History of St. Mark

St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church celebrated it’s 193rd year of existence in service to God on October 21, 2013.

St. Mark is a registered historic building having been constructed in 1897 and dedicated in 1898.  It was originally known as John Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in Newtown around 1820.  Soon afterwards, members built a small frame meeting house at the corner of Frost Lane & Congress Street and included an adjacent cemetary.  Around 1840 the building high on the hill overlooking Newtown burned and the fire could be seen for miles.  This gave way to the nickname Lighthouse Hill where the church cemetery remains in use today.  The second structure was built at the intersection of Frost Lane & State Street, but that building also burned in 1857.  The third structure was erected on North Congress Street.  It was supplanted by the present brick church, which was built by Rev. James Henry Hardin.  The cornerstone was laid on Sunday, April 24, 1897.  Rev. Hardin served for 2 years and was succeeded by Rev. J.T. Matthews and Rev. T.M. Nixon, under whose pastorate the building loan was reduced and an annex was built onto the church.  In May 1918 Bishop J.S. Caldwell assigned the Rev. Dr. M.W. Davis to St. Mark and on Sunday, November 30, 1919 the church had their great mortgage burning ceremony.

On September 1, 1921, ground was broken for the parsonage.  The cornerstone was set on October 2, 1921 and on January 10, 1922 Rev. Davis moved his family in.  He served as pastor a total of 5 years.  The following is a list of men of God who served at St. Mark, adding to the ministry according to their gifts: Rev. Daniels, Rev. Spurill, Rev. Cohen, Rev. Myers, Rev. Drew, Rev. Stephenson, Rev. Pyle, Rev. Gibbs, Rev. Dennis, Rev. Linder, Rev. Man, Rev. Gibson, Rev. Quarterman, Rev. Covington, Rev. Williams, Rev. Lucas, Rev. Wilson, Rev. Marshall, Rev. Watson, and Rev. Easton.

St. Mark again made history in May 2002 when we were assigned our first female pastor, the Spirit-led Rev. Sandra Reed, under whose pastorate we have grown spiritually by leaps and bounds.  We have been obedient in Pastor’s vision that St. Mark allow the Holy Spirit to lead us as we operate as ministries rather than organizations, devote ourselves to prayer prior to action, and give freely trusting God’s promise according to Luke 6:38 that we give and it shall be given to us.

At the annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic II Episcopal Area in May 2005, we became a member of the newly formed Philadelphia-Eastern Shore District in the Philadelphia-Baltimore Conference under Rev. Dr. John W. Kennedy, Presiding Elder.

On November 13, 2005 a dedication service was held to dedicate the installation of a new porch, stairs, doors and a handicap ramp that had generously been donated by members and friends.  A new roof was installed on or about October 10, 2006, marking another major repair and renovation to our church.  We continue to repair and restore our house of worship.

On October 22, 2006, St. Mark celebrated its 186th year of existence.  A weekend celebration commenced on October 21, 2006 with a concert at Grace Point Church in Newtown, PA.  The concert featured area choirs, Sister Sledge and SoPoz recording artists.  On October 22, 2006 we began the day with a memorial marker installation and parade marking the original site of the church at Frost Lane & Congress St, known as Lighthouse Hill.  The celebration was concluded with a formal dinner sponsored by St. Mary Medical Center at the St. Mary Auditorium.  Guests included our Presiding Bishop Warren M. Brown, Mid-Atlantic II Episcopal District, Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. John W. Kennedy, Mayor Glenn Hains and other local politicians and dignitaries.

At the Annual Conferences in 2011, 2012, and 2013, Rev. Sandra Reed was returned as our Pastor and Presiding Elder Rev. Dr. John W. Kennedy was returned as our Presiding Elder.
At the annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Area in May 2018, we became a member of the newly formed Philadelphia District in the Philadelphia-Baltimore Conference under Rev. Michael A. King, Presiding Elder.