A Brief History of St Marks
The site for the church, on Bandywood Crescent off Bandywood Road, was acquired in 1936, but the Second World War prevented any progress in building. When building began St Mark’s was made a dual-purpose building (worship and social activities) with the Clergy House built alongside (previous to this 33 Dunedin Road served as a house for the priest-in-charge, services then being held at All Saints, Shady Lane. Worship at Shady Lane ceased on the first Sunday of Lent, 1993 since which time the building has been leased by the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade.
The original church on Bandywood Crescent, (the present Parish Centre) was opened on Sunday, October 5th 1952 by the Bishop of Birmingham.
Originally a Conventional District taken out of St Luke’s parish before gaining parish status in 1971, the boundaries of St Mark’s parish are Kingstanding Road, Queslett Road, Shady Lane, Aldridge Road, an old footpath to the end of Felstone Road, Oscott School Lane, and Old Oscott Hill.
The first priest-in-charge, Fr Ronald Cowling was given the responsibility of finding all the furniture, plate etc that would be needed in time for the opening by Bishop Barnes. In 1959 Fr Cowling moved to Leicestershire and was succeeded by Fr Denis Young. Fr Geoffrey Harper came as priest-in-charge in 1962 and on Sunday, January 22nd 1967 was licensed as minister of the new Statutory District of Saint Mark, Kingstanding. Fr Geoffrey moved to Cornwall in 1973.
Between 1968 and 1971 work was undertaken to convert the original dual-purpose building into the Parish Centre and to build a new church onto the frontage on Bandywood Crescent. This elliptical building was consecrated on March 13th 1971. The desire of those on the Church Building Committee was for a practical and prayerful building. Eight designs were considered before the final one was decided upon.
Fr Jim Hobbs was Vicar from 1973 to 1977 and in January of 1978 Fr Allan Buik was instituted. Frs Martyn Collins, Laurie Green and Ian Dodd served as assistant priests with Fr Alan Bartlett coming along in 1982 as an non-stipendiary minister. In 1987 Fr Allan Buik moved to Guyana. Later, in the autumn of that year Fr Andrew Mayes was instituted and served as Parish Priest until April 1992, when he and his family moved to Brighton. Fr Roger Woodward joined as N.S.M. in 1993 in a post shared with St Luke’s. Fr Ron Farrell took up the reigns in January of 1993, leaving in 2001 and in January of 2002 until April of 2006 Fr Dominic Cosslett was Incumbent. The present Parish Priest, Fr Philip Calvert joined St Mark’s in August of 2006, with Fr Patrick Gillon serving as a non-stipendiary curate between 2008 and 2011.