In late 1958, The Rev. Malcolm Riker gathered a group of 15 Austinites to start worshipping together in a small room below a taxidermist’s shop on South Lamar. On December 7th of that year, this small group was officially recognized as a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and given the name of St. Mark’s.
One year later, on December 20, 1959, Bishop Percy Goddard knocked with his pastoral staff to open the doors of the new all-purpose building in the Barton Hills neighborhood (adjacent to the Barton Creek Greenbelt), and Rev. Riker presented St. Mark’s first confirmation class to him. Someone cut a shovel into a make-shift processional cross (and that cross is still used today as our Children’s Chapel cross).
1960: The first ever Chicken Barbecue was hosted in May of that year, and continues as a treasured annual tradition to this day.
1962: On December 23, 1962, Bishop Goddard dedicated a new addition constructed solely by the men of the church. On November 21, 1963, Bishop John E. Hines dedicated a new wing, which included a sacristy, the vicar’s office, and two classrooms. A parish family’s gift of a bell tower was erected, and the bell upon it, donated by another parish family, now hangs in the present steeple.
1963: St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School opened in September, 1963, offering both kindergarten and pre-K classes. The first class at St. Mark’s included 19 children.
1972: In February, the Rev. Donald Raisch was called as the sixth vicar of St. Mark’s, soon to become St. Mark’s first Rector when…
1975: After 17 years as a mission, the congregation voted on November 23, 1975, to petition the Diocesan Council for acceptance as a parish, which was accepted on February 6, 1976. Rev. Raisch retired from ministry at St. Mark’s on Jan 1, 1984.
1978: In November 1978, ground was broken for the present church structure. Bishop Milton Richardson dedicated the new church on October 17, 1979, and St. Mark’s began worshipping in its new space.
1984: The Rev. Scotty Innes was called to be St. Mark’s second Rector and the church experienced great growth (and more buildings!) under his leadership. A capital campaign led to the building and subsequent dedication of a separated school building in 1987—a building which was later named The Innes Building.
1996: The Rev. Bill Bennett was called as St. Mark’s fourth Rector, and by 1999, St. Mark’s had grown to have 560 members.
2001-2003: A capital campaign was conducted, raising a significant amount of money needed for expansion. Additional improvements to the sanctuary in 2002 were skylights, new doors, a new stucco exterior, and removal of the covering over the front walkway into the church, plus a new altar cross. In April 2003 construction began, and on December 17, 2003, the Bennett Wing was dedicated. A short capital campaign took place in late 2003 to purchase a new organ, which was dedicated in December 2003.
2008: The Rev. Elizabeth Turner was called to be St. Mark’s fifth rector after the Rev. Bill Bennett retired.
2018: The Rev. Zac Koons was called to be St. Mark’s sixth rector. St. Mark’s continues to be a welcoming, growing, and vibrant parish with an active membership of over 700, and an average Sunday attendance of about 225.