Thoughts on stewardship by Gail Grant

Gail Grant has been a member of St. Mark’s and singing in the choir since 1988.  She is the leader/co-leader of many musical and outreach activities:  St. Mark’s Family Choir (glgc.com/smfc/), St. Mark’s Daily Prayers (with Romaine Kang), and the singing of Christmas Carols at the VA Hospital on Christmas Mornings (give4good.net).  She also created and runs the Bright Lights program for children which has been visiting Palo Alto sub-acute care homes to sing gons and pass out crafts the kids make since December, 2002.

Gail has been very active in the local Acro community and is keeping active during the pandemic with daily 4 to 5 miles walk/jogs and daily PureBarre Palo Alto classes (mostly online).  She also leads a small group of choir members who sing hymns in the park weekly.

All of St. Mark’s activities have fed me and helped me to heal from the severe bullying I experienced most of my school years until college.  I still suffer from its effects, but have made great progress thanks to many loving and kind people at St. Mark’s.  God has blessed me in so many ways, even when I wasn’t being very faithful.

I am eternally grateful that God has never given up on me.  I was and am a handful!  I was raised in the Methodist church in Alabama, but wasn’t interested in making a spiritual commitment.  I developed a close relationship with our Lord when I was in high school through Young Life, but many situations over the years pulled me away from my faith.  Our Lord has always brought me back. 

For example, college was non-negotiable in my family so I went, and I graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Religion in 1975.  Not knowing what to do next, I followed some of my friends to Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary – a good reason to go to seminary, right?  After a few years, it became apparent that I had no calling to the ministry.  I wanted to serve God, but didn’t see a path.  I left seminary to coach high school gymnastics.  That didn’t seem right either.  I was attending a church in Hamilton, MA and sang in the choir but it seemed to be more about music than faith.  I prayed that God would send a job my way.  Through a serious of virtually miraculous events, and with the help of a friend at church who worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital, I ended up with a job in cardiac research – my only qualification being one course in Fortran, the programming language in use at the time. 

I moved to California in 1989 and tried going to St. Mark’s, but the interim pastor at the time wasn’t quite right for me.  I attended another local church, and felt hope and was growing.  Then my world was turned upside when my father died very unexpectedly.  I learned that my family had known he was dying but hadn’t told me.  I was mad at my family, mad at God, and was just done.  I stopped going to church.

It took another death to bring me back to the church and to God.  A tragic accident while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef shook me deeply, and I decided to give St. Mark’s another try.  This time, I found a home.  I joined St. Mark’s in August, 1988, and have been blessed with 22 years as a part of this wonderful community.

I will always be grateful for the love, meaningful activities, and friends I have found at St. Mark’s. They are like family to me.  I try to pledge as much as I can to support St. Mark’s each year.  It is the least I can do after St. Mark’s has given so much to me.