Saturday, July 24, 2004

Doors close, St. Mark's will endure

Faith Matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

CORRYVILLE - St. Mark AME Zion Church is no stranger to moving and change. So when the 100 members of the congregation shut its doors after services on Sunday, they're optimistic it's a sign of good things to come.

"It's a bittersweet situation, but everyone in the congregation is for it. We've done this before, and we'll do it again. We still have many of the members who moved here 40 years ago, and we'll rely on them to help us through it," said Pastor Jermaine B. Armour.

The congregation, currently at 3006 Eden Ave., began as an offshoot of St. John AME Zion Church, then downtown, in an effort to follow congregation members who had left the inner city. And under the leadership of Tecumseh X. Graham, the church became active in the neighborhood.

Now, after two years of negotiations, the church has sold its property to the Corryville Community Development Corp., which is redeveloping the area to appeal to the needs of University of Cincinnati students.

"We have to go forward and be positive. We have to be able to change with progress," said Marjorie Graham-Henry, daughter of the late pastor, who was a former school board member and city councilman. "I have the memories and the pictures, lots of memories of him preaching from the pulpit of that church."

The congregation will have its regular service at 11 a.m. Sunday with an Exodus Celebration at 3:30 p.m. Armour is making arrangements for a temporary meeting place, but the congregation plans to eventually build again - taking with them stained glass windows, a cross and the church's cornerstone - in Cincinnati's northern suburbs, again following a population shift.

"This isn't just closing our doors, it's an opportunity for us to move and follow our congregation," he said.

St. Mark to host bazaar

St. Mark Catholic Churchin Evanston and the St. Ann Sodality Ministries will host a barbecue, bazaar and evangelization event July 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event, a fund-raiser for the church as it enters its 100th anniversary year in October, is also an opportunity for people in the community to become acquainted with Catholicism and the church, at 3500 Montgomery Road, said Portia Edwards, one of the event's organizers.

St. Mark was founded in 1905 by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood order at the request of the then bishop of Cincinnati to reach the city's German population. Since then it has evolved into a predominately African-American congregation with a traditional service at 8 a.m. Sundays and a more contemporary service, including Gospel music, at 11 a.m.

For more information about the event or to reserve a table to sell items at the bazaar, call Edwards at 741-3070.

Restaurant hosts men's night

The Gospel Grille will host "Brothers-N-Spirit: Real Men Praise Jesus!" from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday.

The restaurant, which highlights Christian musicians, will host Stace "Babydeac" Darden, Rocky Burnell and Derrick Bell from the Solid Rock Church in Monroe; and Waymond Dean and Lindsay Orrof Simple Faith, also known as SEVYN, from the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Carthage.

Charge for the event is $8.99 for the buffet or a $5 cover charge without food at the Grille - the Music Palace during the day - 11473 Chester Road in Sharonville. For more information, call 772-2249 or visit


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