Famed New Mexican architect John Gaw Meem draws original plans in 1948; first parishioners meet in a storefront in Nob Hill; groundbreaking for original chapel, which is now the Parish Hall. St. Mark’s first Vicar, Rev. George Pascales LaBarre appointed (vicar from 1948 to 1956). First ‘Hollyberry Fair’ held in 1949. Bishop James Stoney of the Diocese of the Rio Grande (’42-’56) wrote about his memories and reflections of St. Mark’s. You may read it here: History of St. Mark’s – Stoney.
Fastest growing parish in the Diocese. Records show 216 communicants in 1948; by 1954, records show 856. The Rev. Charles E. Fish is called as rector (rector from 1956 to 1982). What are now the church offices were built to house the Sunday school. First Altar Guild formed of 25 high school girls. What is now the Sanctuary was dedicated in 1955.
Groundbreaking on what is now the south wing of Sunday school rooms in 1961. Sponsored parochial mission of St. Aidan’s in the far northeast heights of Albuquerque. In 1965, St. Mark’s opens a public, weekday Day Nursery and Kindergarten. Sanctuary’s stained glass windows, designed and made by St. Mark’s parishioner Caryl McHarney, are dedicated.
St. Mark’s still fastest growing parish. Some records indicate communicants of nearly 2000 in mid-70s.
Church attendance begins to decline. Friends Feeding Friends started by two men from St. Marks, who served soup, sandwiches and coffee to the homeless from the back of a pickup. Today, it’s an organized church ministry, with a dedicated group of volunteers, who come together every third Saturday of every month to cook and serve a meal for Project Share, a non-profit meal site for the homeless and needy.
Active Sunday school/youth programs. Church membership averages about 300.
In 2009, St. Mark’s rector, the Rev. David Luchenbach (rector 2001-2009), abruptly leaves to serve in Texas. Associate Rector serves as interim. Two months later and dissatisfied with the direction taken by the national Episcopal Church, eleven of the 12 Vestry members, all of the clergy with the exception of one deacon, and upwards of 80 percent of the communicants depart to form their own Anglican church, Christ the King, in Albuquerque’s north valley.
In 2010, a newly elected Vestry calls Rev. Constance Delzell as interim rector. Under Delzell, membership increases from about 30 to 75.
In 2011, the Vestry calls the Rev. Christopher McLaren as head rector. Under McLaren, thus far, membership increased from about avg. 75 to about 180 currently. In 2012, St. Mark’s formed supporting partnerships with Albuquerque Interfaith and New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light. In 2013, St. Mark’s opened the St. Mark’s Montessori School, a fully licensed preschool for children ages 18 months to 6 years old. St. Mark’s continues to seek out new ways to serve, as well as grow and support, our community.
In 2014, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of The Episcopal Church, in conjunction with the Faith Communities Today (FACT) ecumenical/interfaith survey project, surveyed Episcopal parishes across the country in 2014. The customized community profiles include 2010 Census data, demographic estimates through 2014, and projections through 2019 within a three-mile radius of each surveyed parish. Take a look at the statistics for St. Mark’s: