Saint Mark's Episcopal Church was founded in 1837. Occasional services began in homes before incorporation around 1826. The first church was built in 1838 at 317 Main Street. In the late 1860s, however, due to what was apparently a significant difference of opinion on the subject of slavery, a large number of Saint Mark’s members withdrew from the church and established a new congregation called Grace Church. It lasted long enough to purchase land on the corner of Main and Clinton Streets and start building the foundation of a church—but that congregation sputtered out. By 1875, members of both churches were again attending the same service, and there was a reorganization. Soon after, the reunited congregation members were busy raising money to demolish the old church and sell the lot it stood on, and then build the new church on the foundation of the building that Grace Church had started. The new Saint Mark’s was consecrated for use as an Episcopal Church on Thursday, October 30, 1879.
A description of the consecration from the Yates County Chronicle reads, “The day was bright and auspicious. Long before that hour, the little Church was filled to overflowing by the faithful flock, and their friends, who had labored for many weary, anxious days in various ways and by honorable and heroic endeavors to rear a temple of worship to the Living God, and whose happy faces attested the fact that their prayers had been answered; that the achievement of the glorious work was accomplished, and that their religious house was completed, paid for and the solemn act of consecration was at hand.”
Saint Mark’s has continued to grow, redefine ourselves, and flourish—and we are still rejoicing!