St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by The Narrows is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Faithful and hopeful followers of Christ founded St. Mark’s in 1954 in order to provide a place of worship and witness for people who were settling in the north end of Tacoma.
Over the years, the community has changed and the congregation has grown, but our commitment to being “a people and a place for God’s grace” has always stayed the same. The last two decades have been marked by significant growth in membership and in ministry to the world around us. We have greatly expanded our facilities in order to keep pace with the work God is doing among us, and our programs of outreach to the community and the world have led us into a deeper understanding of our mission.
We are a welcoming community that allows each person to share their gifts and their unique perspectives in a safe and affirming environment. As a whole congregation, we are very diverse in how we express our faith, how we read the Bible, how we vote, and how we address important social issues, but we strive to live together in ways that show respect and love to all people and we remember that it is Jesus Christ who binds us together as one and reconciles us with God and with the whole creation.
Another important part of our story is the way that we have become an inter-generational community that connects people of all ages in worship and mission throughout the year. Good examples of that are our Wednesday “Church Night” when everyone from babies to senior citizens gather for music, learning, serving, worshiping, and eating together, and our yearly mission trip to Mexico, where every decade of life between teenagers and people in their eighties is represented on the team that serves.
In recent years, our music programs at St. Mark’s have also developed a strong reputation in the community. Led by music directors who engage people of every age group in service together, we enjoy rich and diverse music that reflects the many gifts of our members. This is most evident in worship every week, when vocal and instrumental groups lead us in giving praise to God.
With three staff members who focus attention on ministry with children and youth, along with a caring and experienced Preschool Staff, St. Mark’s a great place for young people to be nurtured and supported in their journey of faith. We see ministry with children and youth as the vocation of the whole congregation, and that is just as evident at the Sunday morning Coffee Hour as it is in the Sunday School classrooms.
From the beginning, the story of St. Mark’s is also one that includes a passionate commitment to peace and justice in both the local and global community. Whether it is serving meals at a local shelter, hosting homeless families in our church and providing food for their children, supporting incarcerated people, or serving the needs of the poor in other countries of the world, we see this as the mission of Jesus Christ that has been given to all those who follow him in faith.