In 1909, at a small Episcopal church that stood just south of today's Northern Westchester Hospital, The Rev. E.F. Chauncey delivered a sermon to the people of St. Mark's Church, exhorting them to embrace a bold vision for their congregation's future.
"The most beautiful church is required by the nature of our local needs," he intoned from the pulpit more than 100 years ago. "Mt. Kisco is a village of admitted ugliness," he continued. "The answer is some monument of beauty. By the force of example it will clean our streets and beautify our village."
The people of St. Mark's responded enthusiastically and, in 1910, laid the cornerstone for the well-known landmark that today occupies the corner of Routes 117 and 133 in Mt. Kisco. "This decision…will prove a mighty factor in the deepening of the church's influence in the community," Rev. Chauncey predicted in 1909.
On Sunday, St. Mark's Episcopal Church celebrated 100 years in the heart of Mount Kisco with a Service of Rededication of the Church and festive celebratory luncheon. The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of New York, rededicated the church, celebrated the Eucharist and preached.
Bishop Roskam and St. Mark's Rector, the Rev. Eileen Weglarz, were joined by The Rev. Philip B. Kunhardt III, St. Mark's Priest Associate, and clergy who have served St. Mark's Church in the past: The Rev. Stephen Bolle, The Rev. Jane Cumming and The Rev. Ralph Peterson. Several special community guests, including Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich, also attended the festive mass.
Cindrich praised St. Mark's contributions to the wider community throughout the past 100 years. "I am quite humbled to be part of this celebration," Mayor Cindrich said in presenting Weglarz with an official proclamation proclaiming Monday, April 26, 2010 as "St. Mark's Day" in Mount Kisco. "To everyone at St. Mark's, from the community of Mount Kisco, 'Thank you,'" he said.
In the parish hall following the service, St. Mark's members and guests enjoyed a presentation detailing the growth of St. Mark's over the past century and honoring several current members for their outstanding service to the community. Members of St. Mark's have been volunteer leaders in recent years for Northern Westchester Hospital, the Emergency Shelter Partnership, A-HOME, the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, Boy Scouts of America, and the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, among other outreach programs.
During the presentation, Senior Warden Sally Price linked the past and present. "In his 1909 sermon, 'The Call of the Church Beautiful,' Rev. Chauncey saw the site and vision of a new church as critical to the parish's work," she said. "Rev. Chauncey wrote, 'In determining the location of our church, we should be guided by the principle of service.' The people of St. Mark's have answered that call. Over the past 100 years, we have used our parish home in the heart of Mount Kisco to reach out to the wider community in many ways," Price said.
After the luncheon, guests enjoyed guided historical tours of the church detailing architectural features of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Younger guests did their own architectural sleuthing with a "treasure hunt" leading them throughout the expansive church building.
Weglarz, who has served as pastor at St. Mark's sine June 2008, is confident the church will provide another 100 years of service from the historic location. "The 1910 cornerstone of this beautiful building includes a Latin inscription: 'Where there is no vision, the people perish.' Today, the people of St. Mark's are indeed alive and well," she said. "We are firmly committed to a vision of preaching the Good News here in our historic sanctuary and expanding our service to the Mount Kisco community and to the wider community," she said.
St. Mark's regular worship schedule includes Sunday Eucharist at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.; Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. weekdays (excluding Wednesdays), and Wednesday Eucharist at 6:45 a.m.