New Collaborative Partnership with the Cathedral of St. Paul Begins in July: A Letter from Bishop Sean

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 crowe@saintmarkserie.org or Craig at cdressler@saintmarkserie.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.

 

Faithfully,

 

+Sean

The REv. Kathleen MOore

On July 5, the Rev. Kathleen Moore will join St. Mark’s and the Cathedral of St. Paul as a half-time associate priest. Kathleen 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. 


In 2019, Kathleen earned her M.Div from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, where she won the Lawrence Kristin Mikkelson Preaching Scholarship and participated by faculty nomination in the Episcopal Preaching Foundation’s Preaching Excellence Program. She also holds a B.A. in history from Kenyon College.


Before seminary, Kathleen spent two years as the social media manager for The Orvis Company and the communications minister for the Diocese of Vermont, and eight years working in the television industry in Los Angeles. She joined Canticle Communications in 2014 as communications manager and will continue in that position half-time after she joins us in Erie.

Welcome, Niambi Mercado!

Just over a month ago, we shared the exciting news that the Cathedral of St. Paul and St. Mark's Episcopal Church have formed a collaborative partnership by which we will share a half-time associate priest, a full-time administrator and a director of children and youth ministries. We're pleased to say that even though our buildings remain closed, our new venture is starting strong.


The Rev. Kathleen Moore, our new associate priest, is in the process of moving to Erie this weekend and begins her ministry with us on Monday. Today we are excited to announce that our new administrator, Niambi Mercado, will also begin work next week, and is also moving to Erie this weekend from Toledo, Ohio.


Niambi, who holds a bachelor's degree from Unity College in Maine and a master's degree from Antioch University of New England, has been secretary for an Episcopal parish in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was also a live-in Catholic Worker volunteer. She has also been an Episcopal Service Corps fellow and worked as a concierge for an assisted living facility. Niambi is an active Episcopalian whose passion for advocacy, social justice, and innovative collaboration drew her to join our new partnership, and we are delighted to welcome her to our community.


We look forward to introducing you to both Niambi and Kathleen via Zoom soon, and eventually in person as our joint reopening working group determines the plan for returning to our buildings safely. Please look for more information coming soon in both the St. Mark's and Cathedral email newsletters, and contact us if you have questions.

 

Thank you for your support of our collaborative partnership and our congregations during this extraordinary time.

 

Peace,

 

Craig Dressler

Associate for Parish Life, St. Mark's Episcopal Church


Carly Rowe

Associate for Programs and Development, St. Mark's Episcopal Church


The Very Rev. Melinda Hall

Dean, Cathedral of St. Paul