St. Mark’s UCC, Reading: May 31, 2015

St.Mark'sUCC,ReadingSt. Marks UCC began as an outgrowth of a Sunday School which first met in 1883, and in 1891 organized as a congregation known as “St. Marks Reformed Church.” Our growth as a city church was rapid, and in 1904, having outgrown our first two facilities, we moved to our present location. With membership continuing to grow, peaking in the 1950’s and 1960’s at about 1,900 members, major improvements were made to our facilities in 1963. In 1972 we changed our name to St. Marks UCC.

Throughout our history, St. Marks has been home to a wide variety of groups and activities, including the making and selling of nuts and candies, a Quilting Group, a Cub Scout Pack, Christmas Bazaars, special holiday dinners, and a breakfast group. We’ve also continued to make improvements to our physical facility, installing an elevator and central air conditioning in the hope of attracting and retaining more members.

Like many other city churches, we continue to be challenged by changing times and changing demographics. While once a neighborhood church within walking distance of most of our members, our congregants now mostly reside in the suburbs, and in spite of attempts to broaden our congregation to attract more neighborhood families and individuals, we currently number about 200.

In spite of this, our desire to spread God’s word continues to guide us. Our facilities are a welcoming home to two other congregations, namely the “Hope of Glory” and “Respite & Liberation” churches. For many years we’ve contributed to our community by hosting a “Project Even Start” program in our facility. This program, sponsored by the Reading School District, offers English as a Second Language and other adult and child services to our neighbors in Reading. We also serve as a Polling Place during elections.

Our Sanctuary and stained-glass windows are beautiful, and with inspiring words from our Pastor and a magnificent organ and wonderful choir, each of us is called to Prayers of Thanksgiving for God’s many blessings and mercies, and guidance in our personal lives as well as in our lives as part of the larger community.

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