St. Mark’s is of a central Anglican tradition and uses a mixture of Common Worship and the Book of Common Prayer in its public worship. The present average weekly congregation numbers about 85 people who contribute to the church’s active life.
A contemporary service of all-age worship is offered on both the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month.
The parish has a vibrant, weekly Bible study (Wednesday evenings) which is usually complemented by other faith-development courses, confirmation classes, quiet days, retreats and pilgrimages. Discipleship is fostered through engagement with the Community of St. Chad. Fellowship is promoted by a very full use of the church hall facilities for meals, fun & games, films etc.
The well-maintained church building (dating from 1914) is set in impressive formal and wildlife-friendly gardens which regularly win prizes in local and diocesan gardening competitions.
A full programme of fellowship activities adds to the life of St. Mark’s. We maintain a long-standing tradition of crowning a Church Queen at each of our July Garden Parties. The Queen for 2015 (pictured left) is Miss Selin John who was crowned by local celebrity Neil Baldwin (pictured right). Our Church Queens, with the help of a supportive team, plan fellowship activities and fund-raising events during their one year reign. As the recent BBC Film production ‘Marvellous’ which chronicled the life of Neil Baldwin was awarded two BAFTAs and Neil was also granted the Freedom of the City of Stoke-on-Trent in 2015, we wanted to add to these honours. As part of the fun in having Neil with us to crown our Queen and to open the garden party, we presented him with our own St. Mark’s OSCAR which, much to Neil’s delight, we had adorned with a Stoke City red and white tie.
As stated above, the Christian discipline of pilgrimage is important to the life of St. Mark’s. The picture (left) shows a group of pilgrims on Holy Island (Lindisfarne) to which several pilgrimages have been made. In the spring of 2016, Iona will be the destination for our pilgrimage and members of St. Mark’s will be joined by those of other local churches. Seasonal quiet days and short, themed retreats also feature in spiritual development of the congregation.