’s, you will email Carly at email@example.com or Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to learning with you as we begin this new experiment, and I am eager for you to meet Kathleen soon, even if that must happen online.