The History of St Mark’s
The City of Aberdeen had only one Parish (St Nicholas) from 1060 until the year 1828 when the Court of Teinds decided that there should be six Parishes. These were East, West, St Clement’s and Greyfriar’s (each based on existing churches) and The North and South Parishes for which new churches would be built. The East Parish was served by what is known as St Mary’s Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas and the West the “Mither Kirk”.
At the disruption in 1843 the East, West and South congregations built three places of worship together, at the corner of Belmont Street and Schoolhill. In 1892 the congregation of the South Parish moved into the present building, designed by A Marshall Mackenzie and featuring a giant portico surmounted by a drum and high dome, modelled on St Paul’s Cathedral.
The first minister of the South Parish Church was Rev William M Clow DD and you can see all of our ministers here.
In 1972 as the result of the retiral of the then minister, Rev. Doctor James Wood MA DD the South Church united with the East and Belmont Church and the new congregation took the name, St Mark’s. Rev Walter J Gordon BD (from East & Belmont) became the first minister of St Mark’s and retired a year later when St Mark’s Called Rev Hamish K Fleming BD who remained as our minister until 1986 when he was Called to Banchory East. As a result of the discovery of dry rot in their buildings at Crown Street the congregation of Trinity Church (who had been worshipping in St Mark’s for some time following a fire) united with St Mark’s in 1981.
Between 1986 and 1989 there was a protracted vacancy which was caused by the uncertainty of the congregation’s right to call a minister. However after long discussion and two major debates in Presbytery the congregation won the right to an unrestricted call which resulted in the arrival of the Reverend John Mutch Watson LTh in June 1989. During the vacancy St Mark’s was well served by Rev Andrew Christie LTh as Interim Moderator and Rev Sam Ballantyne BD as Locum. In 2008 John served as The Presbytery Moderator.
In June 2009 after a successful twenty year ministry in his only charge John Watson retired and St Mark’s was once again in vacancy. We were however, fortunate indeed to have the services of Rev Mark Rodgers BD as Interim Moderator as well as Rev Michael Phillippo LTh as Locum. On this occasion however Presbytery approved a free call and on Sunday 22 August 2010 Rev Diane Hobson preached as Sole Nominee. The Congregation voted positively in favour of Calling Diane who was inducted to the charge on Thursday 28 October 2010. Rev David Logan preached Diane ‘in’ on Sunday 31 October – and the rest as they say will be history!
During her ministry Diane had several periods of illness all related to a bad fall she had suffered in Cyprus during the time of her previous ministry and her latest absence started in November 2016. Regrettably she was unable to return to St Mark’s and demitted the charge on 19 February 2017. St Mark’s is again in vacancy.
On 3 November 2017 St Mark’s was united with Queen Street Church, which was also in vacancy and the new congregation decided to remain in the St Mark’s building and to retain the name St Mark’s. The search for a new minister will soon be underway as the necessary formalities are undertaken by the new Kirk Session, which meets for the first time on 16 November 2017 under its Interim Moderator Rev Duncan Eddie, minister at Holburn West Church.
Since Diane’s retiral, we have been served by a number of different ministers for short periods but more recently we have obtained the services of Mr Stiubhart MacChoille as our Locum who occupies the pulpit Sunday by Sunday although from time to time we continue to use retired ministers when sacramental services are involved.
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