Our Story

Throughout St. Mark’s nearly seventy-year history, God has richly graced our congregation with His guidance, His plans to establish a Christian ministry in the Sunnyvale community.  A brief history of St. Mark follows:

In 1947, Mel Highstreet asked our District leaders to explore the idea to start a mission in the Sunnyvale area, as there were no Lutheran congregations between Palo Alto and San Jose. As a result, Rev. Robert Visser, a St. Louis seminary graduate, was called to perform the groundwork to establish the church.

Initially, worship and Sunday School were held in the old Sunnyvale City Hall which was located where the Sunnyvale Town Center is today.

In October 1949, St. Mark Lutheran Church was organized and became a member of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, comprised of fifty-three communicant members and forty children. Five months later, twenty communicants were received into membership.

In 1950 the present site at Arques and Sunnyvale avenues was purchased and the parish hall was built. The hall provided a location for the worship services, Sunday School and all other church activities. In 1958, two classrooms were built and a Christian day school established, with the initial principal being Mr. Karl Ohlman. In 1967, the present sanctuary and office wing were built.

In 1968 St. Mark, Trinity in San Jose and Our Savior in Cupertino combined their resources to form the Santa Clara Valley Lutheran School, which lasted until 1985. Several teachers from those years are still members at St. Mark, including, former pastor Rod Hall, Debby Amick and Connie Osborne.

Although St. Mark has undergone several renovations over the years, the facility remains as completed in 1967, serving thousands over the years in the many programs it has provided, including the noted school, Vacation Bible School and many others.

Throughout these many years, we give thanks for all that God has provided and we look forward to His continuing plans and challenges for St. Mark. In His Name we serve.

Called Pastors at St. Mark

Robert Visser: 1949 to 1961
Herbert Bartz: 1962 to February 1986 (retirement)
Paul Krumm: December 1986 to October 1991
Ethan Voges: April 1993 to November 1997
Rodney Hall: June 1998 to June 2015 (retirement)
Nick Shults: June 2017 to present