St. Mark’s Lutheran

St Marks

I was sad to hear St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Provo has closed. Or, not exactly closed but the property is sold, there are houses where the church used to be, and the congregation is now meeting at some event center up north.

A casualty of being a religious minority in Utah Valley.

This was the church where my sisters Evonne and Linda got married, where their children and grandchildren were baptized, the church Evonne attended her whole adult life, where she belonged to Altar Guild, and where she taught Vacation Bible School.

The pastor I remember is Bruce Jeske. I’m godfather to my two nephews, so I had to meet with him before their baptisms. My sisters liked him but he came across to me as adversarial. Maybe because by then I was Episcopalian rather than Lutheran. When you’re a minority you probably don’t like defections.

Then too, St. Mark’s was Missouri Synod. We had a whole history of not being Missouri Synod. Too conservative.

We were Augustana Synod in Brigham City, Utah. They were the Swedish church. Then they joined with other churches to form the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1962. In Las Vegas we had to drive across town to an LCA church even though an American Lutheran Church (ALC) church was closer. But in Grand Junction we had to go to an ALC church because that was the only choice. That’s where I was confirmed.

The particular flavor of Lutheran mattered because my (step) dad was a Freemason. The more conservative kinds of Lutheran didn’t allow that.

Back in Utah, in Orem-Provo the only choice was Missouri Synod. Even more conservative. They went their own way even after the 1988 merger of the ALC and LCA into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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