What is Cathedral Church of St. Mark?

If you are passing by and feel intimidated or angry because of religion, please know that there is immunity granted when you enter Cathedral Church of St. Mark. Immunity from the ravages of religion and misuse of Divine revelation. We live in a time of religious zealots, abortion clinic bombings, and TV evangelists attempting to take power in our land. How do you find persuasiveness rather than coercion and will-to-dominate in religion? An answer is Cathedral Church of St. Mark. Here operates an unconditional surrender to the freedom of God to speak to whomever in whatever language is understandable to you. Immunity from religious control is granted you upon entry. Cathedral Church of St. Mark offers sanctuary to everyone and promises this glorious freedom of God as the climate to explore the healthiest living that religion affords.

If you are passing by and feel that life is fragmenting into a vast number of irreconcilable, shattered pieces, then please know that Cathedral Church of St. Mark holds an outrageous hope that, in God alone, all aspects of life are in unity. We believe that God is the Alpha, the beginning and that God is the Omega, the ending of all things. So we are called to extravagant hospitality in the confidence that a gracious welcome is central to a cathedral’s purpose. And yes, we are part of a specific religious tradition. We are so, not because one religious tradition exclusively contains all truth, but because when one goes on a long journey toward ultimate unity, one has to depart from one specific place. Cathedral Church of St. Mark, Episcopal Diocese of Utah, is our point of departure. And our companion and ultimate confidence in the journey is Jesus Christ. We believe Him to be the clear manifestation of God’s love for the whole world and the expression that all of our lives are in ultimate unity even beyond the finality of death. In the midst of what appears to be an ever-increasing fragmentation of life, Cathedral Church of St. Mark offers a House of Prayer for all people, an abiding hope that there is a Oneness at the center of human life. Enter, pray, and may your time here be blessed.

A Brief History of the Cathedral Church of St. Mark

The Episcopal Church was much a part of the frontier heritage of the Intermountain West, and Salt Lake City was a focal point for the church's role in the area's pioneer history.  St. Mark's was the first permanent Protestant church to be established in the Salt Lake Valley.


Daniel S. Tuttle, a native of New York state, was elected by the Episcopal Church to be missionary bishop to the new territory of Montana with jurisdiction in areas that later became the states of Utah and Idaho.  He arrived in Salt Lake City July 2, 1867 and began to build a congregation. 

One of Bishop Tuttle's early concerns was for a building to house his growing congregation.  Generous Episcopalians in New York and Pennsylvania, believing they could help fight polygamy in the region, made large contributions and on July 30, 1870, the cornerstone was laid for St. Mark's Cathedral.  Blueprints for the building were donated by Richard Upjohn, founder of the American Institute of Architects and at that time the most distinguished designer of churches in America.

The simple, traditional design was based on the Bishop's desire to reflect the values and the spirit of frontier America.  "The cathedral is to be developed along lines adapted to American ideas and adjusted to American habits," he admonished.  The thick native red sandstone walls and heavy timber roof trusses reflect the determination of the designers and builders to achieve permanence in a frontier community.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, the cathedral still has that original simplicity and strength.  The building is small for a cathedral, seating about 500 persons, but at the time of its construction would have held every Episcopalian in the territory.

On Nov. 15, 1870, St. Mark's Parish was formally organized, and services were held in the crypt of the unfinished building.  The cathedral was consecrated on May 14, 1874.  Bishop Tuttle noted, "When completed our church will have cost, I fear, $40,000. Alas! Alas!"  Transepts were added over the years, and the chancel and sanctuary were completed in 1901. 

The cathedral has survived moderate earthquakes, and in 1935 a serious fire gutted the sanctuary, destroying two beautiful stained glass windows over the altar.  The restoration was completed with only minor modifications to the original design.

The construction and subsequent history of The Cathedral Church of St. Mark was, and continues to be, a visible demonstration that diverse religious beliefs can thrive in Utah.  Though a minority in number, Episcopalians have always been instruments for social justice and care in this community.  By 1880, members of the church had established St. Mark's School, Rowland Hall School, and St. Mark's Hospital, all evidence of the concern for people that was the cornerstone of Bishop Tuttle's ministry.

The grace of the cathedral is symbolized in the lives of the people who, for either a brief moment of prayer, or the ministry of a lifetime, have found it to be an oasis in the desert, a place of refreshment, encouragement and strength through Word and Sacraments.

After leaving Salt Lake City, Bishop Tuttle reminisced:  "Prayers and tears and hopes and fears and sacred memories, as well as altar and walls and gifts and memorials, were consecrated in that noble building in the mountains, to which my heart turns even now in the deepest tenderness."

 

Meet the Cathedral's wonderful staff!

The Very Reverend Raymond Joe Waldon

The Very Revered Raymond Joe Waldon was installed as the Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Mark in 2011. Pror to his calling to the Cathedral, he served as rector of St. Peters in Alabama. He served in South Carolina, The Central Gulf Coast, and Western Louisiana. Dean Waldon graduated from Virginia Seminary with a Master’s of Divinity. He also holds bachelor degrees in English and Journalism from Louisiana Tech with a focus on Broadcast Media.

 As Dean, Waldon directs the daily life and worship of the Cathedral, which includes over 800 people, a number that has increased since his arrival. Waldon envisions the Cathedral as a place where all people are welcome and all are able to grow in their relationship to God. Recent attendance records were set for several events including Lessons and Carols in 2014 that featured the governor and a member of the first presidency of the LDS Church. Further, Waldon has charted the Cathedral as a community wide center of worship, a place of conversation on poverty, the environment, and ecumenism. Waldon is also a noted community leader recently being featured in a Salt Lake City Magazine. He serves on a charitable board, assists with the leadership of Hildegard’s Pantry—a community resource on the premises of the Cathedral that provides food to over 30,000 annually—provides council to civic leaders, and has hosted numerous other events throughout the city.

 Waldon is also a leader within the greater Episcopal Church. He currently serves as Vice President of the Executive Committee of the Diocese of Utah, is a member of the Ecclesiastical Court, and has mentored seminarians and deacons. He serves as a Deputy at 2015 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the Convention, he will provide critical leadership as the Cathedral hosts thousands of Episcopalians from across the globe and as the House of Bishops elects the 27th Presiding Bishop from the nave of the Cathedral.

Before ordination, Waldon was an award-winning broadcaster and journalist. He enjoys golfing, is working on completing a book on prayers and enjoys studying biography, philosophy, and history. He has been married to Lisa, his wife, for 37 years; they have two adult children and two grandchildren. He celebrates 20 years of ordained ministry in 2015.

“My vision is to create an inclusive environment where all who wish may see Jesus.” (Cathedral Address, 2011)

More Bios Coming Soon!