Stroud brings vision to the helm

“I’m a pretty organized guy,” says Marc Stroud. “Most people who know me would agree. But it’s even more important to build consensus. As a leader, I’m driven by consensus.”

The Associate Pastor of Oak Harbor Lutheran Church knows SPiN Cafe well. He served as our Board President until two years ago. After reassuming the role from Bob Wall, he’s excited to face 2020’s latest challenges and bring a new direction that redefines the way SPiN serves our community.

Marc Stroud brings new leadership to SPiN in uncertain times.

Asked about SPiN’s future, Pastor Stroud pauses to contemplate a worldwide pandemic and the vast changes it has brought to our local Whidbey Island scene. Just last January, SPiN was without a home, struggling to provide three hot meals a week at two local churches. But “we’ve found something we do well, really well,” he says. “We serve lunches. We’re doing a great job at it, and it has been an important service for homeless people and other hungry folks. Our lunch service also provides a great opportunity for those who want to help us with our mission of Serving People in Need.”

Stroud comes to SPiN’s mission with deep commitment to working with those in extreme poverty. When living in Portland, OR, he helped establish “Bread and Prayer” to feed and serve at Union Gospel Mission. And, at Luther Place in Washington, DC, Stroud worked at the edge of the “Great Burnout” section devastated by the riots of the late 1960s. He saw “great poverty… and great anger” there in those times, and he understands the rage and despair that naturally arise from a constant struggle to survive. He sees clear parallels to those days in the unrest and protests across the country this year.

“After the end of COVID,” Stroud says, “of course we want to continue to provide the lunches we’ve discovered we do so well.” Beyond that, he and the Board envision a return to a regular evening meal program with a reliable and warm indoor day center “where people can get a cup of coffee, stay out of the weather, and talk to each other.”

Like people do in a community.

SPiN Executive Director Tom Saunders is excited to have Stroud back at the wheel. “It has been great working with Marc the past few weeks,” Saunders says. “His organizational skills will do well at building the foundation for SPiN Cafe’s growth for the future.”

Pastor Stroud sees a great opportunity to build consensus and support among businesses and institutions in Oak Harbor, “to let them know that we’re still here, we’re part of the community, and we want to collaborate with them. We want to build synergy and work together.”

In 2018, for a previous article, Pastor Stroud was happy to discuss the strong work his Lutheran parishioners brought to SPiN Cafe. Today, he’s back behind the wheel, bringing solid leadership in uncertain times.

Many thanks to Pastor Marc Stroud for your devotion to SPiN Cafe.