(excerpted from a May 4, 2001 article in the Newark Courier Gazette)
The Episcopal faith was first practiced in Newark in 1851 with an organizational service held in the home of Esbon Blackmar on Palmyra Street (now West Union Street). On July 22 of that year (with the Bishop’s permission) officers were elected for the new church.
Having exhausted all means of raising funds locally (for the construction of a church) church members asked Mrs. A.W. Marsh and Mrs. Martha Hayes, wife of the rector, to visit large parishes between Newark and New York City asking for aid. Armed with letters from the bishop and clergy the two set out. At the end of three weeks they returned weary but happy. They had many gifts including the news that Trinity Church, New York, had offered a loan of $500. In August 1851 the parish was admitted to membership in the diocese. A building was purchased for $350. On September 19 1852 the first services were held in the new building – of American Gothic design on the corner of West Miller and Main Street. The church was located there from 1851-1901
The ladies sewing society soon provided carpeting and an organ for the new church. By 1892 the entire indebtedness was paid off.
In 1900 a need was shown for a new facility to meet the needs of the congregation. The Vestry approved the same of the church and rectory. On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the church – June 1901 – the cornerstone of the new church was laid. The building was completed so that the first service in the new facility was held n All Saints Day 1901. The first parish house was a 1917 gift from the Bloomer families. The house was used for dinners and education classes. During World War II St Mark’s offered the use of the parish house by the Red Cross for their relief work.
Plans were made to enlarge the church to include a parish house with offices and classrooms. By 1953 much of the money had been raised. In 1954 Bishop Dudley Stark dedicated the new parish House which adjoins the church.
In recent years the parish hall of St Mark’s has again become home to the Red Cross. The parish has also become part of a regional partnership of congregations Northeast Partners in Episcopal Ministry in which staff is shared and cooperative ministry is encouraged.
Martha Thomas Comstock writing a holiday message to church members in 1929 observed “The glory of life is to love, not to be loved; to give, not to be served; to be a strong hand in the dark to another in time of need; to be a cup of strength to any soul in crisis of weakness; this is to know the Glory of God.” Now, as then, this is the mission of St Mark’s Church, Newark, NY.
St. Marks 1851-1901
Sketch by Richard Upjohn, Architect Old church after conversion to general store in 1904