A Place of Learning

Foundry is a place of learning for me.

Mark Schoeff

When I moved to Washington 24 years ago, one of my top priorities was to church shop. The browsing concluded quickly.

I visited Foundry for the first time on April 14, 1992, following the recommendation of Stephen Bauman, the senior minister of Christ Church United Methodist in New York City, where I had been a member prior to relocating to D.C.

I have attended Foundry almost every Sunday since that spring day long ago.

Foundry is a place of learning for me. I came to Washington to work on Capitol Hill. At Foundry, I was enriched by exposure to political views and approaches to social justice that I might not have experienced in other facets of my life. 

Over the course of my career in Washington, I have been a Senate press secretary, a communications director for a think tank and now a journalist. I have tried to contribute to the life of Foundry by using my everyday professional skills – at one point writing for the Forge and now helping to cover Management Board meetings for the Strategic Communications Committee.

I have also gone beyond my comfort zone through participating in “administry,” as former senior pastor Dean Snyder called it.

I have specialized in “spiritual overhead,” serving on the former Church Council, the former Resources Council, the Mission Possible Ministry Team and the Stewardship Committee. Along the way, I’ve learned about operating and capital budgets and gained an appreciation for how a properly maintained building augments all other Foundry ministries. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in more traditional ministry, such as volunteer-in-mission trips to Ukraine in 2007, the Bahamas in 2010 and Haiti in 2012 and several Great Day of Service activities.

I have tried to contribute to Foundry’s “radical hospitality” by being an usher and an usher coordinator as well as a Communion server.

For several years, I was a confirmation mentor, where the students taught me more than I taught them.

I had not reflected on my Foundry journey until I was tapped for this I Am Foundry moment. It has made me realize what a profound impact Foundry has had on me.

I encourage each of you to give of yourself to Foundry as time allows in your life. I’m sure you will find it as rewarding as I have.

Mark Schoeff Jr


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