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St. Mark’s Lutheran Sets Last Service

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Leaders of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, which is down to fewer than 60 aging members, decided more than a year ago to close its doors with dignity and give the bulk of its assets to a fledgling church St. Mark’s helped to start in the Santa Clarita Valley seven years ago.

At 3 p.m. June 28, after nearly 50 years in existence, St. Mark’s will hold a final service in its church at the corner of 5th Street and Hubbard Avenue.

“Oftentimes, when a church closes, it’s after a long period of denial,” said the Rev. Mary E. Jensen, pastor of the Church of Hope, St. Mark’s offshoot. “Sometimes a dying church uses up its assets, then leaves its diocese or synod to take care of the problem.”

But Jensen said St. Mark’s gave a “substantial interest-free loan” in 1991 to the Church of Hope, which worships in rented quarters in Soledad Shopping Center in Canyon Country.

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Both congregations are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.

About a year and a half ago, the San Fernando church renewed contacts with the now 216-member congregation about 15 miles to the north.

Facilitating their partnership is the link between the pastors at the two churches: The interim part-time pastor of St. Mark’s for nearly three years has been the Rev. Andrew G. Jensen, husband of the pastor at the Church of Hope.

Andrew Jensen also works for California Lutheran Homes, but will join the Church of Hope staff along with the San Fernando church’s music director and custodian.

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Mary Jensen said the Church of Hope will hold a welcoming service July 5 for any members of St. Mark’s who wish to join the Canyon Country congregation.

St. Mark’s one-story church is being purchased, for an undisclosed amount, by the Ancient Church of the East, Mar Shaleeta Assyrian Parish, a congregation that has been meeting in rented facilities in Granada Hills, Wilson said.


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