First St. Mark, at 147 years old, is alive and well! During these years, twelve pastors and their assistants, deacons, and trustees have come on the scene and steered the ship. The First St. Mark Baptist Church was established in Houston, Texas in 1869. The church was organized under the late Rev. P. Taylor in the Pilgrim’s Hall with eight members who later a church where services were held. Under the leadership of Rev. Taylor, land was purchased on Maggie Street in the hopes that the church membership would increase.
Rev. Cushinberry was called and served as pastor and later resigned.
Rev. B.J. Hall was called until he passed away.
Rev. H. Cannon was then called, but later resigned.
The Rev. Body was called as pastor, and later resigned.
In March of 1920, Rev. James H. Cook was called to shepherd the flock. The First St. Mark Baptist Church was landlocked on Maggie Street and the land was purchased on the present site of 2934 Brackenridge. He served as Pastor for 40 years and Queen Elizabeth Cook worked along side her husband.
Rev. W. L. Weathers was called in November 1960 and served as pastor until 1984. Rev. Weathers had many accomplishments for the church during his tenure. 1) The first was the demolition of the old building structure that was replaced with new one
2) Second accomplishment was the placing of the cornerstone in the auditorium walls.
In 1984, Rev, Weathers became ill and became Pastor Emeritus. During this time several ministers served as interim pastor.
They were: Rev. Chester Speights, Rev. Reed, Rev. Joseph Thomas, and Rev. C.W. Overshown.
Several months later, Rev. R.J. Revels, Jr. was called to pastor. Rev. R.J. Revels had a vision to build the new fellowship hall He served for almost five years before resigning in May 1989.
In January of 1990, Pastor Willie Claiborne became our spiritual leader. He and his family, worked for the continued success of the church. The new fellowship hall was built under the leadership of Rev. Willie C. Claiborne. In May 2000, Pastor Claiborne resigned.
In May 2001, Rev. Paul Speights became our spiritual leader until he resigned.
The members of the church again went to the Lord in prayer to seek his guidance for a new leader for the church. Rev. J.L. White, Jr. and Rev. Edwards served for more than a year as our interim pastor until a new leader was sent by God.
Through prayer, the Lord delivered us a spiritually rooted minister, Pastor Murphy D. Simon, Jr., in November 2002. First St. Mark was televised for the first time under Pastor Simon. In September 2008, Pastor Simon resigned. In 2008 through 2009,
Meanwhile Rev. Percy McGee, Rev. Kevin Tillman both served as Interim Pastor. IThen in 2010, while we waited to hear from God Pastor Carter served as Interim Pastor.
God answered our prayers with confirmation of His word. On Sept. 11, 2011, Pastor Charles Joseph Carter Jr. was installed as our 12th Pastor. We are blessed to have Pastor Carter, his lovely wife Sis. Michelle Carter, their sons Charles III, and Caleb to share in this journey with us. Pastor Carter, a man of vision, believed that the Church needed a Vision statement.
So prayerfully he introduced to the body, the Vision God gave him: “As a Church body, we are equipping the saints for ministry, evangelizing the lost while planting the seed for lifestyle change through the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. We also want to foster an atmosphere of love as we press toward the Mark for the prize of the High calling of God in Christ Jesus“.
From the Vision Statement he formed our Motto: “Pressing toward the Mark” Philippians 3:14.
He developed our logo which can be seen in the vestibule and on all our programs , church sign and Ministry shirts. Pastor Carter always says, “We ought to be Excited and Proud of our Church”!
Pastor Carter revamped several ministries to make them viable for the Challenges of today. He re-instituted the Men’s and Women’s Ministry, the Young Adult Choir w/ a director, the Pastor’s Aide, Men of Christian Action (MOCA), Young Women for Christ (YW4C). He initiated the Praise Team and Fellowship Period during our worship services . Pastor Carter envisioned the growth of the Church, so he petitioned God. In carrying out God’s plan, Pastor Carter changed the order of Service, with worship service beginning at 9 a.m. and Sunday school immediately following. Pastor Carter believes that the family that prays together (should be able to play together) and God will help them to stay together. Pastor Carter and the First St. Mark Family have been busy working. Pastor Carter has been strengthening the members through teaching the Word of God in several teaching series. Pastor Carter has led the church in refurbishing the Church Sign making it a beacon light in the neighborhood, installing the Church Bell, he also installed the sound system and sound room.We have purchased land for parking next to the church. Though we have come a long way, we will keep pressing to be all God would have us to be and as Pastor Carter always says, “The Best is Yet to Come!”