History of Saint Mark’s

Part of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, Saint Mark’s held its first worship service in 1951 in a converted Methodist church in Grandview. Ground was broken in 1953 for the Parish Hall (now the Center for Christian Formation and Godly Play) where services were held until the current Nave and Sanctuary was completed in 1958.


Office space in an adjacent building was purchased in 1989. Major renovations of the facility occurred in 2004 and 2008 creating a campus today that inspires Christ’s ministry within our midst and beyond into the community and world.

Parish Timeline


First letter of The Rev. Eldred Wayne Johnston, Jr., to the congregation, June 14.

Altar Guild organized before September 9 when first service was held.

Outreach a part of first Every Member Canvas.

First United Thank Offering ingathering, October.

First Parish Dinner, October 28.


All Saints Memorial Fund established.

First children’s Nativity Pageant – became a yearly festivity.

First Confirmation: 44 persons, January 13.


New robes for choir.


Groundbreaking for the Parish Hall, 2:00 p.m., February 28. Guest speaker The Venerable David Thornberry, Archdeacon of the Diocese.


Boy Scout Cub Pack No. 290 formed.


Curtis Shipe hired as first full time Custodian (i.e., Sexton). He resigned in 1981 after 25 years of faithful service.

Women’s Auxiliary paid last cent on Parish House mortgage, February.

Dick Borel and his trumpet led the procession to the groundbreaking for the NEW Saint Mark’s Church building, May 12.

Boy Scout troop organize, September; chartered in December.

Girl Scout troop No. 449 from Tremont School began meeting in Saint Mark’s.


Bell Tower erected, May.


On St. Mark’s Day a layman for the first time came from the congregation to read the Epistle.


Jane Silbernagel (Mrs. Wynne) first woman elected to be a member of Vestry, Annual Meeting.

Ned Seibert completed 6 years’ ministry in the Servers’ Guild. Servers would later be called Acolytes.

Hugh Eugene Banninga, seminarian from Bexley Hall, became interim superintendent of the Church School with emphasis on the entire youth program. (He was ordained a priest in February 1952 by The Rt. Rev. Nelson M. Burroughs, Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio.)

Parish Library set up in the narthex.




First $1,000 paid on the $10,000 loan from the Diocese. The last installment paid in 1967.

First meeting of Franklin County Council of Episcopal Churches. Emphasis to be on local rather than Diocesan concerns.

Epiphany star hung in chancel for the first time.


For the first time women could be elected Junior or Senior Warden!

The “work” of the parish was distributed among the newly created commissions: Outreach; Fellowship; Facilities; Finance; Education; Personnel; Christian Social Responsibility. Worship Commission established in 1971.


Project ’63 set up for young people aged 15-22. They would attend a work camp somewhere on the east side of Columbus. These work camps, appropriately numbered, continued for several years.

A Folk Mass celebrated instead of the “usual” Holy Communion.

First resident in newly build First Community Village: Mrs. Lenore Wood, member of Saint Mark’s.


Need for more space investigated by committee formed for that purpose.

COCU (Consultation On Church Unity) formed by Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, United Brethren, United Church of Christ (i.e., merged Congregational and Reformed Churches), and Disciples of Christ denominations.


General Convention authorized SERVICES FOR TRIAL USE, the “Green Book.” Three years later came AUTHORIZED SERVICES, the “Zebra Book.” Proposed THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER came in 1976. Finally, in 1979 General Convention authorized THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.


Diocesan Convention agreed that youth aged 16-21 could vote in parish elections and that one such youth should be on each parish Vestry.

The Rector, The Rev. Eldred Johnston, was granted sabbatical leave to pursue a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling. Princeton University granted the degree in 1969.


Pulpit exchange with Pastor of St. Timothy’s Roman Catholic Church.


Friendship begun with congregation of St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Columbus. Discussions, picnics, visits, and pulpit exchanges continued for several years.


New position: Clerk of the Vestry. Mrs. Stuart McLean the first.

General Convention voted that only baptism was needed to allow anyone, especially children not yet confirmed, to receive the bread and wine of Holy Eucharist.

General Convention (held in Houston, Texas) for the first time permitted women to be seated as deputies. Jane Silbernagel (Mrs. Wynne) was among the 28 women so seated.


Three C’s described St. Mark’s 20th anniversary: Commemorate the past; Celebrate the present; Consecrate the future.

Parishioners began making “happy” banners, Carol Paprocki designing those of the seasons of the Church year. The LION banner was displayed in Mershon Auditorium when Bishop Krumm held a service there for all Episcopalians in Franklin County. The following year 13 of the “happy” banners were displayed at Diocesan Convention.


July – Eldred Johnston retires after 21 years of service.

August –  Edward Chalfant becomes the second rector of Saint Mark’s

Thursday Morning Breakfast “Club” began meeting September 21. After a short service of Holy Eucharist the “members” met for a continental breakfast and some sort of “program” presented by a “member.” The affair ended promptly at 8:00 a.m. The start of the gathering, 7:00 a.m., never deterred the “members” – anyone who wished to attend – and the 25th anniversary of the “Club” was celebrated in 1997!

The Casavant organ Opus 3136 was fully paid for.

The men began the custom of cooking pancakes and sausages on Shrove Tuesday evening for all the congregation. They continued to do so until 2000 when Mardi Gras became the new form of ceremony.


“Feed the Babies,” a new form of outreach, was begun. Donating baby food for this program continued for many years, ending in 1990.

Parishioners sponsored a Ugandan refugee family.

Beacons, a club for seeing impaired persons, began to meet biweekly at St. Mark’s. It continued to do so for a good many years.


Newly formed softball team, the Roaring Lions, played its first game on May 6 against a team from Lane Avenue Baptist Church. Unfortunately, the outcome of the game cannot be determined.


Wednesday morning Eucharist was begun that included intercessions and the laying-on of hands. A Bible class was sometimes offered as well. In 2000 the Eucharist at 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning superseded the Eucharist/Bible class. Laying-on of hands and intercessions were included in this Thursday service.

First CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Project) walk took place – 10 miles from Saint Mark’s. The Walk became an annual outreach project although the starting point of the Walk was changed.


John Bacon Memorial Chapter of the Order of St. Vincent, the National Guild of Acolytes, formed at Saint Mark’s.


Endowment Fund created with five Trustees, income to be used for Parish needs as directed by the Vestry.


Vietnamese family resettled in the United States through efforts of St. Mark’s parishioners.


Joint Confirmation held at St. Mark’s that included St. Paul’s and St. James’, Columbus; St. Peter’s, Delaware; St. Matthew’s, Westerville; St. Alban’s, Bexley; St. John’s, Worthington; St. Luke’s, Granville.

Cambodian family resettled in United States through efforts of St. Mark’s parishioners.

Morning Prayer was celebrated at 10:00 a.m. between Eucharists at 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Morning Prayer was discontinued and Eucharist was celebrated at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.


In January both AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and ALANON (for families of AA members) began meeting at St. Mark’s.

In November St. Mark’s began supplying Thanksgiving dinner at “His Place” in the undercroft/parish hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church in the depressed neighborhood known as Franklinton. St. Mark’s had already begun to help the congregational outreach at St. John’s and in time St. John’s set up a regular schedule of Wednesday night suppers. Some 4 or 5 times a year St. Mark’s took its turn in the schedule set up with other congregation who also supplied the Wednesday night supper.

Image0004aFlower Guild formed in January. Its expertise has become so obvious that the Guild in 1997 and in subsequent years was invited to exhibit four impressive arrangements in the Columbus Art Museum.


The house on Dorset Road just to the west of Saint Mark’s, No. 2175, was purchased. After renovation the house became All Saints Center.

Edward Chalfant is elected Bishop of Maine.


millen4On October 6 the first Blessing of the Animals took place outdoors. By 2000 the ceremony had been moved indoors as part of the regular 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist.

Vestry formally declared The Rev. Eldred Wayne Johnston, Jr., the Rector Emeritus.

A “partnership” with Whetstone Convalescent Center began. It ended when because of too little space for expansion the Diocese sold the Center. (Another Center will be built in another location.)

Image0003bAll Church bells rang for 5 minutes beginning at 12:00 noon to celebrate the meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Russian Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

December – John Millen arrives as third rector of Saint Mark’s.


All Episcopal parishes in the denomination retired their 1940 Hymnals and began using the new 1982 Hymnals.

Parish Hall was air-conditioned.

Cousins, a new group for couples and singles, began meeting on August 29. The group has since disbanded.

Hands Across America was a handclasping that extended from New York City to Los Angeles. Saint Mark’s was at Henderson Road and High Street.


The Rev. Abiala Ebenezer Babtunde arrived at St. Mark’s in June. “Tunde” made a great impression on the congregation in the short time he was here before he returned to his home in Nigeria.

A group of young people attended a “work camp” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

First HABITAT house built in Columbus. Saint Mark’s has been supplying both workers and financial support since then.


On the day of Epiphany the congregation processed from the service to the site of the groundbreaking for the Oratory to be built between (and attached to) the All Saints Center and the Parish Hall. All Saints Center and Oratory were both dedicated on September 11.

January 11 a video of Arum Mass was shown. The Mass was predecessor of 1549 service in the first English translation of the Book of Common Prayer. The 1549 service was celebrated 21 February at St. Mark’s and again on 9 February 2000.

The Rt. Rev. William Crittenden, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Erie (Pennsylvania), confirmed a class and celebrated Holy Eucharist. He was at the first St. Mark’s service in 1951, being then Archdeacon.

June 12-18 Saint Mark’s youth attended a work camp in Martins Ferry.


March 11 Episcopal Church Women of COREC (Central Ohio Regional Episcopal Council) convened at Saint Mark’s to meet the new Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson, and his wife Russelle. Hostess was Elizabeth Webber, Diocesan United Thanks Offering Coordinator. The women had the pleasure of hearing the beautiful singing voice of Mrs. Thompson.

New booklet “Holy Communion for Children” placed in every pew.

John Millen called as rector of Church of the Nativity in Honolulu.


HABITAT consortium of churches formed with St. Mark’s, First Community, Mountview Baptist, Covenant Presbyterian, Upper Arlington Lutheran, Holy Trinity Lutheran and Riverside Methodist.

Pastoral Care and Evangelism Commission became Member Care.



Image0003cSaint Mark’s celebrated its 40th or Ruby Anniversary.

Women could now be ushers. By 1999 or thereabouts children of responsible age could join their parent(s) as ushers.

Third Avenue Community Church on North High Street having been formed, Saint Mark’s served lunch to neighboring families at least once a year. This activity terminated a few years later. Sometime later the congregation and all activity disbanded. However, NNEMAP (Near Northside Emergency Material Assistance Project) had begun a food pantry in the undercroft of the church building. It continues its work there. Saint Mark’s has an ongoing food drive for NNEMAP.

Together with St. John’s Church in Franklinton Saint Mark’s purchased the house 163 Avondale Avenue directly across West Town Street form the church. It was then furnished and was intended to house a family in need of assistance as they worked to reestablish themselves. “Transition House” was rededicated in 1995, The Rt. Rev. Kenneth Lester Price, Jr., Bishop Suffragan, officiating.

First annual sale by Canterbury Choir of submarine sandwiches on football’s Super Bowl Sunday to send the choir to the National Cathedral is Washington, D.C. Many such trips will follow.


The system of dividing the Diocese into four Regions ended. Several Deaneries were set up instead. Columbus was divided into East and West Deaneries, but they combined several years later, thus effectively reviving the formerly active COREC.

May 2 Diocesan Mission Convocation was held at Saint Mark’s. The Rt. Rev. Craig Anderson, Diocese of South Dakota, was the featured speaker. (He later became Dean of General Theological Seminary in New York City.)

May 31 a reception honored Marian Tipton (Mrs. Clyde R., Jr.), long time head of Saint Mark’s Preschool (see “Once Upon a Time”). The Preschool was closing after 41 years.

Vestry approved placing a plaque in the Oratory on which would be the names of those whose ashes are interred in the Memorial Garden.

Commissions became Ministries and the care of the buildings and grounds became the responsibility of Trinity Guild.

Licensed Lay Eucharistic Ministers were authorized by the Bishop to take consecrated bread and wine to shut-in persons, an extension of the regular Sunday Service. Licensed were Margo Baldwin, Jack Folkerth, Joy Sargent (Mrs. Robert), Robert Stamper and Barbara Jupin (Mrs. Michael, wife of the Rector.)


The complete Eucharistic Service for each season of the church year were placed in the pews, thereby making use of the Book of Common Prayer unnecessary. This usage was discontinued in 1999.

It was decided to use real, baked, unleavened bread in the Eucharist rather than the wafers used heretofore, the bread being prepared by various women of the parish.

Center City Summer Work Adventure August 10-15, a Deanery effort, enabled a number of parishioners to be housed at Mt. Carmel Hospital School of Nursing so that they could work in nearby Franklinton area helping some householders in need of assistance. So great was this experience that it was repeated in each of the next four years.


Via Crucis,” paintings and drawings by Paul-Henri Bourguignon were exhibited in the nave. These modern interpretations of the traditional Stations of the Cross added greatly to the congregation’s spirituality.

Audio taping the Sunday morning service began in November.

Prayer Chain was reactivated.

Deacon Joan Maynard, chaplain in Ohio State University, High Risk Pregnancy Unit, requested Christmas gifts for the women and their children. Parishioners responded and supplying gifts for the Unit has become an annual occurrence.

Empty Cradle Ministry also responds to a need expressed by Deacon Joan. Various women of the parish make clothing and receiving blankets for babies that did not live beyond the 5th month of gestation. The Ministry caught on with women not of the parish, so Saint Mark’s women now only make the tiny clothing and the commemorative “blanket” for babies miscarried before the 5 months.


September 22 Sait Mark’s 45th anniversary celebration

A truck purchased form the outreach portion of previous Capital Campaign Funds transports HABITAT building materials from warehouse to building site.


A concordat was proposed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. An agreement was reached in 200 whereby Lutherans and Episcopalians can now officially serve each other.

Large print and Braille Service Books were made available so that ushers could provide “on call” assistance.


The congregation was saddened by the death of its first Rector, The Rev. Eldred Wayne Johnston, Jr. on October 4 after 90 years, 10 months and 1 day of a varied and useful life.

June – Michel Jupin retires


Parish Health Ministry initiated. Blood pressure readings, flu shots and other health related outreach is offered.

First “Pumpkin Party,” a time on an October Sunday when children and adults can carve jack-o’-lanterns, decorate cookies, and have a good time. The party is now an annual event.

Vacation Bible School was once again offered. The offer was repeated in 2000 and 2001.

Operation Christmas Child, sponsored by Franklin Graham through his Samaritan’s Purse, results in shoe boxes filled with a variety of gifts suitable for a boy or girl of a certain age. Twenty-three boxes were filled for distribution overseas and in the United States. In 2000, parishioners filled 27 boxes.

Plates of cookies were given in November to each of the merchants in Tremont Shopping Center in appreciation for the use of their parking lot all these years.

In April the capital Campaign Memorial Plaque in the Narthex was blessed and the mortgage/loan paper burned. Bishop Thompson was the honored guest.

Vicky Smith arrives as fifth rector of Saint Mark’s. vicki smith


Transition House in Franklinton became Hospitality House, March 19.

Dr. Stephen Pariser, Department of Psychiatry, The Ohio State University Medical Center, chaired a forum on “Sadness and Depression.”

A Tex-Mex Festival was held in September.

Saint Mark’s parishioners attended the Great Commissioning Service in Cincinnati on November 5. The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Rt. Honorable Dr. George Leonard Carey, was the celebrated guest.

December 8 our organist, historian, author Michael Murray, “one of the world’s most gifted,” received an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Ohio State University.


This “Jubilee Year” marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of Saint Mark’s. On “Lion Sunday” – February 11 – parishioners brought some representation of a lion to church. Stuffed lions and lion pins abounded.  A Fourth of July Float heralds the events.

March 9 and 10 “Living in Jubilee” was given by Timothy Sedgewick, professor of Christian Ethics, Virginia Theological Seminary.

Various Jubilee events planned for the months culminating with the Jubilee Dinner on September 9.


Major renovations of the Nave and Sanctuary are completed. After worshipping for a period in a nearby school gymnasium and many deliberations and decisions, Saint Mark’s worship space is once again “right for its time”. Phillip Markwood, Architect.


Paul St. Germain arrives as sixth rector of Saint Mark’s. Paul St Germain

Saint Mark’s Verger’s Guild is founded. Larry German, Kelly Kelleher, Martha Lenz, Bill Ryan, Bill Silliman, and Jim Sullivan as charter members.

Stephen Ministry program is launched by Deacon Joan Maynard and Pat Barton.

The Hall of Faith celebrating our heritage as Christians, Anglicans, Episcopalians, and as a diocese and parish is envisioned.


Saint Mark’s Youth make a service trip to New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Annual humanitarian trips to Guatemala commence and a relationship between Saint Mark’s and the Sister’s of the Precious Blood in La Labor, Guatemala begins. Nine such trips will follow.  

From Generation to Generation capital campaign is launched for campus renewal, Larry German, chair.

Renowned designer Sally Thomas (credits include: St. George’s College – Jerusalem, The Anglican Study Center in Rome, Lambeth Palace and Anglican Study Center in London) creates the Master Vision for an integrated Saint Mark’s Campus.

The Oratory is renamed The Canterbury Center.

Saint Mark’s Memorial Garden completes refurbishment with sculpture “The Burning Bush” as its centerpiece: God said to Moses: “Take off your sandals, for this where you are standing is holy ground“, Exodus: 3:4 . 


Major renovations of the Education Building – now the Center for Christian Formation and Godly Play – are completed, creating a unified campus to empower Christ’s ministry within it – and beyond into the community.

“St. Marks, Upper Arlington”, re-brands as “Saint Mark’s, Columbus”.


Friends of La Labor, Guatemala” group is formed. Jim and Joyce Acton and Andi Waller as founding members.

A new website:  www.SaintMarksColumbus.org is launched.

Chapel of Reconciliation is created and consecrated  in the Narthex. DSC03981


Saint Mark’s Choir embarks on its first English Choral Residency at Worcester Cathedral, UK.  


Gary Garber retires after 30 years as organist and choirmaster.


Michael Murray gives farewell concert in benefit of Saint Mark’s Organ Completion Fund and retires as organist.

Generational Studies author Chuck Underwood lectures at Saint Mark’s on “America’s Generations”.


Renovations to the Canterbury Center are completed repairing damage and creating a conference area upstairs (and eventually) a downstairs “home-type” theatre.

Saint Mark’s Choir makes its second English Choral Residency at Lincoln Cathedral, UK.  

The Organ Completion Fund is launched to expand the Cassavant organ. Jeff Porterfield and Diane Silliman, chairs.


Saint Mark’s launches a new, multi-platform website that allows for increased online participation by the parish – such as making prayer requests, viewing the Sunday Order of Service electronically, and numerous opportunities for online financial contributions.

The Organ Completion Fund is concluded in July, bringing Saint Mark’s Opus 3136 up to its full capacity comprising 35 stops, 41 ranks, 3 keyboards, and 2450 pipes.


Multimedia programming intensifies, with annual presentations on Anglicanism, World Religions, and the Holy Land.


A Parish Holy Land Pilgrimage is led to Jordan and Israel, accompanied by the Rector. It is later celebrated with dinners and multimedia events.

The Rector, Paul St. Germain, receives the Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Theological Seminary.


Renovations to the Nave, begun in 2005, are completed with new paint, lighting, fixtures, and detail work. “The Ark” playground and Butterfly Garden and Reflective Walkway are undertaken by parish Eagle Scouts.

Monuments in Time, a multimedia series on America’s presidential libraries is given by the Rector.


Parish responds to the Covid Pandemic with streaming worship, online meetings, social and formational offerings. The parish begins “A.C.” – or “After Covid” – ministry – with facilities and electronic communications changes.

Paul St. Germain retires in June.

Trumpet of the Jubilee

Saint Mark’s gratefully acknowledges the publication of its Fiftieth Anniversary book: “Trumpet of the Jubilee”, and its authors, Clyde R. Tipton, Jr. and Elizabeth B. Webber, from which much of this material is taken.