Father Mark’s Stand | University of Texas – Austin Undergraduate Application Essay

Eyes lock in on the cross and follow it down the aisle as its bearer leads the procession until the last person of the seemingly endless line grabs the entire congregation’s attention. Entering the back of the sanctuary, Father Mark’s flowing robes make it appear as if he were gliding down the aisle. His regal voice resounds off the white marble and fills the room with his presence. His charisma is absolute; his passion is sincere. It’s Sunday morning, and, while my mom had to pull me out of bed, there is no place in the world Father Mark would rather be. And for that, he is loved. He is adored.

I had just turned twelve when Father Mark shook my hand, addressed me by name, told me it was a pleasure to get to know my family as well as he did, and then said he was retiring. He finished by saying, “Always love your neighbor.” Confused, I mustered a “Yes sir.”

At the time, I didn’t understand the underlying causes of his retirement. Now, I can fully comprehend that he fell victim to a scar on the face of the Episcopal Church. He voted for a bishop based on merit—a man that was arguably the most qualified for the job. The man that Father Mark thought could best lead the Diocese of Dallas happened to be gay. When Father Mark publicly…

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