In 1914, a small group of worshipers from St. John’s Parish in downtown Jacksonville gathered in a private home on Ortega Point establishing St. Columba’s Mission.
Five years later, services were held near the present site of St. Mark's in a former Army building, with the Reverend Douglas B. Leatherbury as priest-in-charge, and in 1922, the mission was organized as a parish and named St. Mark’s with the Reverend Dr. Leatherbury as its first rector.
St. Mark’s missionary spirit sparked two mission churches which are now full parishes: St. Catherine’s and St. Peter’s.
The missionary spirit also lead to the creation of the St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School as an outreach ministry of the parish in 1970.
From its small beginnings in 1914, St. Mark's has grown to include 2,000 communicants and 650 families.
Location and Grounds
The location at the corner of Oxford Avenue and Ortega Boulevard was purchased in 1923. The cornerstone of the present church building was dedicated in September 1942. During the past 84 years, growth and construction have continued with the building of the church parish hall in 1953, church expansion in 1975, and the renovation of the parish hall and other buildings in 1987.
In 1990, to meet the needs of a growing parish, the church underwent major renovation and expansion. Construction in 1994 added a new 2,000 square foot youth center. In 1997, Grace House was dedicated as a pastoral care, hospitality and resource center. In 1998, an Early Learning Center added dedicated church nursery space, classrooms for school pre-kindergarten and extended day programs and a common room/chapel.
In 2011, renovations began to remove a portion of Oxford Avenue which split the campus. The church and its associated properties comprise a multifaceted campus incorporating the church, parish hall, early learning center with church nursery, library, gift shop, pastoral care center and youth center.
Having welcomed a new Rector in 2016, the church is approaching its 100 birthday with optimism and celebration of the strong, growing church it is today.