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About Us

St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church (SMSJ) is a mission-driven spiritual home located in the Beechwood neighborhood of Rochester, NY. 

Who We Are -- An Invitation

Who We Are -- An Invitation

In 2012 the people of SMSJ took a risk by building twelve 8'x4' raised garden beds next to the church hoping we would be able to grow some vegetables for the neighborhood. We could have never imagined that leap of faith would have resulted in a cascading number of events that opened our hearts, minds, spirits and hands. Our story is a story of resurrection and hope. We are a traditional church in that we offer some of the same opportunities to connect to God through worship, prayer, and fellowship. We are different from your grandparent's church because we are deeply committed to being transformative agents of change in our neighborhood through service.

 
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The Church

Our church is so much more than just a place for worship! In addition to the sanctuary, accessible by our front doors, we have many community spaces including an industrial kitchen, classrooms, and a food pantry. Access to our food pantry and kitchen can be found on Rosewood Terrace. Access our administrative offices and classrooms can be found at the back of the church garden on Culver Road.

The Gardens

We currently operate seven different community gardens throughout the Beechwood neighborhood! To find out more about their locations, check our garden page.

Parking

The church does not have a dedicated parking lot but there is ample street parking on Rosewood Terrace and Culver Road. Please make sure to read the street parking signs to ensure you are parked on the correct side of the street.

 

Our Statement of Faith

Our Team

 Staff Members 

The Rev'd
Cindy Rasmussen, Ph.D.

Rector

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Andrew Lacey

Music Director

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The Rev'd 
Mike Finn

Deacon

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Hannah Zuegel

Administrative Assistant

The Rev'd
Julie Cicora

Retired Priest Associate

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Ja'Vyon Winston

Service Learning Intern

Chloe Louthan-Green

AmeriCorps VISTA
Rochester Youth Year Fellow

 Vestry 

Wardens

Sharon Kowalski

Terri Censak
 

Members

Tom Flood
Walt Snyder

Paula Valeri
LaVonne Nelson

Michele Holmes

Paulette Mosley

 Core Volunteers 

EDEN Garden Captains

Mary Ellen Forzst 

Mary Estey

Melanie Popick

Judy White

Deacon Mike Finn

Aisha DaCosta

Becky Efigenio

Deb Snyder

Nick Greco

Chloe Louthan-Green

Food Bagging

Farm Stand

Food Shelf

Linda Casolari

Mary Ellen Forszt

Sharon Kowalski

Paula Valeri
Bob Valeri

Mary Ann Brody

Nancy Ramsay

Joseph Casper

The Rev'd Mike Finn

Mary Ellen Forszt

Sharon Kowalski

Jesse Peers & Family

Terri Censak

Linda Casolari

Mary Estey

Deacon Mike Finn

Michele Holmes

Mary Keller

April Laskey
Ginnie Schindler

Deb & Walt Snyder

What We Stand For

Our Values

Access

We believe that no one should be denied access to necessary health services because of location or inability to pay

Faith

We believe Jesus calls on us to accompany our neighbors, especially those who live in extreme poverty

Impact

We believe in regular evaluation and quality improvement so that we are always adjusting to and meeting the needs of our neighbors

Inclusion

We are committed to serving all members of the Beechwood neighborhood regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability status

Community Engagement

We believe in working with our community to foster neighborhood growth and supporting local leaders in affecting positive change

Health Equity

We are committed to providing quality, culturally-responsive health care programs and education that help address the public health issues of racial injustice and health inequity

St. Mark’s and St. John’s (SMSJ) is a center for mission where everyone is embraced exactly as they are. Together we share God's love by living out a Benedictine Spirituality where we work with, listen to and love all those we encounter. 

We are committed to accompanying our neighbors, especially those living in extreme poverty, because we believe that's what Jesus would do.  

 

We pray for humility recognizing that "church" has not always been a safe and healing place for people over the past 125+ years of our history particularly for people of color, those in the LGBTQ+ community and women. And for this we earnestly pray for forgiveness. 

 

If you are looking to be part of a community that's eager to love, that will challenge you, and pray with and for you, come check us out!

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The work we do at SMSJ would not be possible without all of our partnerships,
formal and informal.

If you are interested in partnering with us, please send an email to stmarksandstjohns@gmail.com

Our Partners