In July 1964, a group of Lutherans met for the first time to worship together in the city of Duncanville, Texas, just a few blocks from the Dallas city limits. Soon thereafter, the group chose “St. Mark” to be the name of this congregation, and so was born the the third WELS congregation in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
As many young, mission congregations do, the members of St. Mark met in various locations around Duncanville while they searched for property and prepared to build their sanctuary. In 1965 land was purchased. In 1966 the original lot was traded for the current site of the congregation on Cedar Ridge and Middale. That same year saw the raising of the parsonage for St. Mark’s pastor, still in use.
1966 also saw the arrival of the first full-time pastor for St. Mark, Rev. Robert Hartmann. Until his arrival, St. Mark had been served by Vicar Myrl Wagenknecht and Rev. Robert Neumann (Calvary Luth. Church, Dallas).
On December 15, 1968, St. Mark’s sanctuary was dedicated and has been in use for over forty years.
1970 was a banner year for St. Mark, as they graduated from mission status to become a self-supporting congregation, which they have been ever since.
Knowing that Christian education is a vital component of ministry, in 1982, St. Mark built the Education Building that served their K-8 Lutheran Day School (which, sadly does not currently operate).
In the 1990s St. Mark revamped their sanctuary, enlarged their narthex, built a balcony, paved their parking lot, and purchased a brand new Rodgers organ.
Over the years, St. Mark had grown to serve well over 200 souls. The closing of the day school and the shifting demographics of the area, among other things, contributed to a decline in membership to the current total of 106 baptized souls. St. Mark serves the Duncanville, south Dallas, Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Midlothian, and Waxahachie areas.
The focus of St. Mark’s ministry, is, as it should be, upon proclaiming the Gospel purely and administering the Means of Grace rightly. One of the major opportunities opening up to St. Mark in the 21st century is the growth of the Spanish-speaking community in the Metroplex, a community learning to assimilate to American culture. With an aim towards proclaiming Jesus to their newest countrymen, St. Mark in the past few years has begun offering English as Second Language classes.
Over it’s more than 40 year history, St. Mark has been served faithfully by seven full time pastors:
- 1966-1970 — Rev. Robert Hartmann
- 1971-1974 — Rev. Martin Hahm
- 1975-1980 — Rev. Thomas Haar
- 1980-1988 — Rev. Gary Pieper
- 1989-2000 — Rev. Gary Kluball
- 2000-2006 — Rev. Jerry Kassebaum
- 2006-present — Rev. Benjamin Tomczak
A number of others have also served vacancies at St. Mark, including
- 1964-1966 — Rev. Robert Neumann
- 1970-1971 — Rev. Myrl Wagenknecht
- 1974-1975 — Rev. Gene Durfey
- 1980 — Rev. Ted Horneber
- 1988-1989 — Rev. Pavia
- 2006 — Rev. Mike Gehl