St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the oldest of three established Episcopal Churches in Irving, Texas, was organized by the Rev. William Fox, then residing in Grand Prairie. Eight persons were in attendance for the first celebration of Holy Communion, which took place in the Irving Public Library on January 12, 1947. The Rev. Clarence Westapher was the first resident vicar, coming to St. Mark’s in July 1947. In September of that year the congregation moved into a converted garage apartment at Sixth and O’Connor Streets. The garage was the chapel and the apartment became the priest’s residence.
Father Westapher served the parish until 1950, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Jim McLain.
In 1952, The Rev. William G. Brook became rector, a post that he held until his death in 1963. He was followed by The Rev. Benjamin Harrison who remained at St. Mark’s until the summer of 1965. In August of 1965, The Rev. Courtland Moore arrived from All Saints parish in Weatherford, Texas, to become the new rector. Father Moore left St. Mark’s in October 1971, to become the Administrative Assistant to the Bishop of Dallas.
The Rev. Ewart Rowland arrived in August 1972 from Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, where he was Vicar of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. Father Rowland served our parish faithfully until he died during the 10:00 a.m. Holy Communion service on February 27, 1994.
A long-time parish member and Assistant Priest, the Rev. Johnny Johnson, served as interim rector until the church called The Rev. Kenneth Hunter from St. James Church, Newport Beach, California. Father Hunter served as pastor from March of 1995 until his departure in the summer of 1996.
The Rev. Laurens Williams served as interim rector until December 1997, at which time the church called The Rev. Michael Malone. Father Malone served as rector until July 2001, when he accepted a call from a parish in Virginia, his home state.
The Rev. Laurens Williams again served as interim rector until the church called the Rev. Keith J. Roberson who served as rector at St. Mark’s from January 2003 until April 2006.
St. Mark’s welcomed The Rev. Greg Pickens from Holy Trinity, Garland, as priest in charge on Nov. 1, 2006. In March of 2012, Father Bob Corley was welcomed as priest in charge and is currently serving as the Rector of St. Mark’s.
Growth of the Church
St. Mark’s is located in the historic southern part of Irving and during the 70-year history of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, a complete change has been wrought at the corner of Sixth and O’Connor, from the original garage apartment.
The main sanctuary was built in 1952 and seats approximately 225 people. The adjacent chapel also seats approximately 25. In 1966, new additions included a wing for offices, a stone bell tower, a parlor/meeting room and a covered walkway. This wing now also houses the Ewart Rowland Memorial Chapel and the Silver Lion Book and Gift Shop.
In 1984, the parish hall and kitchen were renovated. Three years later a two-story, ten-room Sunday School wing and Children’s Chapel were constructed. The Rowland Memorial Chapel is currently also used as a columbarium.
The church library boasts a collection of more than 1,900 books and in 2001, a new organ was installed.
The grounds at St. Mark’s include three parking lots and a Memorial Garden. Our church property is joined on the west by the City of Irving’s lovely Centennial Park.