Happy birthday to you – Sunderland church turns 140

Putting thed finishing touches to one of the flower arrangemnets for the 140th anniversary  St. Marks Church, Hylton Road, Millfield Sunderland are l-r Ian Watson and Jean Ranson both church wardens and Anne Kelly.
Putting thed finishing touches to one of the flower arrangemnets for the 140th anniversary St. Marks Church, Hylton Road, Millfield Sunderland are l-r Ian Watson and Jean Ranson both church wardens and Anne Kelly.
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A COMMUNITY held celebrations to mark the 140th anniversary of a Sunderland church.

The building of St Mark’s, in Millfield, was completed in 1872, although the parish itself outdates it by four years.

Celebrating the 140th anniverary of St. Marks Church, Hylton Road, Millfield, Sunderland oin Saturday are  Rev. Olaf Eriksson (right) and Pauol and mary Judson who are former curate and vicar at the church.

Celebrating the 140th anniverary of St. Marks Church, Hylton Road, Millfield, Sunderland oin Saturday are Rev. Olaf Eriksson (right) and Pauol and mary Judson who are former curate and vicar at the church.

Reverend Olaf Eriksson led the festivities, which began on Saturday morning with a flower festival, with the theme of Celebrating God’s Faithfulness.

The day then took a musical turn with an evening choir concert, including St Andrew’s Operatic Society, before a thanksgiving service on Sunday morning.

The church’s former Reverend Mary Judson, who served at St Mark’s from 1996 to 2004, returned to open the flower festival.

She spoke of the part everybody in the congregation, past and present, had played in the building’s story.

140th anniverary of St. Marks Church, Hylton Road, Millfield Rev. Olaf Eriksson

140th anniverary of St. Marks Church, Hylton Road, Millfield Rev. Olaf Eriksson

“It’s lovely to come back and remember,” she said.

“St Mark’s was such a part of my story and you’re all part of that story now as well.

“It feels so good to be back and the people here are always so friendly.”

Rev Eriksson was delighted with the weekend of events.

He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon with the flower displays.

“I hope people take from the weekend a sense of gratitude for the past as well as hope for the future.”

He added: “The point of a parish church is to give the community somewhere to go for the important days, like weddings and funerals, and give a sense of society.

“I think that’s something the people of Millfield still feel.”

Marjory Fogg, of Houghton, was married in the church in 1964 and has been coming back ever since.

“It’s very important for me,” said the 74-year-old.

“It’s a place where you can come and have peace and worship, and remember all those who used to be here and aren’t anymore.”

Another for who St Mark’s has played a crucial role is 82-year-old John Carr.

“I’ve been coming here since I was baptised in 1929,” he said. “It means an awful lot to me.

“In fact, it’s my 75th year as a member of the chruch choir and I have been the leader for a couple of years.”

Twitter: @sunechomark