Below are excerpts of a letter published in the January-February 2010 newsletter of St. Mark’s Church. It is written by Curt Welty, president of the St. Mark’s Consistory. He has given us permission to post his letter here. Rejoice with us over what God is doing among us.
A great deal has happened since the last newsletter came out. The consistory and the congregation have had honest discussions and meetings about the future of St. Mark’s…We had talked about the possibility of selling the property and moving to rebuild our congregation. Most of the consistory feels that this is not an option since all we would be doing is to prolong our death as a church…So this comes down to what can we do from here?
In some honest discussions with each other and with Pastor Thomas we have moved in the direction of transferring the property over to Seven Mile Road in late Spring or early Summer. We have a lot of details and a lot more discussions among ourselves, Seven Mile Road, and legal representatives to find out what and how to do all of this. This was not an easy decision for any of us. It was not an easy thing to admit as president and the voice of the congregation that the end of our life as a congregation will most likely be over soon. God can work a miracle somehow, someway to keep us alive as a congregation but I feel that God has given us a way to move on with dignity and with a sense of victory. In this decision to allow St. Mark’s to fade and die a dignified death and allow Seven Mile Road to take our legacy on as a gospel centered and missional church, can allow us to be faithful in taking of our gift of property and ministry that God has given us for 130 some years. The doors of Seven Mile Road would be open to any of us who would want to share our faith, experience, passion and compassion with a younger, energetic and missional church.
I understand that Seven Mile Road and I are asking a lot of St. Mark’s in giving up everything we have worked on over the decades here and are not receiving much in return. What I am seeing here is a chance for a young church that is focused on missional work, on reaching out to the community that surrounds us, to focus on being the voice, and hands and feet of God in this section of Philadelphia. We have a chance to pass on our legacy of compassion and faithfulness in thick and thin to this young and inexperienced church. Even as we dwindled in size and finances, we have continued to reach out in compassion and faithfulness to help those who need help nearby or across the globe. Yes, we could do an incredible amount of good by selling the property and giving the proceeds away, but we can also do an incredible amount of good by allowing Seven Mile Road to continue their ministry and by extension, our ministry here at 525 Welsh Road. May we trust God for everything in this time of change. Let us continue to pray and to be open to the paths that God has laid before us.
Your consistory president,