At the heart of our Baptismal Covenant are the promises we make to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being (Book of Common Prayer, 305). These promises, which are central to St. Mark’s Core Vocation, compel us into the service of those who are most vulnerable in our society.
This kind of outreach includes the generous financial giving of our members, but also challenges us to connect our own talents, passions, and resources with God’s dreams for our community as we serve among and build relationships with those most marginalized.
The Bread of Life Grant
The Bread of Life Grant offers the St. Mark’s community three years to engage and build relationships with a specific organization and their work in the city for a grant totaling $60,000. This takes our outreach to another level, providing the inroads for us to make a deep impact. We are now in the third year of our partnership with Communities in Schools, San Antonio (CIS-SA) at Crockett Academy.
Crockett was a high at-risk school until CIS-SA was brought in by the State of Texas five years ago. Some 46% of the students are classified as “at-risk”, and 186 CIS-SA cases are currently being managed in K-5th grade. CIS-SA focuses primarily on the non-academic (social) needs of students, many of whom are being raised by single parents or grandparents.
Crockett Academy’s proximity to St. Mark’s makes it a ready partner for collaboration (just two miles away). There are opportunities to serve at one-time events like the school’s festivals, holiday collections, career days, and the ever-popular Love to Read Day. You might be drawn also to an ongoing relationship by serving as a mentor for a student.
Look for these and many other opportunities as they are announced throughout the year.
Core Vocation Grants
The Core Vocation Grants are smaller, one-year grants dispersed to multiple entities. A total of $40,000 was awarded to 15 organizations for the 2019 grant cycle in which the committee focused on programs or projects aimed at the third arm of St. Mark’s Core Vocation - “Feeding those hungry for beauty and creativity.” These recipients are listed on the side. These grants will provide our community with multiple volunteer opportunities over the next year.
There are many opportunities to respond compassionately to the changing needs of persons who find themselves in San Antonio as they seek refuge from untenable circumstances in their places of origin. Details of current ways to help can be found on our Migrant Ministry page.
Haven for Hope Volunteer Network
There are one-time and recurring ways to participate in caring for our homeless neighbors through Haven for Hope.
The Monthly Kitchen Service at Haven for Hope ministry provides on-site meal preparation and service for the two dining halls at Haven, the San Antonio Food Bank (main campus) and St. Vincent de Paul (Courtyard).
The Monthly Kitchen Ministry at St. Mark’s prepares main course dishes to be delivered and served at Haven for Hope.
The Book Fair in the Courtyard includes a book drive and much-anticipated annual book fair for Haven for Hope residents.
Many look forward to the chance to be part of the Christmas to the Street BBQ Dinner (see below).
Christmas to the Street
This youth-driven outreach project comprises a weekend of lovingly-prepared BBQ lunch served to the hungry in our community. There are opportunities to join in the prep work, serving event, and cleanup. The project also includes a Saturday offering in which the BBQ is served at Haven for Hope’s St. Vinny’s Kitchen.
Because of our proximity to the Greyhound Bus Station, St. Mark’s has found a natural fit as a resource for people who need assistance to travel to a safe or more productive location. Persons referred through agencies like Haven for Hope, and those who walk in seeking assistance receive a hospitable welcome and pastoral conversation.
Day of Prayer and Service
During Lent, we will observe our 4th annual Day of Prayer and Service. Parishioners will be sent out from Sunday morning worship to projects across the city, including many of our grant recipients and long-term partners listed. There are several kid - or youth - friendly service opportunities. Many families look forward to this chance to serve together. Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 29.
Additionally, St. Mark’s provides funding to several organizations with whom we have historical ties. These ongoing partnerships provide opportunities to collaborate and serve across our city and beyond: Christian Assistance Ministries (CAM), Diocese of West Texas Support, Good Samaritan Community Services, Haven for Hope, Morningside Ministries, SAMMinistries, and St. Paul’s Montessori School.
St. Mark’s and its lay and clergy community members are involved in numerous organizations across the city. Participation in groups like the Interfaith San Antonio Alliance and the Downtown Convening Group help us to partner readily with other faith communities to make a difference in our neighborhood. We work with the City of San Antonio’s Faith-Based Initiative to collaborate on various projects of goodwill, and are searchable in the San Antonio Community Resource Directory (SACRD).
The Right Gift at the Right Time
The nature of serving others is adaptive and responsive; needs change over time and as circumstances vary. Ministries naturally emerge and shift. The weekly e-News is an up-to-date source of information on opportunities to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us.
There is a place and a need for the gifts of all in the St. Mark’s community. The principles of our Core Vocation guide us in offering our service to others in the name of Christ in a variety of ways.
Interested in Learning More?
Email Shea Pollom at for more information about any of the information above or to receive emails about Outreach opportunities as they arise.