Rev Mark Hartburg

Mark Hartburg - 3376 - 600x600Ordination

Along with celebrating life events, Rev Mark is also a chaplain to the LGBTQ+ community. He has been in ministry for over 30 years.

Rev Mark joined Clergy Support Memorial Church in December, 2018. With almost 30 years of Ordained service to the Lutheran Church – Canada, Mark made the decision to voluntarily leave that church and has continued to seek a way that he may support people in celebrating life events. Recognition of his Ordination was passed by the Board unanimously.

Academic Achievements

  • Bachelor of Music Education – State University College of New York at Fredonia (1978)
  • Master of Divinity – Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario (1985)
  • Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education in Bowen Family Systems Theory (c. 2000-2001)

Pastoral Care

Besides his work with Weddings, Baptisms and End of Life ceremonies, Mark has been fortunate in his ministry to assist in many roles:

  • He has conducted many wedding ceremonies which included premarital counseling sessions.
  • He has presided over hundreds of funeral celebrations.
  • He was tasked with the supervision of three seminary interns.
  • Mark assisted in overseeing the construction of a new congregation facility.
  • He worked with two part-time staff initiating a growing community service program that served 250 people in need weekly.
  • He has been the Chaplain for the students and faculty at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario.
  • He has provided “After Care” to grieving survivors after the death of a loved one.
  • He facilitates peer support groups and helps lead Rainbow Diversity Training for business, institutions and affirming services.
  • Mark had found great personal reward in facilitating discussions about loneliness and isolation with people of various ages and ethno-national backgrounds.

History of Professional Ministry

  • Pastor, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School-Staplehurst, Nebraska (1985-1990)
  • Pastor, St. Stephen Lutheran Church-Grimsby, Ontario (1990-1992)
  • Pastor, St. Stephen Lutheran Church-Grimsby, Ontario; Messiah Lutheran-Stoney Creek, Ontario; St. Matthew-Smithville, Ontario (1992-1994),
  • Pastor, Merged congregation-Christ Our Saviour Lutheran Church-Grimsby, Ontario (1994-2004)
  • Assistant to the President, East District, Lutheran Church-Canada (2005-2009)
  • Senior Pastor, Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church-Kitchener, Ontario (2009-2013)
  • Pastoral Minister with Clergy Support Memorial Church (2018-present)

Thoughts on Theology

Mark was raised and spent much of his professional ministry career in a conservative fundamentalist Lutheran denomination where, in addition to love and nurture, he experienced shame and repression as a gay man living in the closet (including conversion therapies).

After his wife’s death, his disenchantment with a rigid, guilt-based religion led him to resign and later come out so that he could live authentically as a gay man.

Pastoral Counselling

Mark has a genuine love for people where he marvels at their journey and stories. He will find great joy in walking alongside them. He enjoys being part of a creative endeavor in helping people design and carry out their desire to live an authentic life.

Those with whom he shares a caring relationship describe Mark as a good and effective listener. In fact, they often comment on how surprised they are at how much they share with him. He credits this positive feedback to his kind and caring personality that is wise in counsel and fun in spirit.


Mark continues to practice mindfulness; to reflect on life and its meaning through conversation, reading, film and music; and to explore and celebrate nature and the beauty of the universe though hiking, biking, kayaking, camping and travel.

Mark lives in Kitchener with his husband Bruce, is the father of two daughters (and a grandson), and they share their home with the companionship of a dog and two cats.


  • Chaplain (for students and faculty) – Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary – St. Catharines, Ontario (1990-1999)
  • Certified Coach for mission-focused pastors through CoachNet (2007-2013)
  • Certified Consultant – Relationship Model of Governance (2007-2013)
  • Additional Professional/Caring/Community Service Opportunities.
  • Full-time Support Worker – The Working Centre-Kitchener, Ontario (2013-2015) where he worked with marginalized communities.
  • Part-time Funeral Director Assistant – Henry Walser Funeral Home-Kitchener, Ontario (2015-present) where he has also provided “After Care” support with grieving survivors.
  • Spectrum Community Space [LGBTQ+] (2017-present) – where he facilitates a peer support group, and help lead Rainbow Diversity Training for businesses, institutions and affirming churches.

Some examples:

  • Mark accompanied a distressed young trans-woman to hospital and to counseling.
  • He met with a young trans woman who was in the process of coming out.
  • He facilitated discussions about loneliness and isolation with people of various ages and ethno-national backgrounds.