In 1949, when I was three years old, my father was transferred by his employer to move from the Toledo, Ohio market to the Chicago market. Our neighbors in Perrysburg, Ohio were Jim and Jane Rockwood Ford. Jane had grown up in Geneva with her cousins the Bangs family, and she urged us to move to Geneva, and join St. Mark’s Church. We moved in1950, and our family became parishioners of St Mark’s.
In 1952, my brother was born in the Geneva Community Hospital, on Third Street, (now known as Dodson Place). That spring my new little brother and two year old sister were baptized at St. Mark’s. My first memory of the chapel was that service, attended by my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and hearing the bell ring. In 1953 and 1954, I remember going to Sunday
school in the undercroft, and sitting in the church with my parents and siblings. I remember that my dad taught Sunday school, and at times, sang in the choir.
Mary and I, and our two daughters Elizabeth and Annie, moved to Geneva in 1991. Joining St. Mark’s Church was like coming home, as so many of my parents friends were still parishioners. St Mark’s had built the new church building, and the chapel was virtually the same as I had remembered.
Today, the chapel has so much more meaning to me than old memories. I now participate in the weekly Morning Prayer service on Saturdays and Evening Prayer service on Wednesdays. I find peace and comfort in the serenity and intimacy of the Chapel, with the beautiful scripture inspired windows and mural, along with the timeless grace and power of the
prayers and scripture readings. These prayers and readings are so much more poignant, as I know so many have prayed in our Chapel for 150 years.
There are other moments of joy in the chapel, including the annual Christmas Caroling, where hundreds of citizens of Geneva, most non-members of St Mark’s, come to sing Christmas Carols on the first Friday evening of December. Also, newly wed couples ringing the church bell to celebrate their marriage.
Our Chapel is an extraordinary treasure and a vital component of the fabric of worship and prayer at St Mark’s. We all are the stewards for the restoration and preservation of the chapel to ensure that this treasure will endure as a place of worship and enhance the mission of St. Mark’s for generations.
God Bless our chapel,