St. Mark's Stories

Why can’t we have complex things?

A reflection following the leaking of information suggesting the pending overturn of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe vs. Wade

For the past 25 years of my professional life, I have been a professional social worker, grief counselor, professor and priest. Most of my work, along with my clinical and academic expertise, has focused on reproductive health and mental health. I’ve heard stories that are beautiful and gut-wrenching, I have held confidences shared behind closed doors and companioned people through some of the most difficult and complex situations and decisions of their lives. I’m someone who reads, thinks, ponders and holds nuanced ethical positions on a host of issues because I understand the complexity of life through the experiences of others.

These recent days have been trying times for my soul.

Read more

by Rev. Sarah Ky Price  | 

Covid Updates April 2022

Covid Update: As the number of COVID cases continues to decline in Richmond and the surrounding counties, St. Mark’s vestry, clergy and staff are deeply grateful for your patience and grace in our shared response to this pandemic. As we have followed the CDC guidelines and our Bishop’s guidance, Richmond is now in the “green” or LOW transmissions, and we are able to make decisions about masking, distancing and singing. (If you are interested in learning more about this new guidance, please visit the CDC’s Data Tracker) 
We have made the decision to re-incorporate congregational singing into our worship.  As of April 24 masks are optional however we do still practice social distancing.  Unless there is any change in direction from the Bishop's office, or increase in COVID risks as evaluated by our Vestry, we will continue as it is safe to incorporate other aspects of our shared worship.
St. Mark’s will continue to encourage participation in our Zoom service, Whether we are in-person or in the Zoom “pews” we love seeing each other and sharing worship. We welcome any feedback that would help us better meet your worship needs, especially as we walk through this period of transition. 
We have much to be grateful for and much to hold close.
The Vestry & Interim Rector
  • Masks are optional
  • Social distancing and minimal physical contact (three feet minimum between unrelated persons)
  • Childrens' Worship this Sunday at 10:45am (ages 4-11)
  • Nursery is open at 10:15 (limit of three children under 4)

Posted 4/20/2022

Broken Glass and Broken Lives

Early one December morning a sadly befuddled soul took a brick and beat a hole in our side door glass. The police responded to the alarm to find this man attempting to go to sleep on my office floor - no matter that the siren was blasting across the neighborhood. When I arrived, I saw the two pillows and my knitted shawl he had pulled down off a chair to make his bed. It was a pitiful scene. I was grateful to hear from the police officer that this man now in custody would go the mental health sector of our justice system, not the criminal courts. For while indeed he did damage to our door and enter our building, he had made no effort to steal or vandalize. Having been released from the hospital, he told the officers he just wanted to get in out of the cold. Clearly, he is in need more of care than jail time.
There are so many broken human beings in our city. People who for various reasons find themselves alone and cold, desperate, and irrational - not able to reason through behavior and its consequences. I ask you to pray for this person and all like him who are in need of help our current health and justice systems seem hard pressed to deliver. 
Our wound will be repaired – a temporary repair already in place and the Church Insurance Company alerted to the damage. It is for us just glass and inconvenience. 
For this person though it is more trauma upon whatever already clouds his mind and reason. Please pray that this man’s wounds be healed and that his life be made whole. And when you have prayed - advocate for better access to mental health care, shelter and affordable housing, and support for those broken in our city.
NAMI Virginia (National Alliance on Mental Health) is the local affiliate of the national organization providing support, education and advocacy around mental health issues. Their Advocacy page lists upcoming hearings and public policy issues around mental health.
Richmond Behavioral Health is our city service and advocacy organization. This page lists some of their services.

by Malinda Collier  | 

Stewardship - Church Speed Dating

October 31st 2017 I moved back to Richmond after about 25 years away and found myself settled into the Fan. Though a vastly different city than I remembered; I was fortunate to still have some family friends here but looking to grow additional roots and a support network; I was looking for a new Episcopal church in Richmond. Shouldn’t be too hard until you realize there are 19 Episcopal churches with a Richmond Address. Only 19.
So I had in mind this approach of “church speed dating” and a quick google search pulled 4 Episcopal churches within walking distance of my apartment. I figured I’d start with the closest and December 3rd 2017 I walked through those red doors for the first time. After the service Father David said hello and invited me to a new members dinner at his house a few days later. So I’m on my first date with St Marks and already getting a second dinner date invitation at the priests house! Smooth move Father David, Smooth move. So blind faith I went over to his house that evening (Paul Shane was there) and the warm hospitality and inclusiveness I felt was so special; I realized that this was going to be my first and last speed date. And in the four years since, not only have I gained a church family; had Sarah officiate our wedding last year but found a home through those red doors that have become our doors.
Everyone that walks through our red doors is greeted and made to feel like family. And nobody does a social hour, sorry I mean “the peace” like St Marks ok. It can be a bit overwhelming your first service but quickly becomes the thing I know I look forward to every Sunday. 
Inclusiveness: St Marks’s is hands down the most diverse and accepting congregation in the city of Richmond. The differences that divide the outside world are invisible through our red doors. And through our red doors you’ll find the kindness, love and support no matter who you are and where you come from.
Spiritual Connection: I found myself placing a higher priority on spiritual guidance and wanting that deeper relationship with God when I moved back to Richmond. At St Marks I found that connection through the collective clergy, their approachable personalities and the way they shared the gospel and message each Sunday that kept you paying attention (Which if you ask my wife is a huge win; she’ll tell you I have the attention span of a toddler) so go figure. 
Outreach & Ministry: As an inner-city congregation, we sit on the front lines of this community; giving back to those outside our red doors. And I think its important to note the additional responsibility we have as an inner-city church. We answer the call to those who need it most in this city. I’ve been part of several (suburban) Episcopal churches that financially fund many worthy causes and programs. But anyone can write a check and I always felt a disconnect without the personal goodwill gained by volunteering. St Marks does this this better than anyone else hands down. The countless service hours we provide to support programs like CARITAS, Food Pantry or ACTS – getting involved and participating will nourish your soul greater than a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Soup ever will. 
So Why St Marks? Through our red doors is Hospitality, through our red doors is Family, through our red doors is Inclusiveness, Outreach, Spiritual Connection; God’s Peace - that’s what makes St Marks so much more than 4 walls and a new roof. Its our home 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And after 18 months away, it feels absolutely wonderful to be back home.

by Mike Evranian  | 

Stewardship - Our Love for God

Stewardship Month: October 17th 2021 - Tara Peyton-Burgess


          Good morning! My name is Tara Peyton-Burgess.

I was so excited when Howard Pugh called and asked me if I’d share my

story about what brought me to St. Mark’s. I have shared my love of this

church with my family and many friends, and I am grateful to be

standing here to share it with each of you.


When we moved to the Museum District five years ago, one of my

priorities was to find an Episcopal church to attend. My family and I

were members of Christ and Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg for

20 years. While it was difficult to change our membership, my mission

was to find a church close to our new home.


The first service I attended was at an Episcopal church where the

Rector of Christ and Grace had been a former Assistant Rector. This

church had a very large congregation, and I just felt lost. I knew I’d have

to seek out small group activities to become a part of things. While the

church itself and the music were beautiful, I didn’t feel it was a good fit.

The following Sunday I decided to attend St. Mark’s. I remember it

being a beautiful morning, so I walked from our house. As I made my

way through the parking lot, at least 5 people greeted me, before I’d

even stepped through the front doors. Upon entering, I observed lots of

conversation amongst the parishioners, which was something I was not

accustomed to seeing take place prior to the service. I loved seeing this

interaction and witnessed it again during the 5 minute Peace.

Something that was definitely a first for me!


As I sat down before the service began, I started reading the mission

statement “Love is Our Tradition” that was printed on the front of the



Three of the parts aligned with most church’s beliefs:

To love God

To serve the community and

to love your faith.

It was the fourth one that jumped out at me:

Our love for God compels us to love and welcome others with open

arms ----- regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or social



As I read these words, I knew God had led me to the right place.

Growing up in many different churches, I had never seen the words

actually written in a bulletin of how Jesus wants us to treat one

another. I was ELATED!


I continue to share my joy of being a member of St. Mark’s with my

friends and family. I’ve posted my feelings several times on Facebook. I

scrolled back yesterday and found a post from August of 2017. I had

made a collage with a photo of the church’s steeple, our flag which

states, “Love is Our Tradition”, a photo of two children of different

races loving one another and the fourth part of our mission statement

that I read earlier.


These are the hash tags that were under my collage:

#lovenothate #weareallGodschildren #loveourchurch

#keepingthefaithinhumanity #beautifulviewonmywalk


I am so blessed to be a member of Saint Mark’s. How awesome is it to

attend a church that loves and accepts EVERYONE. Thank you for

listening to my story. May God bless each of you.


by Tara Peyton Burgess  | 

Stewardship - What St. Mark's Means to Me

Stewardship Month: October 10th 2021 - Ryn Kennedy


Why did you join St. Mark’s? Why have you continued as an active member?


          When I graduated from college I had a very tattered relationship with God, not only was I struggling in my adolescence with my identity, but my father began to develop parkinsons, and so rarely would I pray unless in dire need of a miracle and after highschool I would tentatively attend the late Christmas eve service at the Church in which I was raised. 


          And at some point I entered into a questioning period, wondering if I was truly loved by God, because I had felt so unloved by the world around me, like an outcast. I was a angry queer transgender adolescent, searching for my own sense of self and I was drinking from fountains that could never end my thirst.


 I would quietly test and probe the limits of this lifetime and God searching for answers without even understanding the questions, and then about four years ago a personal tragedy occurred and I felt shattered. I needed God, completely needed God, and so I called out, and he answered in the form of the young woman I was dating at the time. She invited me here to a church she had felt welcomed in.


          I had never been to a service like this one before, I had always attended a very contemporary service with a praise band and certainly never a kneeler or a pew. Even with a few first lound clangs of the kneeler, I felt like I had found a place I could praise and worship the God I had come to rely on and walk with. 


          And it is that simple for me, I was welcomed in.


I continue here at St. Mark’s because I feel as though we are called to open these doors and welcome all who are seeking to love and be loved by God.      

by Ryn Kennedy  |