The St. Mark Ministries Church of God in Christ, located at 1519-20 Gaither Street, was founded in October 1973 by the late Bishop C. G. Watson. Under Bishop Watson, the original church had its inception in the home of Sister Verna Lee located at 434 Walker Ave. It began only as a mission called the Watson Universal Spiritual Mission. After growth began, the mission was renamed St. Mark Christian Church. When the church grew too large for Sister Lee’s home, service was held in the Broadie Funeral Home located at 1060 Kerr Avenue. From there, it moved to 1500 Mississippi Blvd. in 1973, the church moved to 1519 Gaither Street.
Those in attendance at the first service held at 1519 Gaither Street were Brother R.V. Bates, Brother C. Shelton Greer, Brother James Glover, Brother Bonds Glover, Brother Michael Glover and Brother James Vernardo. All of these men were comprised the first officers of the church. The sisters present were Sister Verna Lee, Sister E.L. Broadie Robertson, Sister Julia Bates, Sister Mary Baxter and Sister Carolyn Glover. Also present were Sister Ardena Brown, the first church musician, and Sister Luvenia Merriweather, the first church secretary.
In 1987, Bishop Watson believing that the church would breathe new life in this South Memphis community renamed the church – St. Mark Breath of Life Church. From 1973 until 1987, the St. Mark Church was under the auspices of the Universal Unity Christian Association of St. Louis, MO.
The founder and first pastor of the St. Mark church, Bishop C.G. Watson, was called from labor to rest on October 16, 1989. Under her leadership, the church prospered and fulfilled its mission of ministering to souls. Bishop Watson was a very benevolent minister who reached out to people of all backgrounds through her loving spirit. She gave of herself, untiringly, to the cause of Christ. During her lifetime, she started seven churches. She is well-known for her Radio Outreach Ministry which aired for 46 years.
While leader of the St. Mark congregation, Bishop Watson, her children and members of the church worked conscientiously for growth and expansion. And God blessed those efforts. There were many who were involved during the different phases of the renovation of the 1519 Gaither property. There are four whom we give special recognition: Brother Melvin Jenkins and Sister Frances Jenkins, Brother Bonds Glover, and Mr. Hort Tolliver and Company.
After the passing of Bishop Watson, Rev. G.E. Swanagan served as interim pastor from January 1990 until April 1991. In May of 1991, Minister Michael Glover began to lead the congregation. In August 1991, he was ordained as Elder Michael Glover and installed as pastor by the late Bishop G.E. Patterson. At the same time, the St. Mark Breath of Life Church became the St. Mark Church of God in Christ.
Under Elder Glover’s pastorate, St. Mark has continued to grown and to expand its ministry in the areas of weekly Bible studies and church ministries established to meet the needs of the members and the community. In 1993, Bishop G.E. Patterson financed our $30,000.00 renovation project adding a small fellowship hall, upgrading existing office and bathroom areas, adding central air and heat, and replacing the roof. A house built in the early 1990’s served us well. Through the sacrifice of many and the grace of God, the vision of Pastor Glover brought us into a new sanctuary in November, 2007.
In its infancy, St. Mark began as a mission; yet, God has blessed the church to have a stable foundation and to continue to exist through good times and bad. God has not forgotten the labor and prayers of its founder and has honored the faithfulness and diligence of her son.
We cannot forget our founder as we praise God for our past, present and future!