In the beginning…
A small group of LaGrange residents interested in the Episcopal Church began meeting in 1863. On March 27, 1864, the congregation was formally organized under the name of St. Mark’s Parish. There were 31 communicants. Our first church building was located on the corner of Church and Battle Streets and was completed in 1893. In 1906, St. Mark’s helped to establish Good Shepherd and Holy Comforter churches in the mill community.
In the 1940’s, the church building on Church Street was sold to the Jewish congregation (which is still home to LaGrange’s only synagogue) and a building program was begun. A lot was donated on North Greenwood Street and the present church structure was built on the site. Members of St. Mark’s worshipped at the church of the Good Shepherd until the new building was completed. The building was dedicated on Christmas Eve, 1949. In January 1950, Good Shepherd merged with St. Mark’s. The Good Shepherd Parish Hall bears its name and a plaque commemorates the event. In the early 60’s St. Mark’s Kindergarten was started as an integrated parochial pre-school. For more than 50 years, St. Mark’s Kindergarten provided high quality pre-school education. St. Elizabeth’s Church, which was in the black community, also merged with St. Mark’s in the sixties. St. Elizabeth’s Memorial Garden, located in the courtyard, bears its name. A columbarium was added to St. Elizabeth’s Garden in the early 90’s.
Today Saint Mark’s is a vibrant parish of 400 members from every walk, race, and age of life. We are an inclusive community of Christians who take gladly and seriously the call to be the Body of Christ to one another and to the world around us. We realize that the Church is not our buildings and grounds, as lovely as they are. The Church is made up of the flesh and blood of ordinary people who endeavor to be Christ incarnated in the world. We seek to grow by God’s grace as we provide meaningful worship and education, endeavor to build strong children’s and youth ministries, share a common love of music, art, and the beauty of God’s creation, and care for one and all in need. We believe that the Gift of Hospitality is the over-arching Gift of the Spirit, under which all other spiritual gifts operate in the Church. Thus, we welcome everyone to join us on this walk of faith.