Saint Mark UMC | 8305 S. Gramercy Place Los Angeles CA 90047
Phone: 323-753-3535 Fax: 323.753.3711
Pastor Gary: 323 359-0259 (Mobile)
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Friday – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
SAINT MARK UNITED
What are the roots of Saint Mark United Methodist church? The oldest record of Saint Mark dates back to 1885, when a group of people, led by Pastor J. P. Gilliland, met in their homes for worship service. When membership increased, harmony Schoolhouse became their place of worship. In 18185, the City of Los Angeles passed a law which made it illegal to hold religious services in a school building. In 1886, a group of worshippers were organized into the Harmony Methodist Episcopal church by Pastor J.P. Gilliland. Through a money canvass of the community, $416.00 was raised to build a church. A lot was purchased on the west side of Figueroa Street, 40 rods north of Slauson Avenue and work was commenced on the building approximately June 1, 1886 under the direction of D.M. Mettler. The first service of the site, which was held on July 19, 1886 was the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The following Sunday, a special collection in the amount of $2,825 was used to pay off the indebtedness to the Missionary Society. The church was dedicated on October 18, 1886 under the leadership of Pastor Gilliland.
In 1903, it was deems advisable to move the church nearer to the car barn in order to promote better attendance from the car men and their families. The little building was moved to a lot purchased at fifty-third and Main Street. In 1905, the church membership grew to 93, and the Sunday school enrollment was 180. At this time, the church assumed a new name, “South Main Street Methodist Church”. It was at this site, in 1908, that the Ladies Aid society was formed. In 1911, the congregation found it necessary to move again to another site, due to its increasing membership. This move was facilitated through trading the lot at Fifty-Third Street for those at Fifty-second and Main. At this time, a new Sunday school building was built at a cost of $17,000. In 1922, a community house was built. In 1927, the church was renamed, “St. Mark’s United Methodist Church”, which had grown to a congregation of 300 members.
The various churches that have merged with St. Mark’s are: Vernon Avenue, Immanuel German, Vincent, Bethel Trinity, southwest Knolls with Southwest Community. In the early 1940’s, St. Mark’s at 52nd and Main was sold to Wesley Methodist and in 1948, Southwest Community Methodist Episcopal merged with St. Mark’s Methodist. The name was changed to St. Mark’s community Methodist church, with Rev. Roy Tucker as minister. The archives of St. Mark’s holds detailed information related to pledges and canvassing with the community to build an educational building. Ground breaking services were held after the morning worship service on December 12, 1948. The project cost was $70,000 for a nursery, elementary school, lower floor room, fellowship hall, and large kitchen on the upper floor. The Women’s Society of Christian Service assumed responsibility for completely furnishing the kitchen. The Methodist Men donated their professional services to the up keeping of St. Mark’s
In 1950, following Rev. Roy Tucker, Rev. Lewis became the minister of St. Mark’s. In a short time, a new pledge drive was started for the sanctuary, stained glass windows and other furnishings. At this time, the old clubhouse was demolished and the congregation held services in the fellowship hall. Under the ministry of Rev. Gilbert Zimmerman, the sanctuary was dedicated on October 31, 1954. A special service was held on that day at 4 o’clock p.m. Growth of the church building continued under the leadership of Rev. Zimmerman. Projects such as the choir room, parlor, first floor kitchen, office and conference room on the lower level were started as well as the second level chapel, junior and senior high school classrooms on the upper level. The building was completed in February, 1959. Rev. Zimmerman was replaced at St. Mark’s by Rev. Fred Rogers in July 1959. During Rev. Fred Rogers’ ministry, St. Mark’s became an integrated church. Rev. Wolf became the minister of St. Mark’s in 1964, followed by Rev. Pliny Jenkins in 1967, who was the first black minister of St. Mark’s. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church was dedicated on Sunday, June 30, 1968. Rev. P. Jenkins, Bishop Gerald Kennedy, and Rev. Talbert officiated this memorable event.
Changes continued to occur. The women’s Society of Christian Service became the United Methodist Women. The Wesleyan Service (a gild for working women) joined with the United Methodist Women. The congregation gradually changed from predominantly Caucasian to a predominantly black membership. The Methodist Men of the late sixties to the eighties focused their energies on the upkeep and updating of the building. They purchased a stove, refrigerator, new pans for the steam table, and additional silver for the upper level kitchen. They carpeted the sanctuary and Narthex areas, and also provided velour padding on the pews. The floor of the fellowship hall was re-surfaced by a dedicated member of the Methodist Men. The United Methodist Women and Methodist Men continue to provide assistance where needed in the community. In 1975, Rev. E. S. Williams became the minister of St. Mark’s, followed by Rev. E. V. Sellers in 1978, and in 1981, Rev. Leroy I Brown was appointed. The worship service began to take on a different tone with melodic music that was sung by Rev. Brown and enjoyed by all.
Ministers that have served at Saint Mark have been Rev. White, Rev. Hawthorne, Rev. LLC Hammond, (it was during Rev. Hammond’s ministry that the spelling of St. Mark’s changed to Saint Mark) and currently, Rev. Dr. Eugenio D. Raphael served Saint Mark United Methodist Church from July 1, 2008 until June 2015. Pastor J. Andre Wilson served Saint Mark United Methodist Church from July 2015 until June 2016. Pastor Gary Bernard Williams is currently serving as Saint Mark's senior pastor since July 2016.