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St.Mark's
Episcopal Church

St. Mark's successive buildings

 

St Marks shield

 

St. Mark's has been the only Episcopal church in New Britain. No one knows why the parish chose the name "St. Mark's". Its immediate predecessor had been the area parish of "Christ Church". Christ Church was reorganized as St. Mark's, New Britain, on August 28th, 1836. Regardless of the reasons for the name change, Mrs. George Francis has been considered the driving force behind the reorganization of the parish as St. Mark's. Prior to November, 1828, she had been the only communicant of Christ Church residing in New Britain.

 

After Christ Church was sold, services were held in Mrs. Francis' house every Sunday until 1836, using the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. Episcopalians at St. Mark's were noted as living "in the unity of the spirit and the bonds of peace".  More than 183 years later, St. Mark's continues to remember fondly the diversity and inclusion which graced the organizers. At the time, Thomas C. Brownell was Bishop Diocesan of Connecticut and in this same year, Alexander V. Griswold became Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. About October, 1836, the parish officially associated with the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.


The first St. Mark's building on East Main Street was a plain and unchurchly building often assumed to be a house. It contained 24 pews. The Rector who arranged for St. Mark's association with the Diocese of Connecticut was the President of Trinity College, Hartford. St. Mark's was then one of 90 Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Connecticut and the 7th Episcopal congregation in Hartford County. They used the 1789 Book of Common Prayer.

 

The second St. Mark's building, on the corner of West Main Street and Washington Street,was built in 1848, when Thomas C. Brownell was Bishop Diocesan of Connecticut and Philander Chase was the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. At that time, the building contained 60 pews and had both a spire and a bell tower.

A wooden building, it was enlarged in 1859 by another 40 pews. In the 1880s, the spire was removed and the church substantially redecorated. The 1789 Book of Common Prayer was in use until they used the 1892 Book of Common Prayer.

 

 

The third St. Mark's building at 147 West Main St. was built in 1921 when Chauncey B. Brewster was Bishop Diocesan of Connecticut and Daniel S. Tuttle was Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The third building incorporated many 1885 features from the second building. They used the 1892 Book of Common Prayer, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, with supplements.


The three tower bells were melted into one now in the tower. The brass eagle lectern from 1884 held Holy Scripture. The marble baptismal font at the entrance to the nave came from the second St. Mark's as did the stained glass windows in the chapel. Some of the other stained glass windows are from the studio of William Morris. A major restoration of the nave took place about 2006.

 

In 1958, when Walter H. Gray was Bishop Diocesan of Connecticut and about the time that Arthur Lichtenberger became the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, St. Mark's Parish House was built with classrooms, choir room, gym and library. The Vance Memorial Courtyard, dedicated in 1960, was replanted as the St. Mark's Memorial Garden, dedicated in December 2006.

 

In January 2019, when Ian T. Douglas was Bishop Diocesan of Connecticut and Michael Curry was Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, St. Mark's moved to its fourth iteration at 90 Main Street in New Britain. This arrangement has been cited as being in the forefront of parish iterations in the current day and age. The building is immense. Below is a painting of the sanctuary and a photograph featuring the chapel and office area. The congregation currently uses the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, with supplements.

 

 

 "Open to God's love, serving our neighbor"