The Rev. Dr. Roy Howard, Pastor

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Psalm 126:2 (New International Version) 2: Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations,"The LORD has done great things for them."
Roy has been the pastor of Saint Mark since 2001. Prior to coming to Saint Mark, he served as Associate Pastor of Second Presbyterian in Lexington, Kentucky and Pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Staunton, Virginia. He also serves as the Book Editor of The Presbyterian Outlook. His pastoral vision and congregational leadership leads to living the gospel in the community. In Staunton, he served a theater group reaching disadvantaged young people. In Lexington, he was a founding member of Canaan House, an ecumenical residence for mentally ill, homeless persons. He has served with Prisoner Visitation and Support, an ecumenical ministry of visiting prisoners in federal and military prisons. In Maryland, he has been involved with efforts to prevent gun violence, end the death penalty and improve the lives of the poor in Montgomery County. Roy’s pastoral ministry and worship leadership are shaped by a theology grounded in God’s grace that compels us to love God and love neighbors as an expression of Christian discipleship. He teaches that following Jesus takes from our places of comfort to be with those in need of God’s love embodied in our caring. At Saint Mark, we call this the practice of Spirituality and Service. Faith and practice combine to bring a wholehearted life, lived in community. Over the years, Roy has led congregational trips to Ethiopia, Cameroon, Mexico, Jamaica, Israel, West Virginia, and Haiti. At Saint Mark, he joined with a Rabbi to establish a vibrant Jewish Christian dialogue group with a neighboring Jewish congregation. This relationship resulted in an interfaith mission to Israel and the West Bank, as well as an ongoing monthly dialogue. Prior to pastoral ministry, Roy was a social worker having completed his MSW at Florida State University. In Tallahassee he served people with mental illness. In 1984, he was called to combine pastoral ministry with social work in congregational settings. He graduated from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta where he received his Master of Divinity (Magna Cum Laude) in 1987. In 2001, he completed his Doctorate in Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary. His project was titled “Drop the Rock, Break the Bread: Conflict Transformation Skills for Congregational Leaders”. His love for theology is reflected in his post-doctoral work with the Center of Theological Inquiry and his numerous writings. He is married to Claudia Howard. They have two adult daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, and Patrick the Beloved dog. When Roy is not working he is likely to be running or walking in the woods with his camera (if he not reading theology and poetry.)