There is an amazing song, entitled "The Work Is All Divine" which expresses how we feel about what has been and will soon be accomplished with the Historic St. Mark's AME Church building. We are grateful to God and to the National Parks Service for the opportunity to restore and to preserve this historical landmark and ministry. As you scroll down this page you will see how much work has gone into the restoration process. We will soon complete Phase II of the three-phase project, and we look forward to sharing with you pictures of the work and upcoming celebration. The below images were taken just before the concrete was poured; the areas are being transformed into handicap accessible restrooms. These areas, as throughout the building have been gutted from ceiling to the fill that was used to close the crawl space. After the completion of this part of the renovation, we will have to get use to the relocation of the restrooms and kitchen. The stones are amazing!
HISTORIC ST. MARK'S
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
WE ARE HAPPY TO SHARE WITH YOU THAT
ST. MARK'S WAS AWARDED A THIRD GRANT
ON AUGUST 8, 2022
FROM THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION FUND
TO COMPLETE THE SECOND PHASE TO
RESTORE THE HISTORIC CHURCH BUILDING!
HISTORIC PRESEVATION FUND
AFRICAN AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS GRANT PROGRAM
ST. MARK'S A.M.E. CHURCH
PHASE 1 & 2
This project is being supported in parts by
The African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Fund Administered by the National Park's Service,
Department of the Interior
Rev. Shirley D. Heermance, Pastor
Mrs. Dannette Jackson, Project Manager
Mr. Vance Kelley, Architect - Treanor HL Architects, Inc. AIA
Mr. Jeremy Scott, Contractor - Elite Constructions
Scroll down for additional pictures and descriptions of the project. The story is told with the latest venture at the top of page. If you want to start from the beginning, you'll have to move to the bottom then scroll up!
As this journey toward completing the restoration of the Historic St. Mark's AME Church building continues, we are ever grateful to our God for providing means through the National Park's Service, for much of the work that has been and is being done. We are sure that it seems like it is taking an incredibly long time to realize the completed project, but there is reason. We, like so many others, have had to endure the experiencing of the last Government shutdown, COVID19, Quarantine, labor shortage, material delays, supply shortages, rising costs, and etc. It may be all that was originally proposed will not be achieved, due to these very real issues, but we are confident that the restoration of the original building will soon be completed. Many of you have prayed for us, hoped for us, rallied with us, supported us in many different ways, and we ask that you continue to do so. We are looking forward to being able to return to the building, as our faith-based place of ministry in the Topeka Community, soon. Until then we will continue to share with you the progress through this platform.
We also want you to know, that though we have not been able to return to the building, to date, the Historic St. Mark's congregation remains diligent in our pursuit toward fulfilling the mission and purpose of our existence. We continue and will continue to serve through our various community outreach programs, we are still using the ZOOM platform for our weekly Worship experiences, and we will continue to work toward realizing the goals that are yet before us.
Again, we thank you for your ongoing support.
If you would like to donate to Historic St. Mark's
Please click on the above icon and simply follow the prompts.
We thank you in advance.
Below, as you recall, are pictures of the Cornerstone replacement ceremony. We are happy to share with you the final placement. The restoration work is coming along beautifully, it won't be much longer before the first phase of the restoration project is complete. All praise be unto God!
On Tuesday December 14, 2021, after being informed that the new Cornerstone had arrived at the Church and the Masons were ready to replace it on the next day, we jumped into action to prepare ourselves for a brief ceremony to honor the replacing of the Cornerstone. It was held at 9:30am on Wednesday December 15, 2021. The wind blowing at a rate that we could hardly keep our balance, a few of the available officers and members joined the Pastor to ask God's blessings on it. As the winds continued to blower stronger and louder, Rev. Heermance led those in attendance in the ceremony, concluding with the below prayer:
"...In the name of the Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we replace this stone for a foundation of this house of worship consecrated to His service. In so doing we acknowledge his all-ruling providence and proclaim Jesus Christ as the great cornerstone of his church, and the foundation of all our hope of salvation in time and eternity; and may the God of all grace hear us, sanction our work, and at last accept us through the Son of his love, our only Lord and Savior Amen." (p676 of The Doctrine and Discipline of the AME Church 2016)
When the original cornerstone was removed, we were presented with items that were recovered behind it. They are more than 100 years old, and we are excited to show them to you during the 2022 Church Anniversary celebration. During the ceremony, to replace the cornerstone, we thought it fitting to also send into the future our own greeting for whenever/if ever the people in the future decide to/needed to replace it again. It was such a moving ceremony, and we are all glad to have been a part of the history that was made surrounding it.
At the start of October 2021 the first phase of the restoration at St. Mark's continued with masonry work that is transforming the foundation around the Church. The original corner stone was recently removed and to our amazement the congregation 100 years ago sent two separate items into the future for us to find! We are looking forward to sharing those items with you.
As the work continues be assured that we also have prepared a time capsule that will be placed. These items were excavated from the original enclosure, which we placed ceremoniously during the 135th Church Anniversary. The vault will be relocated during this phase of the project and consecrated during the 142nd celebration in May of 2022. The date and name on the cornerstone are being restored, during this phase also.
The dropped ceiling tiles in the sanctuary have been removed and the original ceiling is now exposed. The arches in the original structure and the high ceiling will be beautiful, once completely restored, and the circled stained glass windows are now fully exposed, but protected while the work is underway.
Hope to have some additional pictures soon!
I'm making this post on Thursday September 2, 2021. I went by the Church today to take some additional pictures to share with you and found that there had been excavation work done the entire circumference of the Church. While there our General Contractor arrived and we found ourselves in a brief but very interest conversation concerning what I was looking at. A part of the conversation entailed his view on what it would have taken to do the work more than 100 years ago.
He explained that when the building was erected, of course, the people would not have had the kind of tools, machinery, equipment, and etc. that he and others worked with today. Looking at the stones and the depth the foundation was covered would have been done with a greater toil. In fact I was told that this work would have been done with shovels and, more than not, the dirt and stones would have ben delivered by mule and buggy.
I paused long enough to take a long look at what was before me and I thought how incredible it is to witness the history that is laid in these amazing stones.
Sometimes it is hard to appreciate old things, but be sure that some old things are worth holding on to. It is not always the biggest that makes for the best, or the most that adds up to the marvelous. Historic St. Mark's AME Church is, by no means, considered as a large structure, but it is huge in character and beauty.
The St. Mark's building has survived both fire and floods and during the first phase of the restoration the work that is underway will provide the essentials to ensure that the Church building will be standing in another 100 plus years.
Water Lines from the 1950 Flood
The Historic St. Mark's AME Church in Topeka, Kansas is happy to announce that the first phase of the renovation project is underway. It has been a long journey arriving at this juncture, but we are grateful to God for His faithfulness and to the National Park's Service for the Historic Preservation Funds awarded through the African American Civil Rights Grant Project. Phase I of the rehabilitation project has begun. Our beautiful and original stain glass windows have been
protected, walls have been removed, the
ceiling has come down, wires are exposed,
and boots are finally on the grounds.
We are trusting that the sinage for the
building will soon be placed in an appro-
priate place for all can see. It is all an
incredible work in progress.
If you give us just a little additional time, we will put the progression of this project in this space so that you can follow along with us, from one step to the next. The pictures below exposes the kind of work the people invested in the building now more than 100 years ago. Though we look forward to the kind of work that is underway we celebrate our past, honoring the kind of work that endured the tests of time. We thank God for the men and women of yester-years, who did not count it as robbery to invest their time, talents, and treasury to build what has become a historical landmark in North Topeka, Kansas.
It has been said that "big things come in small packages" ... that's Historic St. Mark's A.M.E. Church ... who for 141 years has never taken on the small church mindset. We look forward to seeing what is next, and for the reason that God has ordained the opportunity to restore our building, we eagerly wait to achieve. Pray that God will empower the living stones of Historic St. Mark's so when it's time to return into the building, our ministry will be fully ready to operate from it anew. We are hopeful that you will want to celebrate with us when it is time to rededicate the space.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION FUND
African American Civil Rights Grant Program
ST. MARK'S A.M.E. CHURCH
This project is being support in part by an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historical Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Rev. Shirley D. Heermance, Pastor
Dannette Jackson, Project Manager
Vance Kelley, Architect - TreanorHL Architects, Inc. AIA
Jeremy Scott, Contractor - Elite Construction