St Mark AME Zion Church History

Saint Mark A.M.E. Zion church in Durham, North Carolina, like many churches had a small humble beginning. The founding members were Brothers Gaston Bynum, William Colley, Jerry Richmond, Jordan Wilson, and Sisters Flora Colley, Sarah Marsh and Derbie Richmond. The church was formally organized in February 1890 in the home of Brother and Sister Colley located on Willard Street in Durham, North Carolina, by the Reverend C.H. McIver. This location was only a few blocks from the present site, at 531 S. Roxboro Street, Durham, North Carolina.

Church Pic 1935

From 1890 to 1936, the church was served by 19 pastors. All contributed to the growth and development of St. Mark. During the first 10 years, the congregation worshipped at various sites but in 1900 built a small white frame building on the corner of Pine and Pickett Streets, where the church is still located. This building was replaced in 1921 by a white brick building that served the church until 1954.

Reverend S.P. Perry was assigned as pastor in 1936 and led the congregation in erecting the present commodious edifice which was completed in 1954. During Reverend Perry’s tenure, several boards and auxiliaries were organized, making it possible for all members to have a place in which they could have active participation. He and his wife, Mrs. Isalene Hunter Perry served the longest tenure, until 1956.

The Reverend Dr. Reuben Lee Speaks succeeded Rev. Perry in 1956. Under the years of Rev. Dr. Speaks’ ministry, St. Mark experienced growth in the areas of education. The St. Mark Nursery School, Kindergarten, and 1st grade were established. The Reverend

Dr. Lawrence A. Miller was appointed to the St. Mark Church in 1964 and pastored the church until 1977. Under his leadership, a combined mortgage of $110,000 was liquidated with the purchasing instillation of a new organ. Reverend Miller’s pastorate extended for 13 years.

The Reverend Howard E. Haggler was appointed the pastor in 1977 and served until 1992. Rev. Haggler was known for his powerful, fiery preaching. His pastorate extended for 15 years.

The Reverend William Lloyd Burton, Jr. was appointed in 1992. Under Rev. Burton’s leadership, the organizational structure of the church was improved and community ministries were implemented. Reverend Burton’s pastorate extended for 5 years.

The Reverend Avery Brown was appointed pastor in 1997 and served until 2005. Rev. Brown’s ministry brought enthusiasm for Bible Study and the initiation of the Human Dignity Ministry.

In 2005, the Reverend Dr. G. Ray Coleman was appointed and presently serves as Pastor for St. Mark. A $400,000 renovation to the church’s property is presently underway. New ministries have been added and are flourishing. Traditions reflect the past. Visions reflect the future. Let us be mindful in handling the tradition.



C.H. McIver 1890 – 1892

Thomas McCain 1893

T.M. Stitts 1894-1895

W.H. Graham 1896

W.J. Peggans 1897

J. Sheppard 1898 – 1899

G.W. Richardson 1900

J.J. Stitts 1901

R. M. Thompson 1902 – 1905

T.H. Stevenson 1905 – 1908

Peter Robinson 1909 – 1912

J. M. Gould 1913

C.W. Carver 1913 – 1915

J.A. Barber 1916 – 1918

J.A. Paschall 1918 – 1921

W.H. Davenport 1921 – 1924

W.F. Witherspoon 1924 – 1928

D.G. Garland 1928 – 1932

P.R. Washington 1932 – 1936

Still Pryor Perry 1936 – 1956

Ruben Lee Speaks 1956 – 1964

Lawrence Allen Miller 1964 – 1977

Howard Edward Haggler, Sr. 1977 – 1992

William Lloyd Burton 1992 – 1977

Avery C. Brown 1997 – 2005

G. Ray Coleman 2005 – Present