St. Mark’s Episcopal Church began in April 1924 in the home of Grace and Floyd F. Chadwick on Cedar Lane in the Phelps Manor section of Teaneck (now the site of a CVS pharmacy). Mrs. Chadwick’s concern for the Christian education of young children led her to make their home available for Sunday school classes. She taught the first class of five children. Adults became interested and met at her home for church services. Four families comprised the original membership.
In October 1925, a 150-foot lot at the corner of Grange and Chadwick Roads was purchased from the Phelps Estate. The first church building, a World War I prefabricated field chapel, was acquired and erected on the site. The first service was Holy Communion, held on Christmas morning 1925, celebrated by the Rev. William J. White, the church’s first Vicar. Stanley Chadwick was the acolyte. By now the Sunday school enrollment was up to 45 children.
On January 2, 1926 an application to become a mission church of the Diocese of Newark was signed by Bishop Edwin Lines. As a new mission church, St. Mark’s sponsored its first baptism on March 14, 1926 and its first confirmation on May 25, 1926. In 1928 Thomas B. Snow was appointed treasurer and began a distinguished tenure that spanned over 40 years and three major building projects. Many of the current stained glass windows in the church are gifts of Mr. Snow or his family.
In 1932, the chapel was enlarged. In 1937, a new parish house was completed, providing much needed space for Sunday school and other activities. However, the flourishing congregation forced church and parish house to switch roles. In 1942, a major rearrangement succeeded in equipping the parish house for church services and renovating the original chapel to serve as a parish house. The present church is the former parish house. In 1946, the lot east of the church was purchased bringing the property to its present boundaries.
The 650 pound Neely bell ringing at St. Mark’s today, was a gift from Lillian and John Mursch in 1946. It is the same bell that rang on their wedding day in 1917 at St. Luke’s Church in Utica, NY.
On February 6, 1955, Bishop Leland Stark consecrated St. Mark’s and the then-existing mortgage was burned.
1958 brought another extensive renovation of the church buildings. The new parish house was complete by 1960 and in near constant use. Renovations included demolishing one part of the old chapel and converting another to offices. Brick facing was added to the entire building along with a porch and bell tower, bringing the structure to its current configuration and appearance.
In 1962, with great rejoicing, St. Mark’s Church became an independent self-supporting parish in the Diocese of Newark. The Vestry unanimously elected The Rev. Field H. Hobbs, vicar since 1956, as the first Rector.
In 1975, while the Rev. Richard H. Louis served as Rector, our beautiful stained-glass window with figures of Native American, African American, Latino and Caucasian representation was installed behind the altar.
The Rev. Lucinda Laird, St. Mark’s first female priest, was called as Rector in 1986. During her tenure, the budget for outreach projects grew in collaboration with a comprehensive Diocesan stewardship program instituted during that period.
On January 29, 1988, the parish hall was officially designated “Carroll Hall” honoring the memory of lay leader John E. Carroll for his tireless efforts of time and love expended at St. Mark’s.
In 1996, James Warnke, a St. Mark’s parishioner and a psychotherapist in private practice in Teaneck, was a ordained to the priesthood at St. Mark’s.
A companion parish relationship was formalized with the Episcopal Refugee Outreach Ministry in Danane, Ivory Coast in 1997.
The Memorial Garden, approved by the Township in 1996, was dedicated in the summer of 1998.
In response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, parishioners and members of the wider community gathered at St. Mark’s throughout the day. In the evening the church filled with worshippers who offered the Holy Eucharist with special prayers and music– the only such service in any house of worship in Teaneck that day. The church doors have continued to be open all day and evening every day since.
Autumn 2002 brought the kickoff of a capital funds campaign to renovate the church building to make it accessible to disabled persons as well as to expand useable program space. Chaired by Treasurer Ski Austin and involving nearly half the parish membership, the campaign exceeded its goal for both capital and operating funds.
The new building and worship space were dedicated on October 20, 2004 with The Rt. Rev. John Palmer Croneberger presiding. At the same ceremony, Canon R. Carter Echols inaugurated the ministries of the The Rev. Denise Harper Bennett as Associate Rector and Mr. Cleveland E. Kersh as Music Director.
2005 brought St. Mark’s to its 80th anniversary.
Through the years, God has blessed St. Mark’s with a breadth of diversity and an ever-increasing commitment to inclusivity. We endeavor to be a warm and inviting place to worship and grow spiritually and to be absolutely open to all who approach our doors.