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Mark was born September 2, 1956 in Pomona, California. Mark is an eighth-generation native-born Californian, tracing his family’s history to early Latinx settlers of the eighteenth century. He grew up in Solana Beach, a town located near the Pacific Ocean twenty miles north of San Diego. After graduating from San Dieguito High School in Encinitas, he served in the US Navy and went on to graduate from San Diego State University in 1980, with a degree in History and a minor in Classics.
He attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and upon graduation in 1984, was called to serve as Associate Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church of Stockton. A year later he was called to serve as the Lead Pastor of Zion and served that ministry until the fall of 2004. He was then called to serve as Pastor of Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, Davis, California, in September of 2004. Mark was active in social justice and community organizing and in ecumenical and interfaith endeavors, including “Celebration of Abraham” events in both San Joaquin and Yolo counties. He was elected as the fourth bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod in April of 2008 and re-elected to a second term in 2014.
Married to Debbi in 1987, who retired as a high school principal in 2014, they have been blessed to live as a blended family with their four (now adult) children: Alyssa (Steve), Marshall, Justin (Connie), and Meaghann (Robert) and eight grandchildren – Hannah, Sadie, Christopher, Phillip, Scarlett, Ellie, Owen and Tre. Mark’s interests include being “Pops” to his grandchildren, astronomy, canning dill pickles and the ongoing restoration of his 1966 Mustang.Back to Our Staff