In January 1998, Pastor Ekdale began as one of St. Mark’s Co-Pastors. She had previously served at St. Peter’s in Huntington Station, New York and in the Oregon Synod. She has been ordained into Word and Sacrament ministry for 26 years! On January 26, 2003, the congregation affirmed her call as Lead Pastor of St. Mark’s. Having grown up in the Bay Area, she finds it a delight and privilege to serve a congregation in San Francisco.
Her ministry passions include team ministry, public ministry, social ministry, pastoral care, worship and preaching. Her ministry beyond St. Mark’s has included serving on the Boards of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the San Francisco Interfaith Council. She is also active in the Bay Area Organizing Committee, a broad-based organizing group in San Francisco, Napa, and Marin counties. She was elected to serve on the ELCA Church Council in 2011 and also serves on the ELCA Campaign – “Always Being Made New” – steering committee.
Pastor Ekdale enjoys outdoor activities on her days off. She has run one marathon and climbed Mt. Rainier. She loves snow skiing, biking, gardening and running. She grew up in Menlo Park, California and met her spouse in seminary. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in 1987 with her Master of Divinity. Pastor Hoch, her spouse, currently serves as the Protestant Chaplain at Napa State Hospital. They live in San Francisco with their 11 year old daughter Grace and you can frequently find all three of them working out at the Stonestown YMCA.
Timothy Zerlang joined the staff of St. Mark's on September 1, 2009. He writes: "I am excited to be a part the song of the people of Saint Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco. I knew of St. Mark's reputation for musical excellence while I served at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, just a few miles down the San Francisco peninsula. I enjoyed worshiping in St. Mark's beautiful sanctuary occasionally, and hearing the wonderful Taylor and Boody organ. I am thrilled that I now get to contribute to this legacy. The Taylor and Boody organ is a particular thrill for me to play because of its beautiful sound, mechanical finesse, and marvelous craftsmanship. Those qualities allow the organ to address the musical literature of our Lutheran tradition with incredible integrity. I specialized in keyboard performance practices while a grad student, and I learn something new about playing the organ every time I sit down to play this wonderful instrument."
In addition to the position at St. Mark's, Dr. Zerlang also teaches piano and carillon at Stanford University and serves as the University Carillonneur. He also maintains a private piano and organ studio. He shares his home in Mountain View with his spouse, John Hess, who is Director of Music at Almaden Hills United Methodist Church in San José. In his spare time he likes to cook, tend his orchids, and knit.
Rev. Tita Valeriano was born and raised in the Philippines, a third-generation Lutheran. The youngest of twelve children, she earned two bachelor’s degrees in accounting and church music (focusing on contextualization of liturgy and music in Asia and other parts of the world) from the Philippines. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in 1998. She has served in various ministries of the church, as parish pastor, campus ministry pastor, mission development explorer, and the Lutheran World Federation’s Youth/Young Adult Executive Secretary and Regional Officer for North America. Her ministry has focused on nurturing multicultural, missional church that invites and includes youth and young adults, people of color, and those at the margins of the society. She is also very involved in justice-oriented and advocacy ministries in the community especially on immigration, economic justice, homelessness, LGBTQ and worker’s rights. She is also interested in pos-colonial theology and practice. Traveling in different parts of the world, she has learned from and worked with passionate young people and church leaders on global issues such as HIV/AIDS, war and conflict, interfaith relations, and socio-economic justice. Aside from music, liturgy and advocacy, her other passions that inspire and gives her joy her are traveling and meeting people from various cultures, photography, and practicing her international cooking with gathered friends in her home with her spouse, Jennifer and Taal, their toddler son.
Stefani Lawrence creates all St. Mark's print and online publications, and maintains the St. Mark's and Martin Luther Tower websites and social media outlets. Stefani brings a strong background in fine arts and graphics to St. Mark's, with a MA in Visual Animation and 3D Effects. She freelances as a visual effects artist. Stefani lives in Alameda with her dog Sofie and is constantly engaged with new art projects, and is learning how to knit.
J. Jeff Badger is responsible for calendaring all events at St. Mark's Lutheran Church and the Urban Life Center, as well as handling all wedding, concert, and other event inquiries. "J. Jeff," as he is mostly known, has a rich and varied background in performing arts administration and management. In addition to his position with St. Mark's he also serves as the Executive Director for San Francisco Renaissance Voices, the Bay Area's only professional mixed-voice ensemble dedicated to the a cappella music of the Renaissance. He managed the independent concert series, Seventh Avenue Performances for ten years and served as Director for The SACAS (The Seventh Avenue Center for the Arts and Spirituality) for Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church. He has held positions with San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and American Bach Soloists. A talented baritone himself, he sings with San Francisco Renaissance Voices and has performed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Carmel Bach Festival, California Bach Society, and the Kronos Quartet among others.
The Rev. Charles H. Lewis was ordained on December 17, 1961. His ordained ministry started at Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Plaines, IL, where he served as Assistant Pastor. After relocating to San Francisco, he served the North Beach Fellowship as Mission Developer and Minister. Later, he served the San Francisco Night Ministry as an Assistant Night Minister and then as the Night Minister. Retired since 1996, Pastor Lewis continues his faithful ministry by volunteering with the Night Ministry and serving as St. Mark’s Visitation Pastor.
Carl is a native San Franciscan and graduate from local SF schools. He has worked at St. Mark’s for 12 years.
When he is not serving on Sunday mornings, he enjoys all sports and recently took up golf. His “best days” are enjoyed with his son and grandsons.