Lead Pastor/Preaching Elder
Mark accepted Christ as his Savior at the age of six through the influence of his parents. At the age of fifteen, Mark dedicated his life to serving the Lord. As a teenager, he saw many of his friends and teammates receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. A highlight for Mark in his high school years was the football team meeting at his home on Fridays to pray before games.
Mark attended the University of Oregon School of Architecture for four years and finished his bachelor degree at Oregon State University. After his first year of college in 1978, Mark married Janell Fisher at First Baptist Church in Gladstone. Mark and Janell, along with a long-time friend, launched a construction company that God used to put them through both their bachelor’s degree and master’s degree work. While attending seminary, Mark and Janell were asked to join the CB of Oregon ministry team where Mark directed the MOP (now DELTA) ministry and Janell became secretary and later editor at the CB of Oregon office. They ministered in the CB office for six years and completed their master’s degrees from Western CB Seminary.
Upon graduation from seminary, Mark became the pastor of Prairie Baptist Church in Prairie City, Oregon and ministered there for thirteen years. In 1989 and 1990 the Lord began building their family with three adopted children Chris 8, Laurie 16 and Laura Jean 4. In 1993 they were blessed with their only birth child Mary Ellen. In 2002 the family grew with the addition of 8 year old Loretta by adoption. The Lord continued to give Mark and Janell a burden for special needs kids, and in 2006 two little boys, Erick 4 and Chris 7 joined the family. In July of 2011 the family was blessed with a new son. Gabriel Hoeffner is Mark’s oldest son Chris’s biological brother. Gabriel is now a part of the Hoeffner family.
In 1998, Mark and Janell moved to the Portland area where Mark became Pastor of Oak Grove Church in Milwaukie, Oregon. In March of 2000, Mark became General Director of CB Northwest. In 2001 Mark was awarded the Doctor of Laws from Western Baptist College. He pastored Oak Grove Church and led CB Northwest in a dual role for the first five years of his ministry with CB Northwest. He was a part of leading both CB Northwest and CBAmerica through the development of their new identity and the CB Northwest Identity Document. As a part of his role at CB Northwest, Mark has pastored five of our CB churches through transitional periods.
In June of 2011 Mark’s family moved their home from Prairie City, OR to White Salmon, WA when Mark accepted the role of teaching elder at Grace Church. White Salmon has become a great location for Mark’s family with the connection to a local church as well as being in close proximity to the CB Northwest office. It is Mark’s great privilege to serve CB Northwest as Executive Director as well as to minister in the role of teaching elder at Grace Church.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Psalm 127:1
Faith in Christ has always been foundational to my life. Under the discipleship of my parents, I accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age. The son of a pastor, I grew up in and around the church. Through this experience, I came to see the high value of being plugged into a healthy and very real church family.
My wife Rebecca and I joined the Grace Church community in 2002, shortly after we were married. Since then God has blessed us with 5 boys and a girl who keep our house lively and full of both joy and challenges. Our desire to raise our family as part of a faith community that pursues God, has led us to deeper commitment and service to what God is doing here at Grace Church.
I first became involved with the worship music ministry in 2004 as a sound tech. This then led to me joining the band as a bass player in 2006. Then, with the encouragement and mentorship of the church leadership, I stepped into the role of worship leader in early 2008. The role of worship and vertical connection with our great God is so vital in the life of those who seek to know and walk with Christ. Because of this, it is my passion to see people meet Christ in a vibrant, worshiping community at Grace Church.
Curtis and Debbie Schlegel
Curtis and Debbie Schlegel have a passion for helping teens discover the person of Christ Jesus and helping them to make Him LORD of their lives.
Curtis Schlegel grew up three hours away in the small town of Eatonville, Washington. He enjoyed the ministry of Young Life in his teen years and grew closer to God as a result of their influence in his life. Curtis attended BIOLA University, in Southern California, where he majored in Computer Technology and minored in Bible. During his college years, he had the opportunity to go on three different mission trips. As a result of these trips, Curtis has developed a mission minded worldview that desires to reach the world with the gospel of Christ. He has seen the impact teens can have when they reach out to their world, and he loves to challenge teens to make a difference where they’re at and where they’re going.
Debbie Schlegel grew up here in White Salmon. She came to faith in Christ her freshman year in high school. As she experienced Jesus Christ’s love, she has always desired to share it with others. Challenged by her friends hard questions about her faith, she set out to find the answers. While attending BIOLA University, she majored in Biology and secondary education with a minor in Bible. She loves to help teens understand God’s world and God’s word. Debbie loves to challenge teens to notice the evidence of God in all of His creation and see His hand lovingly at work in their lives and in the lives of those around them.
Curtis and Debbie Schlegel have been working with youth over twenty years. They worked as youth leaders in California for many years before moving home to White Salmon where they felt the call to minister to the youth in the Gorge. While in California they worked with youth from many different backgrounds, schools and ethnicities.
Last year our teens voted to name our youth group, E.P.I.C. youth group. E.P.I.C. stands for Eternally Protected In Christ. Over the past six years, teens from Trout Lake, Lyle, Hood River, The Dalles and White Salmon have come to participate in our Sunday evening youth group. Whether you are part of a public school, a Christian school or a homeschool, you will enjoy being part of the E.P.I.C. youth group.
I grew up in White Salmon and attended a small church in Husum with my family. I accepted Christ as my savior at a young age during vacation Bible school. I was very fortunate to have strong Christian family support and the constant prayers of church family to help make me the person I am today. Along with my husband and two daughters we became part of the Grace family in 2002. It has been a real blessing to watch the church grow and to become part of an amazing team of people. In addition to working with Pastor Mark and the Grace Leadership Team I also work with our EPIC Youth program and currently teach Junior High Sunday School. I love connecting with young people and being able to support them and their famlies as they begin or continue their journey with Christ trying to live right side up in this upside down world.
We are very excited to have Jennifer joining our team. Check back for Jen's story...