“An Organizational meeting of the Ladies’ Guild of St. Mark’s Church was held in the home of Mrs. H. Parker on April 15, 1953. Rev. Inns opened the meeting with a prayer and then spoke a few words of advice to help in the organizing of the Guild. A motion was made that we form a Ladies’ Guild. Officers were appointed: President – Mrs. H. Parker; Vice President – Mrs. L. Ellis; Secretary – Mrs. K. Jones and Treasurer – Mrs. D. Spiece. Mrs. Parker discussed the coming of the Bishop for the dedication of the church on Thurs. Apr.23. It was decided to have a reception in the church basement: coffee, sandwiches and cookies to be served. It was planned to have the meetings in the church basement if permission is granted by the board of management. A membership fee of 50¢ a year was set with a silver collection to be taken at each meeting. There were fourteen members present. It was decided to have a simple lunch after the meetings. The meeting closed with prayer by Rev. Inns.”
During the early years, the members took turns cleaning the little, white church situated at the corner of Evelyn and Albert Streets. They bought linoleum, curtains, a stove, dishes and many other items needed to furnish the kitchen and basement. They also took care of the Nursery Class and other children’s programmes. As the social life of most parishioners centred on church activities, there were many Teas, Strawberry Socials, Rummage Sales, Games Nights, Square Dances, Euchre Parties, Bazaars and Dances. The Ladies’ Guild helped pay for the refrigerator and stove for the Rectory and later a Duplicator- needed by the Church to get out notices. At the meetings, in addition to dues, all took part in “Penny Drill”, where any pennies that they had in their purses were put into a social fund.
The members were frequent guests at activities put on by other neighbouring churches and other Anglican churches in the city
Fund raising has been a part of the Guild since its beginning. Every spring, a Garden Party was held on the church property or the Rectory lawn to raise money to keep the parish funds “in the black” during the summer months. All members in any organization of the church were expected to help by manning booths with hot dogs, soft drinks, ice cream, a Fish Pond, Home Baking and a Country Store.
Guild members also made and embroidered pillow cases, aprons, mittens and other items at home to be sold to raise funds. They sold greeting cards and hand lotion. There were many times that the Ladies’ Guild was asked to help the church pay bills. The members worked very hard to help St. Mark’s grow.
During the early 1960’s, as the area developed, it became apparent that the little building was too small for the growing number of worshippers, especially since it needed a lot of repairs. Plans were made to build a new church. As the lot was quite small, another area was found to accommodate a larger building with more parking.
The first service in the new building at 155 Memorial Drive was held on November 28, 1965. The church was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. George Luxton on December 8, 1965. The Guild chose to give the pulpit as its gift to the church.
As the area grew and St. Mark’s continued to flourish, the members of the Ladies’ Guild continued to find different ways to raise funds. At each meeting, homemade rolls made by Elizabeth Hall were sold and the money donated along with “Penny Roll” and dues. Similar activities as held in the early years continued. With more room in the “new” church, first with St. Mark’s Hall and later in 1979 with the addition of Munro Hall, Fashion Shows, Hairdressing Shows and cooking demonstrations was another way to raise funds. Members catered to weddings and other banquets on many occasions.
Eventually the Garden Party became the “Spring Fling”, with added features of games, Grandma’s Attic, a Craft Sale and an auction, still a way to provide funds to help the parish in the summer and to foster fellowship among all the church members.
The Guild provided the display case by the kitchen and some items needed for the Infant Nursery, gowns for the Junior Choir, tables and chairs. In 1958 the Ladies’ Guild presented the church with a Baptismal Ewer, and replaced it with another in 2008. We have purchased stoves, dishes, teapots, cutlery, the metal serving cart, and countless tea towels. We have supported St. Mark’s hockey teams and have donated funds to paint the church and the Rectory.