St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church, located in the Historic North Topeka, Kansas was established in the year 1880 as an AME Church and entered into the Kansas Conference.
St. Mark's was the first pastoral charge for the Rev. Vinton Randolph Anderson the 92nd Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and who was elected in 1991 to serve as the President of the World Council of Churches.
The Rev. Oliver Brown was assigned to St. Mark's, also as his first pastoral assignment in 1953, and was serving still at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Mrs. Linda Brown-Thompson served the St. Mark's Church as pianist for more than 40 years until her death in 2018.
Mrs. Carolyn Campbell was elected as the first African American Education Commission for the State of Kansas and is a long standing member of St. Mark AME Church.
The Honorable Joe Johnson, the first African American Judge on the Shawnee County Bench
Mr. Terry Crowder who served as Vice-chair of the Kansas Human rights Commission
Sgt. At Arms Foster Chisholm, who is the first African American appointed to the position.
The Church historically and currently houses champions who give and who are giving of themselves as political and civic leaders, educators, doctors, lawyers, missionaries, and more, all in the spirit of the AME Church mission of liberation and reconciliation.
The origin of St. Mark's is rooted in two remarkable events recorded in the annals of African American history:
1) the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest Black organized, incorporated, religious denomination;
2) the Exodus of the former slaves from the South to Kansas between 1877 and 1880, often called the "Great Exodus."
Many Black immigrants were particularly attracted to Kansas due to its history as a free state and the land of abolitionist. The most remarkable migration of Black Americans into Kansas occurred in a two-month period between March and May of 1879. These "Exodusters" came primarily from Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and later, Texas, several hundred settled in North Topeka. Bringing their Christian faith with them, many originally gathered in house to house fashion for prayer and Bible Study.
On May 14, 2021 St. Mark's AME Church will celebrate 141 years as a beacon in the North Topeka Community, overcoming perils of the past which included prejudices and racial hostilities, as well as surviving the 1903 and 1951 Kaw River floods.
We look forward to sharing the complete St. Mark's AME Church story during the 2022 Church Anniversary Celebration, where we look to at last unveil the renovation project. Look for our upcoming publication entitled: "Under the Bridge."
To learn more, click on the links below.