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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.

Our Team
Our Volunteers

Our Team


Cindy (she/her) was installed as Rector of St. Mark's and St. John's in 2008. In addition to serving as our Rector, Cindy is also the Assistant Professor of Public Theology & Eco-Justice in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Professorship and Director of the Program for Anglican Studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Cindy received her Ph.D. in Theology and History from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Virginia. 

The Rev'd Cindy Rasmussen, Ph.D.



Maria Hartz, M.Div.

Maria (she/they) has been serving as the Operations and Missions Director since July 2022. After working in the secular non-profit world for several years, Maria’s passions for mission and service were waiting to be intertwined with her faith. Past experiences in children/youth ministry and faith development led her to follow God’s call to pursue seminary and ordained ministry. Maria holds a Master of Divinity from Northeastern Seminary and is completing a Certificate in Anglican Studies from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. Maria also holds two Bachelor’s Degrees in Missions and Ministry (University of the Cumberlands) and Spanish (The College of Saint Rose). Maria continues to walk through the process towards ordination to the Priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester. 

Operations and Missions Director


Andy is a multi instrumentalist and vocalist from Oakfield, New York who has been with St. Mark's and St. John's since 2019. Before ministering here, he was previously a worship leader at Elba Baptist Church, Cornerstone Church, and The City Church in Batavia. He has played piano for 25 years and attended Roberts Wesleyan College where he studied under Dr. Michael Landrum. He owns and operates his own private music studio where he teaches piano, voice, guitar and drum lessons. Music plays a big part of our connection to God, and Andy is a firm believer in that connection. 

Andrew Lacey



Robert Thornton

Audio and Video Producer


The Rev'd Julie Cicora

Retired Priest Associate


The Rev'd Mike Finn

Clergy Emertius 



Heather Gilfoy
Robert Caruso

Ginnie Schindler 

Nancy Willer

Ella Gruel
Theresa Harte

Nancy Ramsay


Sharon Kowalski

Walt Snyder

 Core Volunteers 

EDEN Garden Captains

Mary Ellen Forzst 

The Rev'd Mike Finn

Rebecca Taylor

Deb Snyder

Food Bagging

Farm Stand

Food Shelf

Linda Casolari

Mary Ellen Forszt

Sharon Kowalski

Joe Casper

The Rev'd Mike Finn

Nancy Ramsay

Nancy Ramsay

Joseph Casper

The Rev'd Mike Finn

Mary Ellen Forszt

Sharon Kowalski

Jane Munt

Ella Gruel

St. Thomas' Episcopal Church

Terri Censak

Linda Casolari

Mary Estey

The Rev'd Mike Finn

Michele Holmes
Ginnie Schindler

Deb & Walt Snyder

Who We Are

Our Statement of Faith

What We Stand For

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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Our Guiding Values


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


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


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


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

Our Partners

Our Partners

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

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