In 1959 the Presbytery of Los Angeles looked out into the suburbs and planned for a church in Newport Beach. By 1962 it had purchased four and a half acres and found a pastor, the Reverend Robert Carley. Soon nineteen people of Presbyterian persuasion were gathered into a steering committee and a new church was born. It was named St. Mark, because the committee was committed to the values of the Gospel of Mark as expressed in the Interpreter’s Bible:
…the abiding value of Mark’s gospel is that it challenges the neutrality and the weak faith of any generation. It insists that a Christian must see life whole and steadily and in the light from the cross.
By 1964, the congregation had moved into the buildings, which still serve as the Christian Education wing. From the beginning the facility was shared with community groups. And in 1978 the classrooms welcomed the first children of the St. Mark Community Preschool. Later the church partnered with Temple Shir Ha Ma’a Lot, a Jewish congregation. Children from both faiths learned side-by-side. Bursting at the seams, the partners expanded the facility, building classrooms, offices and the current sanctuary. For nineteen years the cooperation and respect lived daily on this campus witnessed to our common humanity and the reality of interfaith relationships.
St. Mark has always placed a high priority on mission. Members have worked locally and globally to share the love of Christ and to help their fellow human beings. We strive each year to increase our financial commitment to ministries that help people help themselves, alleviate suffering, and promote peace and justice. For many years St. Mark has been the highest per capita contributor to the general mission of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos.
As St. Mark moves into the future we look forward to a new campus at the corner of San Joaquin Hills and MacArthur Roads and to continuing our tradition of lively worship of our gracious God, learning how to be all that God calls us to be, and serving together to serving Christ’s kingdom of peace and justice.