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St. Mark’s Anglican Church - Port Hope, Ontario, Canada[edit]

History of St Mark's Anglican Church[edit]

Origins[edit]

Port Hope's origins date back to June of 1793 when a group of settlers, under the leadership of Elias Smith and Jonathan Walton, arrived at the mouth of the Ganaraska River. The area was under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Quebec (Church of England).

For many years, the community was served by travelling missionaries. In Port Hope, services were held at people's homes, often at the Ward homestead where the TCS lodge now stands. Port Hope and other neighbouring communities wanted a permanent rector to serve them but such was not forthcoming from the Diocese. Finally, Rev. William Macaulay was appointed the First Resident Missionary to Hamilton (Township), responsible for all the communities in the area. His successor, in 1827, was Rev. Alexander Neil Bethune, who was later to become Bishop of Toronto and instrumental in the later history of St. Mark's.

Built in 1822, and featured in an 1841 Bartlett print, St Mark’s is a small, beautiful National Treasure. The church was erected by the work of the congregation, on land donated by Elias Smith, the founder of Port Hope.

These 'travelling missionaries' had huge territories to cover. Rev Macaulay's ministry extended north at least to Ida, on what is now County Road 10, encompassing many fledgling communities. His area extended east, perhaps further than Grafton, and west to Newcastle or Bowmanville. “Travelling” was the key word. Services were held in each community he visited, and it sometimes was weeks between visits and hence services in any one community.

In 1819, the “Parish of St John the Evangelist Port Hope and Vicinity” was created. A cemetery was established on Smith Street (now King Street), Port Hope, on land donated by Elias Smith and Jonathan Walton, land which was to be used for a church, a rectory, a cemetery and a school. The first burial in the newly created cemetery was in April, 1819. (The actual transfer of the land did not occur until August of 1824, four years after Elias Smith's death and five years after the establishment of the parish and cemetery.)

An 1833 watercolour painting of the town of Port Hope shows the Church of St. John the Evangelist high up on Protestant Hill, with its tower, and presumably its bell. The same bell still rings at each Sunday service today.

In 1822 construction started on the frame church, situated immediately south of the cemetery. Construction continued until 1824. It can be imagined, then, that materials and labour were being donated for the project as they became available over the two year period. We know that lumber was donated by the Haskill family as they cleared farm land on the west end of town. The builders of Canada House, including Captain Wallace and an ancestor of Norm Strong, are credited with helping construct the building. The church then was a simple rectangle, starting where the east wall of the tower now stands and ending where the transepts are now. The windows were clear glass and rectangular. The tower was probably built a few years later.

In 1828 Charles James Stewart, Second Lord Bishop of Quebec, arrived to consecrate the church and officially dedicate it to St. John the Evangelist. The cemetery was consecrated and also dedicated to St. John the Evangelist in 1830.

St. Mark's church bell, donated by Jonathan Walton, is dated 1826. Based on an 1870 interview with a person identified only as O. T. (Old- Timer) reported in the Weekly Evening Guide of the day, local historian Harold Reeves believed the bell was actually delivered to Port Hope in 1832.

As the community of Port Hope grew, so did the congregation of St. John the Evangelist. In 1830, the Reverend James Coghlan was named First Resident Missionary of Port Hope. He, like many ministers of the day, needed an outside income. He built a large house, called Larkspur, west of Danforth Road (now called Toronto Road) and opened a school. On Rev. Coghlan's return to England in 1836, St. John the Evangelist Port Hope received its first Rector. He was Jonathan Shortt. Reverend Shortt, with his wife, Lucy, moved into the house built by James Coghlan, and continued the school until Lucy Shortt's death in 1849. In 1839, St. John the Evangelist became a parish within the newly created Diocese of Toronto.

From 1852 to 1895, this is how the exterior of St. Mark's Church looked.

Rev. Shortt was responsible for the entire Township of Hope, and “some distance beyond”. Until 1846, Clarke and Cavan townships were covered by Rev. Shortt as well. In 1841, Perrytown received its own rector and after 1846, Clarke and Cavan received their own rectors.

Under Rev. Shortt, the parish of St. John the Evangelist experienced strong growth. In 1842, the church was significantly expanded with the addition of the chancel to the east end of the church and the installation of galleries on three sides of the nave. The East Window was constructed at this time, as a tall, rectangular window and probably plain clear glass.

Growth continued through the 1840s and by 1850 the church was again bursting at the seams. In 1852/53 another ambitious expansion was completed, with the addition of a north and a south transept. The galleries were rounded into the transepts and both transepts were filled with pews to provide additional seating. At the same time, the ceiling was raised, and the windows were enlarged with the addition of Gothic arches. It is possible that at this time the East Window was filled with stained glass, in the St. John's motif.

In 1852, a Willis pipe organ, imported from England, was installed in the church. It replaced a small manual pump organ the church had purchased in 1843.

By 1855 growth of the parish had outstripped the ability of the frame church on King Street to hold its congregation. In spite of the extensive additions to the building in the past 13 years, the overall condition of the frame church had deteriorated to the point where a major renovation or reconstruction was necessary. On top of these two factors, growth in Port Hope was concentrated on the west side of the Ganaraska, in Englishtown, making the King Street location of St. John the Evangelist inconvenient for many parishioners. For these reasons the congregation leadership began to look for another location and to consider the replacement of the King Street building. By 1865 the Pine Street site had been purchased and construction started on a much larger, brick-built church. In 1869, the first services were held in the new Pine Street building of St John the Evangelist, and the King Street location was closed.

As St. John's Pine Street did not have a suitable parish hall, the King Street building was used as a Sunday School. But by 1871, the frame structure had deteriorated to the extent that even this limited use was halted. The Willis organ, installed in 1852, was dismantled and removed from the church in November of 1871. Following that, the building was abandoned.

The Parish of St. Mark[edit]

Not everyone in the Church of England in Canada congregation was happy with the move to Pine Street. The Wards, Whiteheads, Calcutts, Tempests and part of the Smart family led a group, known as the “Memorialists”, to preserve the old church. They believed that there was sufficient population and potential for growth east of the Ganaraska to support a separate parish. In 1872 the group petitioned for the reopening of the church and once sufficient signatures had been obtained the petition was sent to Bishop Alexander Neil Bethune. After a short investigation and hearing, Bishop Bethune approved division of the Parish of St John the Evangelist into two parishes – one served by the newly constructed Church on Pine Street and the other to be served by the reopened King Street church. The “Memorialists” began to restore and renovate the old frame church. In May of 1873 Rev. C. W. Paterson arrived as the new incumbent. On August 3rd of 1873, Bishop Bethune visited the King Street church and rededicated the church and the cemetery to St. Mark. The Parish of St. Mark was born.

The new parish flourished at the start. Sunday School attendance in the fall of 1873 was 120 people. To the end of 1874 there were 76 baptisms, thirteen marriages and twelve funerals. This was one of the most active periods in the church's history. A monthly publication was started, “St. Mark's Parish Magazine” and was continued through all of 1874.

Interior of St. Mark's Church Circa. 1895

By the mid-1880s economic conditions had worsened and the church was facing hard times. In spite of these financial hardships the congregation decided to acquire a new pipe organ. This one was supplied by S. R. Warren & Son of Toronto. The organ was installed in May and early June of 1884. An announcement in the Evening Guide called the organ “one of the finest instruments made by this firm”. The congregation had to take out a mortgage on the organ in 1885 in order to complete payment for it. The loan was repaid in 1889, on schedule.

The economic situation meant that little money had been available for upkeep of the church. When Rev. Kenrick arrived in June of 1895 he immediately set to work to refurbish the old building. New clapboard covered the exterior. The tower was raised six feet. Crawl spaces were excavated under the church to allow the installation of wood or coal furnaces, finally replacing the aisle stoves that had heated the church to this point. The interior of the church was transformed with the removal of the galleries on the north and south sides of the church, and in the vestibule, the removal of one of the staircases leading up to the west gallery. Screens separated the transepts from the body of the church; a chapel was created in the south transept, the altar platform was raised and an “imposing new altar” was installed. Electric lights were installed for the first time. Shortly after the main renovation, a massive oak reredos was installed behind the altar, and dedicated to the memory of Rev. Baker, who had served as rector in St. Mark's until his death in 1894.

The church we see today is basically as it was in 1895. Some changes since include the installation of the choir screen in 1904, the addition of the Triptych in January of 1950 and the replacement of the altar in 1962.

St. Mark's Anglican Church in the 20th Century[edit]

As St. Mark's entered the 20th Century, a period of instability began. In the 19th Century St. Mark's had enjoyed the leadership of five rectors over a period of 78 years. Such long-serving rectors were scarce up to and during the First World War. From 1900 to 1918, no less than seven rectors passed through St. Mark's. The speed at which rectors came and went from St. Mark's prompted the Bishop of Toronto, Bishop Sweatman, in 1908 “...to issue an ultimatum: co-exist with your pastor or face amalgamation with St. John's”.

The war years of 1914-1918 brought a great deal of hardship to both St. John's and St. Mark's. The era was one of shortages, financial and material. Dr. Oswald Rigby became the thirteenth rector of St. Mark's in late 1918. He was already well-acquainted with the church as he had been Headmaster of Trinity College School from 1903 to 1913. He was rector when coal shortages forced the union of St. John's and St. Mark's during the winter of 1918-1919. Debt also hung over St. Mark's. The Church of England Diocese of Toronto officials felt that because St. John's had the better building, larger congregation and was in a better financial situation than St. Mark's, it made sense to amalgamate the two parishes into one. Supported by the congregation and by Dr. Orchard, Headmaster of TCS and his staff, Dr. Rigby was able to write to Bishop Sweeny early in 1919, informing him that joint services with St. John's would end at the beginning of Lent. That proved to be the last serious attempt by the Diocese to merge the two parishes.

The next serious challenge to the church was a fire in the north east corner of the basement. It burst into flame on the morning of Dec 30th 1925, destroying the ceiling, damaging the north wall, the rafters and roof. Flames raced along under the roof, blackening the roof and supports, all the way to the tower at the west end of the church. Much cosmetic damage was done to the interior. Vestments and seasonal hangings were ruined. But the church itself was saved, thanks to the efforts of local firefighters and volunteers who emptied the church of all they could. Damage amounted to $6,000. Water damage to the organ required it to be repaired by Edward Lye and Sons, Toronto at a cost of an additional $1,000. Evidence of the fire damage can still be seen in the basement of the church and above the rafters in the attic.

Today, damage from the 1925 St. Mark's fire can still be seen in the basement and attic rafters.

Dr. Rigby's time at the church was a very positive period, despite shortages and the fire. A chapter of The Anglican Young People's Association (A.Y.P.A.) was formed, made up of young people who would continue to be active at St. Mark's for many years into the future. In 1926, St. Mark's acquired the old Second Presbyterian Church on Mill Street (now the Skeena Sea Cadets building). It was used as a parish hall and Sunday School well into the 1950's. It had the added benefit of having a stage. St. Marker's had been known for producing theatrical events and now had a great facility to do more. The Rigby Players came into being, a group that continued for the next 25 years at St. Mark's. Dr. Rigby died within months of his retirement in 1933. Under his leadership the church had survived war shortages, threatened amalgamation with St. John's, fire and the start of the Great Depression. His loss was keenly felt.

Rev. Walter Jennings came to St Mark's on May 31, 1933. His tenure was one of stability. The same wardens served for his entire incumbency. The Rigby Players and the A.Y.P.A. continued to serve the congregation. A Men's Club was established in 1938. Rev. Jennings was instrumental in setting up a local Ministerial Association. However, shortly after the start of the Second World War, Rev. Jennings resigned. Subsequently he enlisted as a Flight Lieutenant in the RCAF.

The war years saw three rectors at St. Mark's. The second, Rev. Norman Taylor, also served as chaplain at TCS. The third, Rev. Crosthwait, was an ex-Port Hoper and an Old Boy of Trinity College School. Under his leadership the church celebrated the 70th anniversary of its reopening as St. Mark's. It was Rev. Crosthwait that carried the church through the war years, dealing with personal loss, separation and the stresses of shortages and war work. Over 70 members of the congregation served in the Armed Forces, and four were killed in action.

1946 saw the arrival of Canon Boulden. He had been a master at Trinity College School in 1913, and after serving with the Canadian Army in 1917, returned to TCS. In 1924 he became Head of the Junior School. One of Canon Boulden's first tasks was the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the church building in 1947. The building had not had much attention paid to it since the restoration following the fire of 1925, and was in need of repair. The major theme of Canon Boulden's incumbency was building and expansion.

In 1949, Number 50 King Street was donated to the church for use as a rectory. The Boulden’s were the first family to live in a rectory owned by the church. Interestingly, in 1878, Rev. Baker had lived in the same house during his time at St Mark's (1878 to 1894). In 1956 the house immediately south of the church came up for sale. The church sold 50 King Street and bought 51 King as the new rectory. It remains the rectory to this day. In an age when many parishes are selling their rectories St. Mark's continues to own and maintain its large priest's house. It is an attractive, heritage building (1875) which depends upon the congregation for its upkeep. Various repairs and upgrades have been made since 2000, such as a new roof, new chimneys, new kitchen, new furnace, insulated attic, and new boards for the front porch. As well as employing local trades people for the projects some, such as the kitchen and attic upgrades, provided opportunities for parishioners to pitch-in and help. After the completion of the new parish hall the church office was moved over from its cramped quarters in the back of the rectory. The whole house is now available for the use of the current rector and future incumbents.

Also in 1956, the Mill Street Parish Hall was sold and ground was broken for a new parish hall beside the church. It was opened in May of 1957 by Bishop Snell, who in 1940 had been the rector of St. Mark's.

In 1955, the Anglican School for Girls, now St. Hugh’s House, was established in Port Hope. The three sisters of the Order of St. John who ran it immediately became active parishioners of St. Mark's and brought their residents to services here for decades. Many St. Markers had worked at the home and / or volunteered their time, energy and resources to the benefit of the home. St. Mark's still has some residents as parishioners to this day.

In 1927, Vincent Massey had purchased an estate near Canton, northwest of Port Hope, naming it Batterwood. As the area was part of the parish of St. Mark, Vincent Massey became a parishioner. He attended church faithfully, whenever he was in residence at Batterwood. He and his wife Alice donated the Triptych which is mounted behind the altar at St. Mark's. He and the Massey Foundation were responsible for much of the renovation and restoration work done at St. Mark's from the 1930's to his death in 1967. In 1952, he was the first Canadian to be appointed Governor-General of Canada. During the 1959 Royal Tour, he invited Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to be his guests at Batterwood and to attend Morning Prayer at St. Mark's on July 26, 1959. Mementos of that visit include a signed portrait of the royal couple. The choir are able to wear cassocks of the Royal Livery colour – scarlet - by Royal permission, as a consequence of the visit.

Alice Massey died in 1950 and was buried in the cemetery beside the church. In December of 1967, Vincent Massey died and was buried beside his wife in January of 1968.

In 1972 the congregation celebrated the 150th year of the building of the church. A year-long series of events included visits by past rectors and current and past bishops. The town of Port Hope joined in the celebration as the heritage of St. Mark's was celebrated by the whole community. The Church of St. John the Evangelist joined St. Mark's in celebrating the 153rd year of an Anglican Parish in Port Hope, as well as the continued service being given by their original King Street church.

1972 marked the turning of the sod for St. Mark's Maples Court. This project has continued for almost 50 years and now offers low-cost housing for seniors in 18 units built on land donated by William Brown in memory of his wife. While not legally tied to St. Mark's, St. Markers have served on its board or have provided volunteer services to the project over the years.

In the late 1970s many in the congregation of St. Mark's reached out to the Vietnamese Boat People. Three families were assisted in starting new lives in Ontario.

By 1984, the Warren organ, installed in 1884, was in need of a major overall or replacement. After several organ builders had examined the instrument it was decided that due to several major repairs done over the 100 years of its existence, there was not enough left of the original organ to restore and replacement of the whole was the path to take. In 1986 a new organ, made by Gabriel Kney, was installed within the same case and fronted by the same facade as its predecessor. It was dedicated by the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario as a memorial to those who had served and died in both world wars. A beautiful book of remembrance was created, in which the names of contributors to the organ fund are recorded and which serves as a memorial to parishioners who have died. Every Sunday a devoted parishioner turns the page so that, over time, every name can be read and remembered.

In 1987 St Mark's participated in an effort to provide local teenagers with an alcohol-free venue for music, dancing and companionship. The “Impressions Teen Bar” was an immediate success and ran for several years.

Yet another outreach opportunity for St. Mark's parishioners came to fruition in the late 1980s with the establishment of Abbeyfield House on Bedford Street in Port Hope. This facility provided seniors with a moderate level of residential care.

In 1990, the old church yet again showed its age. It was learned that the tower, built sometime between 1824 and 1832, was in danger of collapse. Immediate action was taken to rebuild and restore the tower. The clapboarding, installed in 1895, was removed. Beneath it was found the original clapboarding installed in 1823 or 1824! Also discovered were the two doors through which parishioners had access to the galleries on the north and south sides of the nave. In 1895, these galleries were removed and the doors were sealed and covered over with clapboard.

The cost of the 1990 rebuilding was very large, and led to the realization that the current congregation was too small to finance such repairs by itself. The St. Mark's Heritage Foundation was created in 1995, dedicated to preserving the fabric of the church. Donations were, and still are, received from all those interested in preserving such an old frame church, regardless of religious affiliation.

In 1997, the church once again had a major celebration, this time for the 175th anniversary of the building of the little frame church on King Street. As in 1972, the celebration lasted the entire year, with concerts, galas, dinners, and visits by political and church leaders. A highlight of the year was the visit by the Bishop of Quebec. You will remember that until 1839 Port Hope was part of the very large Diocese of Quebec.

St. Mark's Continues into the Twenty-First Century[edit]

The 21st Century started with a major restoration. In 2000 it became painfully apparent that the entire structure of the church needed to be rebuilt and reinforced. Thank Heavens for the St. Mark's Heritage Foundation! A four-year restoration project was undertaken, the most extensive restoration of St. Mark's since 1895. Clapboard was removed, rotten beams and supports replaced, floors rebuilt, window sills replaced. Several original architectural features were uncovered in the process.

Interior of St. Mark's Church as it appears today.

Principle among these was the rediscovery of the lower half of the East Window. This window, originally built in 1842 at the east end of the new chancel, had been filled with stained glass in the St. John's motif, perhaps in 1852. After 1876 (the exact date is unknown) the upper half of the window was made into a memorial stained glass window in memory of John Young and his wife, Anne Breen. The lower half of the window retained its original 1852 stained glass with the St. John's motif. In 1895, the lower half of the window was covered over by clapboarding, and over the years, it was forgotten. Today, the old 1850s stained glass is visible from the lawn at the east end of the church.

This window, originally built in 1842 at the east end of the new chancel, had been filled with stained glass in the St. John's motif, perhaps in 1852.

By 2011, the Parish Hall, originally built in 1956/57 was in need of a face lift. Thanks to the generosity of a visionary member of the congregation a fund was established, growing in size to cover the cost of a major rebuilding of the hall. The main hall was transformed into a space more suitable for hosting gatherings, the kitchen was modernized and made suitable for catering to all kinds of events; a church office and an office for the rector were added to the main floor, while upstairs two large meeting rooms were created and a mezzanine overlooking the hall was created.

In 2015/16, St. Mark's once again showed its community spirit in working together with other area churches to assist a Syrian refugee family to enter Canada and find a home and employment nearby.

St. Mark's Cemetery[edit]

The Parish of St. John the Evangelist, Port Hope, began in 1819. The burying ground on King Street (then Smith Street) was established at the same time, the first burial occurring on April 28, 1819. In 1830 Bishop Stewart of Quebec visited Port Hope and officially consecrated the burying ground and dedicated it to St. John. By the 1850s burial within town limits was being discouraged. In 1853 the Diocese of Toronto purchased an 8 acre piece of land west of Toronto Road on which St. John's Anglican Cemetery was established. Burials in the new cemetery commenced in 1863. Few burials have occurred on King Street since then. In 1869, the church on King Street was closed, reopening in 1873 as St. Mark's Anglican Church. The cemetery was dedicated to St. Mark in the same year. Also in 1873 came the legislated end to burials within municipal boundaries. After this date only burials granted exemption from the law were permitted. Most notable of these were the 1950 internment of Alice Massey, and the 1968 internment of her husband, The Right Honourable Vincent Massey, first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada. In the mid 1980s the King Street cemetery was reopened for cremation burials only.

According to the Port Hope historical web site “A Living Past”, about 220 burials were made in this ground between the years 1819 and 1873. Dates on the old stones in the cemetery reflect this whole period. Two separate transcriptions of the cemetery have been done, the latest in 1978, which showed 96 old stones. The earlier list shows 39 more stones than the 1978 list. The date of the earlier list is unknown and it can no longer be found.

In the 1880s an unknown number of deceased were disinterred from the King Street cemetery and reburied in the St. John's Anglican Cemetery on Toronto Road. There are no records of which bodies were moved. Recent research has identified two such reburials – Lucy Shortt, wife of Rector Jonathan Shortt was originally buried “beside the church” at King Street on her death in 1849 but now rests close to Jonathan Shortt in the clergy section of St. John's Anglican Cemetery. An 8-year old, Adeline Ann Scott, was also moved to the Toronto Road cemetery. A foot stone with the initials A. A. S. was found on a neighbouring property in 2013, and is now in the St. Mark's Archive.

Because of years of neglect at various times in its history some gravestones were lost or displaced. Photographs taken before 1895 show large numbers of markers visible north of the church. Even a mid- 1940s photograph taken from the north side of the church shows a fair number of standing stones compared to today. Dr. William Walton-Ball, whose family has had a long association with the church, was instrumental in rescuing many of the stones and organizing the cemetery. In the basement of the church are found fragments of stones, all of which have been photographed. Some of these stones are included in the list of lost stones made in 1978. It is hoped that some day these can be mounted in a memorial wall placed within the King Street cemetery.

In the 1950s Herb Long made restoration and landscaping of the cemetery one of his major projects for the church. In advance of the Queen's visit in 1959 the cemetery was tidied. Because of the risk of people standing on top of stones, some were laid flat and buried. In the 1970s there are reports of members of the parish walking over the graveyard with sharp metal poles, locating and uncovering these displaced stones. In the 1980s, using what were considered 'best practices' of the day, complete and fragmented stones were laid flat and set in concrete.

A funeral procession on the grounds of St. Mark's Cemetery

The oldest original stone still in the churchyard is that of Eliza Ann Shepherd, who died in 1822. The stone is in row 5, closest stone to the church. The oldest burial, still marked, is that of Elias Smith, died 1820. His name is listed on a modern metal plaque on the Smith monument to the east of the church. The burial register for the years 1819-1822, recently found in the Diocese of Toronto Archive, shows earlier burials in the cemetery but they are no longer marked or visible.

The positions of stones at the front of the cemetery are probably correct, although photographs taken before 1895 show that there were many more stones in evidence than there are today. The original plot map of the cemetery was lost long ago, but not before some families marked their plots with modern stones. There are two rows of stones laid in concrete at the east end of the cemetery. These have been relocated from other sites within the cemetery and do not necessarily mark grave sites.

Summary[edit]

Before closing, mention must be made of the many community events throughout the year that are attended by many in the municipality of Port Hope and beyond. The year starts with St. Mark's legendary “Pancake Supper”, held on Shrove Tuesday. Summer brings the “Attic Treasures & Basement Bargains” sale of quality used items. The Hollyberry Bazaar in November, with its quilt auction, preserves tables and tea room is another of the Church's popular community events. “Creches from Around the World” (first weekend in December) is a display of nativity sets showing how different cultures have interpreted the familiar story. The selection of creches varies from year to year. Then the “Christmas at St. Mark's” event, a gathering of artists and craftspeople from the area is held in early December, a good opportunity for early Christmas shopping. Finally, the Church hosts the Christmas Dinner, held Christmas Day to which all of Port Hope is invited, especially those who have few family to celebrate with or who are in need. Our official history, Time Was, tells of similar events held ever since the founding of the parish in 1819.

The church is now approaching three major anniversaries. The first, in 2019, is the 200th anniversary of the Parish of St. John the Evangelist, originally established on King Street, where St. Mark's is now. In 2022, the 200th anniversary of the start of construction of the King Street church will be celebrated, in company with St John the Evangelist, as the King Street church was their original building. In 2023, the Parish of St. Mark will celebrate its 150th year.

The relationship between the two Anglican parishes in Port Hope has often been collaborative, with clergy of one assisting the other in times of illness or personal loss. Today the churches share the Wednesday Eucharist month by month. St. Mark's supports free dinners held at St. John's, with St. Markers volunteering regularly for this event. St. Markers also volunteer with the thrift shop, operated by St. John's in the basement of their beautiful church. Anniversaries, such as the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the first Anglican parish in town, have been celebrated together. St. John's Church on Pine Street has many memorial plaques and windows named for those who are important to the existence of both parishes.

It is important to remind ourselves that St. Mark's has always been a community church. Since the 1950s St. Mark's has sponsored St. Mark's Scouting groups (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) in its parish hall. St. Mark's holds their charter, without which they couldn't exist. They are officially known by our name, which appears on their neckerchiefs. In the last 50 years we have been deeply involved with St. Hugh’s House, Vietnamese Boat People, St. Mark's Maples Court, Impressions Teen Bar, Abbeyfield House, Green Wood Coalition, the Syrian refugees of this decade and many other projects and issues within the town. This simple, beautiful frame parish church still has a proud history ahead of it.

St. Mark’s Anglican Church - Port Hope, Ontario, Canada[edit]

A Brief History of St Mark's[edit]

Origins[edit]

Port Hope's origins date back to June of 1793 when a group of settlers, under the leadership of Elias Smith and Jonathan Walton, arrived at the mouth of the Ganaraska River. The area was under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Quebec (Church of England).

For many years, the community was served by travelling missionaries. In Port Hope, services were held at people's homes, often at the Ward homestead where the TCS lodge now stands. Port Hope and other neighbouring communities wanted a permanent rector to serve them but such was not forthcoming from the Diocese. Finally, Rev. William Macaulay was appointed the First Resident Missionary to Hamilton (Township), responsible for all the communities in the area. His successor, in 1827, was Rev. Alexander Neil Bethune, who was later to become Bishop of Toronto and instrumental in the later history of St. Mark's.

Built in 1822, and featured in an 1841 Bartlett print, St Mark’s is a small, beautiful National Treasure. The church was erected by the work of the congregation, on land donated by Elias Smith, the founder of Port Hope.

These 'travelling missionaries' had huge territories to cover. Rev Macaulay's ministry extended north at least to Ida, on what is now County Road 10, encompassing many fledgling communities. His area extended east, perhaps further than Grafton, and west to Newcastle or Bowmanville. “Travelling” was the key word. Services were held in each community he visited, and it sometimes was weeks between visits and hence services in any one community.

In 1819, the “Parish of St John the Evangelist Port Hope and Vicinity” was created. A cemetery was established on Smith Street (now King Street), Port Hope, on land donated by Elias Smith and Jonathan Walton, land which was to be used for a church, a rectory, a cemetery and a school. The first burial in the newly created cemetery was in April, 1819. (The actual transfer of the land did not occur until August of 1824, four years after Elias Smith's death and five years after the establishment of the parish and cemetery.)

An 1833 watercolour painting of the town of Port Hope shows the Church of St. John the Evangelist high up on Protestant Hill, with its tower, and presumably its bell. The same bell still rings at each Sunday service today.

In 1822 construction started on the frame church, situated immediately south of the cemetery. Construction continued until 1824. It can be imagined, then, that materials and labour were being donated for the project as they became available over the two year period. We know that lumber was donated by the Haskill family as they cleared farm land on the west end of town. The builders of Canada House, including Captain Wallace and an ancestor of Norm Strong, are credited with helping construct the building. The church then was a simple rectangle, starting where the east wall of the tower now stands and ending where the transepts are now. The windows were clear glass and rectangular. The tower was probably built a few years later.

In 1828 Charles James Stewart, Second Lord Bishop of Quebec, arrived to consecrate the church and officially dedicate it to St. John the Evangelist. The cemetery was consecrated and also dedicated to St. John the Evangelist in 1830.

St. Mark's church bell, donated by Jonathan Walton, is dated 1826. Based on an 1870 interview with a person identified only as O. T. (Old- Timer) reported in the Weekly Evening Guide of the day, local historian Harold Reeves believed the bell was actually delivered to Port Hope in 1832.

As the community of Port Hope grew, so did the congregation of St. John the Evangelist. In 1830, the Reverend James Coghlan was named First Resident Missionary of Port Hope. He, like many ministers of the day, needed an outside income. He built a large house, called Larkspur, west of Danforth Road (now called Toronto Road) and opened a school. On Rev. Coghlan's return to England in 1836, St. John the Evangelist Port Hope received its first Rector. He was Jonathan Shortt. Reverend Shortt, with his wife, Lucy, moved into the house built by James Coghlan, and continued the school until Lucy Shortt's death in 1849. In 1839, St. John the Evangelist became a parish within the newly created Diocese of Toronto.

From 1852 to 1895, this is how the exterior of St. Mark's Church looked.

Rev. Shortt was responsible for the entire Township of Hope, and “some distance beyond”. Until 1846, Clarke and Cavan townships were covered by Rev. Shortt as well. In 1841, Perrytown received its own rector and after 1846, Clarke and Cavan received their own rectors.

Under Rev. Shortt, the parish of St. John the Evangelist experienced strong growth. In 1842, the church was significantly expanded with the addition of the chancel to the east end of the church and the installation of galleries on three sides of the nave. The East Window was constructed at this time, as a tall, rectangular window and probably plain clear glass.

Growth continued through the 1840s and by 1850 the church was again bursting at the seams. In 1852/53 another ambitious expansion was completed, with the addition of a north and a south transept. The galleries were rounded into the transepts and both transepts were filled with pews to provide additional seating. At the same time, the ceiling was raised, and the windows were enlarged with the addition of Gothic arches. It is possible that at this time the East Window was filled with stained glass, in the St. John's motif.

In 1852, a Willis pipe organ, imported from England, was installed in the church. It replaced a small manual pump organ the church had purchased in 1843.

By 1855 growth of the parish had outstripped the ability of the frame church on King Street to hold its congregation. In spite of the extensive additions to the building in the past 13 years, the overall condition of the frame church had deteriorated to the point where a major renovation or reconstruction was necessary. On top of these two factors, growth in Port Hope was concentrated on the west side of the Ganaraska, in Englishtown, making the King Street location of St. John the Evangelist inconvenient for many parishioners. For these reasons the congregation leadership began to look for another location and to consider the replacement of the King Street building. By 1865 the Pine Street site had been purchased and construction started on a much larger, brick-built church. In 1869, the first services were held in the new Pine Street building of St John the Evangelist, and the King Street location was closed.

As St. John's Pine Street did not have a suitable parish hall, the King Street building was used as a Sunday School. But by 1871, the frame structure had deteriorated to the extent that even this limited use was halted. The Willis organ, installed in 1852, was dismantled and removed from the church in November of 1871. Following that, the building was abandoned.

The Parish of St. Mark[edit]

Not everyone in the Church of England in Canada congregation was happy with the move to Pine Street. The Wards, Whiteheads, Calcutts, Tempests and part of the Smart family led a group, known as the “Memorialists”, to preserve the old church. They believed that there was sufficient population and potential for growth east of the Ganaraska to support a separate parish. In 1872 the group petitioned for the reopening of the church and once sufficient signatures had been obtained the petition was sent to Bishop Alexander Neil Bethune. After a short investigation and hearing, Bishop Bethune approved division of the Parish of St John the Evangelist into two parishes – one served by the newly constructed Church on Pine Street and the other to be served by the reopened King Street church. The “Memorialists” began to restore and renovate the old frame church. In May of 1873 Rev. C. W. Paterson arrived as the new incumbent. On August 3rd of 1873, Bishop Bethune visited the King Street church and rededicated the church and the cemetery to St. Mark. The Parish of St. Mark was born.

The new parish flourished at the start. Sunday School attendance in the fall of 1873 was 120 people. To the end of 1874 there were 76 baptisms, thirteen marriages and twelve funerals. This was one of the most active periods in the church's history. A monthly publication was started, “St. Mark's Parish Magazine” and was continued through all of 1874.

Interior of St. Mark's Church Circa. 1895

By the mid-1880s economic conditions had worsened and the church was facing hard times. In spite of these financial hardships the congregation decided to acquire a new pipe organ. This one was supplied by S. R. Warren & Son of Toronto. The organ was installed in May and early June of 1884. An announcement in the Evening Guide called the organ “one of the finest instruments made by this firm”. The congregation had to take out a mortgage on the organ in 1885 in order to complete payment for it. The loan was repaid in 1889, on schedule.

The economic situation meant that little money had been available for upkeep of the church. When Rev. Kenrick arrived in June of 1895 he immediately set to work to refurbish the old building. New clapboard covered the exterior. The tower was raised six feet. Crawl spaces were excavated under the church to allow the installation of wood or coal furnaces, finally replacing the aisle stoves that had heated the church to this point. The interior of the church was transformed with the removal of the galleries on the north and south sides of the church, and in the vestibule, the removal of one of the staircases leading up to the west gallery. Screens separated the transepts from the body of the church; a chapel was created in the south transept, the altar platform was raised and an “imposing new altar” was installed. Electric lights were installed for the first time. Shortly after the main renovation, a massive oak reredos was installed behind the altar, and dedicated to the memory of Rev. Baker, who had served as rector in St. Mark's until his death in 1894.

The church we see today is basically as it was in 1895. Some changes since include the installation of the choir screen in 1904, the addition of the Triptych in January of 1950 and the replacement of the altar in 1962.

St. Mark's Anglican Church in the 20th Century[edit]

As St. Mark's entered the 20th Century, a period of instability began. In the 19th Century St. Mark's had enjoyed the leadership of five rectors over a period of 78 years. Such long-serving rectors were scarce up to and during the First World War. From 1900 to 1918, no less than seven rectors passed through St. Mark's. The speed at which rectors came and went from St. Mark's prompted the Bishop of Toronto, Bishop Sweatman, in 1908 “...to issue an ultimatum: co-exist with your pastor or face amalgamation with St. John's”.

The war years of 1914-1918 brought a great deal of hardship to both St. John's and St. Mark's. The era was one of shortages, financial and material. Dr. Oswald Rigby became the thirteenth rector of St. Mark's in late 1918. He was already well-acquainted with the church as he had been Headmaster of Trinity College School from 1903 to 1913. He was rector when coal shortages forced the union of St. John's and St. Mark's during the winter of 1918-1919. Debt also hung over St. Mark's. The Church of England Diocese of Toronto officials felt that because St. John's had the better building, larger congregation and was in a better financial situation than St. Mark's, it made sense to amalgamate the two parishes into one. Supported by the congregation and by Dr. Orchard, Headmaster of TCS and his staff, Dr. Rigby was able to write to Bishop Sweeny early in 1919, informing him that joint services with St. John's would end at the beginning of Lent. That proved to be the last serious attempt by the Diocese to merge the two parishes.

The next serious challenge to the church was a fire in the north east corner of the basement. It burst into flame on the morning of Dec 30th 1925, destroying the ceiling, damaging the north wall, the rafters and roof. Flames raced along under the roof, blackening the roof and supports, all the way to the tower at the west end of the church. Much cosmetic damage was done to the interior. Vestments and seasonal hangings were ruined. But the church itself was saved, thanks to the efforts of local firefighters and volunteers who emptied the church of all they could. Damage amounted to $6,000. Water damage to the organ required it to be repaired by Edward Lye and Sons, Toronto at a cost of an additional $1,000. Evidence of the fire damage can still be seen in the basement of the church and above the rafters in the attic.

Today, damage from the 1925 St. Mark's fire can still be seen in the basement and attic rafters.

Dr. Rigby's time at the church was a very positive period, despite shortages and the fire. A chapter of The Anglican Young People's Association (A.Y.P.A.) was formed, made up of young people who would continue to be active at St. Mark's for many years into the future. In 1926, St. Mark's acquired the old Second Presbyterian Church on Mill Street (now the Skeena Sea Cadets building). It was used as a parish hall and Sunday School well into the 1950's. It had the added benefit of having a stage. St. Marker's had been known for producing theatrical events and now had a great facility to do more. The Rigby Players came into being, a group that continued for the next 25 years at St. Mark's. Dr. Rigby died within months of his retirement in 1933. Under his leadership the church had survived war shortages, threatened amalgamation with St. John's, fire and the start of the Great Depression. His loss was keenly felt.

Rev. Walter Jennings came to St Mark's on May 31, 1933. His tenure was one of stability. The same wardens served for his entire incumbency. The Rigby Players and the A.Y.P.A. continued to serve the congregation. A Men's Club was established in 1938. Rev. Jennings was instrumental in setting up a local Ministerial Association. However, shortly after the start of the Second World War, Rev. Jennings resigned. Subsequently he enlisted as a Flight Lieutenant in the RCAF.

The war years saw three rectors at St. Mark's. The second, Rev. Norman Taylor, also served as chaplain at TCS. The third, Rev. Crosthwait, was an ex-Port Hoper and an Old Boy of Trinity College School. Under his leadership the church celebrated the 70th anniversary of its reopening as St. Mark's. It was Rev. Crosthwait that carried the church through the war years, dealing with personal loss, separation and the stresses of shortages and war work. Over 70 members of the congregation served in the Armed Forces, and four were killed in action.

1946 saw the arrival of Canon Boulden. He had been a master at Trinity College School in 1913, and after serving with the Canadian Army in 1917, returned to TCS. In 1924 he became Head of the Junior School. One of Canon Boulden's first tasks was the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the church building in 1947. The building had not had much attention paid to it since the restoration following the fire of 1925, and was in need of repair. The major theme of Canon Boulden's incumbency was building and expansion.

In 1949, Number 50 King Street was donated to the church for use as a rectory. The Boulden’s were the first family to live in a rectory owned by the church. Interestingly, in 1878, Rev. Baker had lived in the same house during his time at St Mark's (1878 to 1894). In 1956 the house immediately south of the church came up for sale. The church sold 50 King Street and bought 51 King as the new rectory. It remains the rectory to this day. In an age when many parishes are selling their rectories St. Mark's continues to own and maintain its large priest's house. It is an attractive, heritage building (1875) which depends upon the congregation for its upkeep. Various repairs and upgrades have been made since 2000, such as a new roof, new chimneys, new kitchen, new furnace, insulated attic, and new boards for the front porch. As well as employing local trades people for the projects some, such as the kitchen and attic upgrades, provided opportunities for parishioners to pitch-in and help. After the completion of the new parish hall the church office was moved over from its cramped quarters in the back of the rectory. The whole house is now available for the use of the current rector and future incumbents.

Also in 1956, the Mill Street Parish Hall was sold and ground was broken for a new parish hall beside the church. It was opened in May of 1957 by Bishop Snell, who in 1940 had been the rector of St. Mark's.

In 1955, the Anglican School for Girls, now St. Hugh’s House, was established in Port Hope. The three sisters of the Order of St. John who ran it immediately became active parishioners of St. Mark's and brought their residents to services here for decades. Many St. Markers had worked at the home and / or volunteered their time, energy and resources to the benefit of the home. St. Mark's still has some residents as parishioners to this day.

In 1927, Vincent Massey had purchased an estate near Canton, northwest of Port Hope, naming it Batterwood. As the area was part of the parish of St. Mark, Vincent Massey became a parishioner. He attended church faithfully, whenever he was in residence at Batterwood. He and his wife Alice donated the Triptych which is mounted behind the altar at St. Mark's. He and the Massey Foundation were responsible for much of the renovation and restoration work done at St. Mark's from the 1930's to his death in 1967. In 1952, he was the first Canadian to be appointed Governor-General of Canada. During the 1959 Royal Tour, he invited Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to be his guests at Batterwood and to attend Morning Prayer at St. Mark's on July 26, 1959. Mementos of that visit include a signed portrait of the royal couple. The choir are able to wear cassocks of the Royal Livery colour – scarlet - by Royal permission, as a consequence of the visit.

Alice Massey died in 1950 and was buried in the cemetery beside the church. In December of 1967, Vincent Massey died and was buried beside his wife in January of 1968.

In 1972 the congregation celebrated the 150th year of the building of the church. A year-long series of events included visits by past rectors and current and past bishops. The town of Port Hope joined in the celebration as the heritage of St. Mark's was celebrated by the whole community. The Church of St. John the Evangelist joined St. Mark's in celebrating the 153rd year of an Anglican Parish in Port Hope, as well as the continued service being given by their original King Street church.

1972 marked the turning of the sod for St. Mark's Maples Court. This project has continued for almost 50 years and now offers low-cost housing for seniors in 18 units built on land donated by William Brown in memory of his wife. While not legally tied to St. Mark's, St. Markers have served on its board or have provided volunteer services to the project over the years.

In the late 1970s many in the congregation of St. Mark's reached out to the Vietnamese Boat People. Three families were assisted in starting new lives in Ontario.

By 1984, the Warren organ, installed in 1884, was in need of a major overall or replacement. After several organ builders had examined the instrument it was decided that due to several major repairs done over the 100 years of its existence, there was not enough left of the original organ to restore and replacement of the whole was the path to take. In 1986 a new organ, made by Gabriel Kney, was installed within the same case and fronted by the same facade as its predecessor. It was dedicated by the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario as a memorial to those who had served and died in both world wars. A beautiful book of remembrance was created, in which the names of contributors to the organ fund are recorded and which serves as a memorial to parishioners who have died. Every Sunday a devoted parishioner turns the page so that, over time, every name can be read and remembered.

In 1987 St Mark's participated in an effort to provide local teenagers with an alcohol-free venue for music, dancing and companionship. The “Impressions Teen Bar” was an immediate success and ran for several years.

Yet another outreach opportunity for St. Mark's parishioners came to fruition in the late 1980s with the establishment of Abbeyfield House on Bedford Street in Port Hope. This facility provided seniors with a moderate level of residential care.

In 1990, the old church yet again showed its age. It was learned that the tower, built sometime between 1824 and 1832, was in danger of collapse. Immediate action was taken to rebuild and restore the tower. The clapboarding, installed in 1895, was removed. Beneath it was found the original clapboarding installed in 1823 or 1824! Also discovered were the two doors through which parishioners had access to the galleries on the north and south sides of the nave. In 1895, these galleries were removed and the doors were sealed and covered over with clapboard.

The cost of the 1990 rebuilding was very large, and led to the realization that the current congregation was too small to finance such repairs by itself. The St. Mark's Heritage Foundation was created in 1995, dedicated to preserving the fabric of the church. Donations were, and still are, received from all those interested in preserving such an old frame church, regardless of religious affiliation.

In 1997, the church once again had a major celebration, this time for the 175th anniversary of the building of the little frame church on King Street. As in 1972, the celebration lasted the entire year, with concerts, galas, dinners, and visits by political and church leaders. A highlight of the year was the visit by the Bishop of Quebec. You will remember that until 1839 Port Hope was part of the very large Diocese of Quebec.

St. Mark's Continues into the Twenty-First Century[edit]

The 21st Century started with a major restoration. In 2000 it became painfully apparent that the entire structure of the church needed to be rebuilt and reinforced. Thank Heavens for the St. Mark's Heritage Foundation! A four-year restoration project was undertaken, the most extensive restoration of St. Mark's since 1895. Clapboard was removed, rotten beams and supports replaced, floors rebuilt, window sills replaced. Several original architectural features were uncovered in the process.

Interior of St. Mark's Church as it appears today.

Principle among these was the rediscovery of the lower half of the East Window. This window, originally built in 1842 at the east end of the new chancel, had been filled with stained glass in the St. John's motif, perhaps in 1852. After 1876 (the exact date is unknown) the upper half of the window was made into a memorial stained glass window in memory of John Young and his wife, Anne Breen. The lower half of the window retained its original 1852 stained glass with the St. John's motif. In 1895, the lower half of the window was covered over by clapboarding, and over the years, it was forgotten. Today, the old 1850s stained glass is visible from the lawn at the east end of the church.

This window, originally built in 1842 at the east end of the new chancel, had been filled with stained glass in the St. John's motif, perhaps in 1852.

By 2011, the Parish Hall, originally built in 1956/57 was in need of a face lift. Thanks to the generosity of a visionary member of the congregation a fund was established, growing in size to cover the cost of a major rebuilding of the hall. The main hall was transformed into a space more suitable for hosting gatherings, the kitchen was modernized and made suitable for catering to all kinds of events; a church office and an office for the rector were added to the main floor, while upstairs two large meeting rooms were created and a mezzanine overlooking the hall was created.

In 2015/16, St. Mark's once again showed its community spirit in working together with other area churches to assist a Syrian refugee family to enter Canada and find a home and employment nearby.

St. Mark's Cemetery[edit]

The Parish of St. John the Evangelist, Port Hope, began in 1819. The burying ground on King Street (then Smith Street) was established at the same time, the first burial occurring on April 28, 1819. In 1830 Bishop Stewart of Quebec visited Port Hope and officially consecrated the burying ground and dedicated it to St. John. By the 1850s burial within town limits was being discouraged. In 1853 the Diocese of Toronto purchased an 8 acre piece of land west of Toronto Road on which St. John's Anglican Cemetery was established. Burials in the new cemetery commenced in 1863. Few burials have occurred on King Street since then. In 1869, the church on King Street was closed, reopening in 1873 as St. Mark's Anglican Church. The cemetery was dedicated to St. Mark in the same year. Also in 1873 came the legislated end to burials within municipal boundaries. After this date only burials granted exemption from the law were permitted. Most notable of these were the 1950 internment of Alice Massey, and the 1968 internment of her husband, The Right Honourable Vincent Massey, first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada. In the mid 1980s the King Street cemetery was reopened for cremation burials only.

According to the Port Hope historical web site “A Living Past”, about 220 burials were made in this ground between the years 1819 and 1873. Dates on the old stones in the cemetery reflect this whole period. Two separate transcriptions of the cemetery have been done, the latest in 1978, which showed 96 old stones. The earlier list shows 39 more stones than the 1978 list. The date of the earlier list is unknown and it can no longer be found.

In the 1880s an unknown number of deceased were disinterred from the King Street cemetery and reburied in the St. John's Anglican Cemetery on Toronto Road. There are no records of which bodies were moved. Recent research has identified two such reburials – Lucy Shortt, wife of Rector Jonathan Shortt was originally buried “beside the church” at King Street on her death in 1849 but now rests close to Jonathan Shortt in the clergy section of St. John's Anglican Cemetery. An 8-year old, Adeline Ann Scott, was also moved to the Toronto Road cemetery. A foot stone with the initials A. A. S. was found on a neighbouring property in 2013, and is now in the St. Mark's Archive.

Because of years of neglect at various times in its history some gravestones were lost or displaced. Photographs taken before 1895 show large numbers of markers visible north of the church. Even a mid- 1940s photograph taken from the north side of the church shows a fair number of standing stones compared to today. Dr. William Walton-Ball, whose family has had a long association with the church, was instrumental in rescuing many of the stones and organizing the cemetery. In the basement of the church are found fragments of stones, all of which have been photographed. Some of these stones are included in the list of lost stones made in 1978. It is hoped that some day these can be mounted in a memorial wall placed within the King Street cemetery.

In the 1950s Herb Long made restoration and landscaping of the cemetery one of his major projects for the church. In advance of the Queen's visit in 1959 the cemetery was tidied. Because of the risk of people standing on top of stones, some were laid flat and buried. In the 1970s there are reports of members of the parish walking over the graveyard with sharp metal poles, locating and uncovering these displaced stones. In the 1980s, using what were considered 'best practices' of the day, complete and fragmented stones were laid flat and set in concrete.

A funeral procession on the grounds of St. Mark's Cemetery

The oldest original stone still in the churchyard is that of Eliza Ann Shepherd, who died in 1822. The stone is in row 5, closest stone to the church. The oldest burial, still marked, is that of Elias Smith, died 1820. His name is listed on a modern metal plaque on the Smith monument to the east of the church. The burial register for the years 1819-1822, recently found in the Diocese of Toronto Archive, shows earlier burials in the cemetery but they are no longer marked or visible.

The positions of stones at the front of the cemetery are probably correct, although photographs taken before 1895 show that there were many more stones in evidence than there are today. The original plot map of the cemetery was lost long ago, but not before some families marked their plots with modern stones. There are two rows of stones laid in concrete at the east end of the cemetery. These have been relocated from other sites within the cemetery and do not necessarily mark grave sites.

Summary[edit]

Before closing, mention must be made of the many community events throughout the year that are attended by many in the municipality of Port Hope and beyond. The year starts with St. Mark's legendary “Pancake Supper”, held on Shrove Tuesday. Summer brings the “Attic Treasures & Basement Bargains” sale of quality used items. The Hollyberry Bazaar in November, with its quilt auction, preserves tables and tea room is another of the Church's popular community events. “Creches from Around the World” (first weekend in December) is a display of nativity sets showing how different cultures have interpreted the familiar story. The selection of creches varies from year to year. Then the “Christmas at St. Mark's” event, a gathering of artists and craftspeople from the area is held in early December, a good opportunity for early Christmas shopping. Finally, the Church hosts the Christmas Dinner, held Christmas Day to which all of Port Hope is invited, especially those who have few family to celebrate with or who are in need. Our official history, Time Was, tells of similar events held ever since the founding of the parish in 1819.

The church is now approaching three major anniversaries. The first, in 2019, is the 200th anniversary of the Parish of St. John the Evangelist, originally established on King Street, where St. Mark's is now. In 2022, the 200th anniversary of the start of construction of the King Street church will be celebrated, in company with St John the Evangelist, as the King Street church was their original building. In 2023, the Parish of St. Mark will celebrate its 150th year.

The relationship between the two Anglican parishes in Port Hope has often been collaborative, with clergy of one assisting the other in times of illness or personal loss. Today the churches share the Wednesday Eucharist month by month. St. Mark's supports free dinners held at St. John's, with St. Markers volunteering regularly for this event. St. Markers also volunteer with the thrift shop, operated by St. John's in the basement of their beautiful church. Anniversaries, such as the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the first Anglican parish in town, have been celebrated together. St. John's Church on Pine Street has many memorial plaques and windows named for those who are important to the existence of both parishes.

It is important to remind ourselves that St. Mark's has always been a community church. Since the 1950s St. Mark's has sponsored St. Mark's Scouting groups (Beavers, Cubs and Scouts) in its parish hall. St. Mark's holds their charter, without which they couldn't exist. They are officially known by our name, which appears on their neckerchiefs. In the last 50 years we have been deeply involved with St. Hugh’s House, Vietnamese Boat People, St. Mark's Maples Court, Impressions Teen Bar, Abbeyfield House, Green Wood Coalition, the Syrian refugees of this decade and many other projects and issues within the town. This simple, beautiful frame parish church still has a proud history ahead of it.