St. Mark's Lutheran Church

St. Mark's Pastors

Pastor Frederick C. HasskarlPastor Frederick C. Hasskarl was born Sept. 28, 1918 in Bridgeton, NJ, the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Frederick Hasskarl. He was educated in the public schools of Wilmington, Del,, received his BA degree from Muhlenberg College in 1939 and his master of divinity in 1942 from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He was ordained May 20, 1942, in Philadelphia.

Pastor Hasskarl officially joined St. Mark's  on January 17, 1955, and was installed on February 6 of that year.  His tenure at St. Mark's matched that of his predecessor, Rev. Houser - twenty-six years.  He retired in 1981.

Synod President Rev. Dr. Dwight Putnam congratulating Pastor Hasskarl on his installation - Feb. 6, 1955.The Pulpit Committee that twice visited Pastor Hasskarl at the Emanuel Lutheran Church at Burnholme, near Philadelphia consisted of George F. Lamade, George E. Hartman, Kenneth Miller, Kimball Miller, Harry J. W. Kiessling and Charles Schreyer. The committee reported that Pastor Hasskarl had “served nine years in the ministry, was 36, married and had two small sons and that all six members of the committee were unanimously favorable to him.

Rev. Haskarl breaking ground for the new church, 1958As part of the ongoing plan of expansion, Pastor Hasskarl and the Church Council began to plan for the construction of a new church on property to the north of the church, acquired some years before. A decision was made to continue to be a downtown church rather than move to another location. During 1957, an intensive building fund campaign was conducted and after receiving pledges of some $400,000 and the actual cash receipt of one-half of those funds, ground for the new St. Mark’s was broken on July 20, 1958 and actual construction was begun shortly thereafter. Groundbreaking Sunday was a joyous occasion. A large crowd watched as Pastor Hasskarl turned the first spade of earth from the spot marked with a cross where our present altar stands. Assistant Pastor Paul Bosch and Doctor Houser also participated.

During 1959 the construction continued and in that year the pipe organ was carefully removed from the old church and returned to the Moeller factory at Hagerstown to be rebuilt to fit the new church. October 25 was the laying of the cornerstone. Pastor Hasskarl and Pastor Paul Bosch placed the historical items in a copper box and set it in place.

New St. Mark'sOn February 21, the last service in the old church was conducted with much sadness; at the same time, there was anticipation for the next week’s move to the beautiful new church. A week of celebration followed the dedication and featured the return of both Pastor Houser and Paul Bosch, who had since accepted an assignment at Syracuse University.

The years of the 60’s and 70’s saw an increasing emphasis on the outreach mission of the church. Church Council elected to become a part of the Center City Cluster of churches and so began a program of bulk buying of fuel oil, some supplies and a sharing of Good Friday services, workshops and the like.

Easter service conducted by Pastors Haskarl and Miller, 1966Several assistant pastors served during these years: the Rev. William E. Hershey Rev. Robert A, Miller and the Rev, Jesse G. Houck.

The 125th anniversary of the church was celebrated in 1977, and the following year the Rev. Dale Johnson was called as associate pastor. New hymnals and a new liturgy challenged the congregation to learn a new service.

Pastor Hasskarl was active in the civic life of the community serving on the boards of the Community Concert, Loyalsock Kiwanis and regional Home Health Services (then Visiting Nurses Association). He was active in the Center City. Cluster Churches and at the synod level.

During his twenty-six years, Pastor Hasskarl compiled the following statistics: Baptisms - 728, Weddings 424, Funerals - 837, confirmation classes - 25 (about 400 young people). His impact on the congregation was significant and long lasting.

Pastor Hasskarl died Feb. 9, 2003.

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