The Rev. Dr. Timothy McKenzie has served as Senior Pastor of St. Mark’s since February 2019. Raised in a Lutheran parsonage, he graduated from a Jesuit preparatory school, from Augustana College, and from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Pastor Tim served as a Lutheran missionary in Japan for 28 years, working in parish ministry, church administration, and theological education.
Tim holds a Ph.D. in Historical Theology, and was a tenured professor at Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary and Japan Lutheran College in Tokyo. His international experience with interfaith, interreligious, and ecumenical relationships has shaped his appreciation of culture, language, and spirituality in the human journey. Tim believes all people of every ethnicity, nation, gender, and social background have gifts to share in the body of Christ at St. Mark’s.
Pastor Tim appreciates working with and learning from St. Mark’s many ministries, members, and friends. He believes daily prayer is a powerful resource for thriving in life. He enjoys meeting new people, cooking Asian food, and cycling. Pastor Tim feels very blessed to be at St. Mark’s, where all people are welcome!
Les Ackerman began his tenure as Director of Music Ministry and Organist at St. Mark’s in 2010. He has served churches as full-time music director in California, Texas and North Carolina. Les holds degrees in Church Music and Organ Performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ., and both a Masters of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, and a Master of Music in Organ Performance from Meadows School of the Arts, both at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Alex English has served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry at St. Mark’s since 2011. Prior to coming at St. Mark’s, he served for four years in a similar position at Goldston United Methodist Church in Goldston, N.C.
One of his focuses at St. Mark’s is fostering a culture of friendship between young people, their parents, and between young people and caring Christian mentors. This is accomplished through service activities, Sunday School, spiritual retreats, mission trips, and fun social activities. Another focus of the youth ministry is getting youth involved in worship services as acolytes, prayer assistants, lectors, ushers, and sound system operators. Our young people are are equal parts of the priesthood of believers, and our work is to train them to be lifelong Christians.
Alex graduated from Emory & Henry College in 2007 with a degree in religion, and he attended Duke Divinity School to earn a Master of Theological Studies degree in 2011. He is currently working toward completing a Master of Arts in Counseling at UNCC. Alex likes to spend as much time as possible with his wife and daughters. He also enjoys reading and rooting for Duke athletics.
Sue Wadgymar was raised in Minnesota and attended Gustavus Adophus College, completing coursework towards a BSc in Medical Technology. She took a break from working to raise her family in Texas. She then began a 16-year career at an ELCA church in McAllen as office manager and financial administrator, building the skills and experience that are valuable for her role at St. Mark’s. She was also Border Area Mission Ministries Coordinator, managing lodging arrangements at Our Savior’s Living Faith Center for volunteer groups from around the country to work on projects in the border area. Sue moved to North Carolina in 2019 to be near her daughter’s family, and to enjoy her two small grandsons.
Before joining the team at St. Mark’s, Sandy served as the Financial Director of WaterLife Church in Lenoir, NC and as bookkeeper for First Baptist Church of Valdese, NC. Sandy has a bachelors in Social Science from Gardner Webb University, and an Associates in Broadcasting from Delta College. She enjoys every opportunity to spend time with her two adult children, both serving in the military. When she is not assistant coaching alongside her husband, Sonni, for the Queens University Triathlon team, she takes great pleasure in riding her mountain bike, and doing crossfit.