4 Church St. Cocoa, FL 32922      
(321) 636-3781    


St. Mark's Episcopal Church

Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, St. Mark’s welcomes you.

In 1878, a group of Episcopal settlers gathered on the porch of a home in Rockledge to worship and form what would become St. Mark’s. Since then, parishioners have joined together on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon for Christian worship, fellowship, and outreach to the community.

When a Black Episcopal church on Merritt Island closed in 1943, Fr. William Hargrave invited those parishioners to join in the worship at St. Mark’s, and St. Mark’s has remained an open and welcoming congregation.

The congregation is a community of God’s people who seek to discover and experience Christ’s healing power in all aspects of life, and who spread His Light in the world through various ministries and outreach. Parishioners explore the meaning of their faith and engage in lively and thoughtful discussions, while discovering the wonders of God through Scripture, Reason, and Tradition.

The Rev. Sara Oxley

Interim Rector at St. Mark’s
Mother Sara came to St. Mark’s in August 2021 to serve as a bridge between the previous
rector and St. Mark's  new permanent rector.  She brought the organizational skills, energy, and spiritual focus needed to move the church and academy into harmonious collaboration.  Mtr. Sara established healthy operations for St. Mark's as a single and beloved institution.  She accomplished this by reconciling organizational structures, establishing clear shared policies and procedures, and working through uncomfortable conversations.  She also brought a fierce love for Jesus and determination to create room to let the Holy Spirit do its work.  Mtr. Sara has brought stability and healing to the parish and academy.

One of Mtr. Sara's favorite things about St. Mark’s is taking phone calls out on the dock while
watching dolphins, manatees, and sting rays. She loves the students, families, and daily chapel
with the academy.  Our conregation is united by beautiful worship services, and celebrating Holy Eucharist together is our shared joy.

Prior to serving at St. Mark's, Mtr Sara served as Priest in Charge at Ascension in Orlando. She
has a Masters in Pastoral Ministry (M. Div. equivalent) from Nashotah House. Prior to her
ordination into the priesthood, she was a nurse with Orlando Health in several different roles.
She has a Master’s in Bioethics and a Master’s in nursing education.  Mother Sara also serves on the Standing Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Central
Florida. She was elected to the General Convention delegation for 2024. She coordinates outreach for Bishop Patrick Augustine, the missionary bishop to Bor, South Sudan.  She also leads the Central Florida Women’s Clergy group.

Mtr. Sara and her husband Les have two grown daughters, Lydia and Lois. She enjoys cats, Purebarre classes, singing, cooking, and the theme parks in Orlando.

As a committed follower of Jesus, I am excited to see what God has in store for St. Mark's, and our entire diocese.  Where will Christ lead us?  St. Mark's has a bright future as a spiritual anchor in Cocoa Village and a font of good works and outreach.  We are sharing the love of God with our communities and the world. We are in an exciting position to make a positive impact on the Episcopal church and the Anglican Communion.  God has great plans!

Our History

In 1956 our parishioners formed a parish day school to provide excellent elementary education in a safe environment that both nurtures a life-long love of learning and teaches children to be servant-hearted and civic-minded, whatever their faith.

As an Episcopal Church, we self-describe as ‘Protestant but Catholic,’ a middle way of Christianity that balances scripture, faith and reason, and is welcoming to all.

Service Times

We welcome all visitors to our worship services; and all baptized persons are welcome to share in the Holy Communion.
  • Sunday 8-9AM, Rite I Eucharist (Holy Communion)
  • Sunday 9:30-10:10 Sunday School and Adult Forum Fellowship and Discussions
  • Sunday 10:30-11:30 Rite II Eucharist (Holy Communion)
Our 10:30 service includes cathedral-style hymns, liturgical music, and sacred music.

Music at St. Mark’s

At  St. Mark's  music is an integral part of the worship services.   Providing beautiful music to the glory of God unites and inspires our congregation. The 10:30 service enjoys the traditional, liturgical music of the Episcopal Church, including hymn singing, chanting psalms, choral offertories, and instrumental music. We have pipe organ, piano, and an ensemble (Mark III) of Flute, Cello, and piano that offers prelude and incidental music throughout the service. Our church choir sings every Sunday at 10:30.  Since the church is blessed with an Academy (ages pre-K through 6th grade), there are also times when the Academy students participate in special services by singing, handbell playing, and pageant presentations. The church is grateful for all who participate in this valuable aspect of our worship.

History of St. Mark's Episcopal Church

By Ben Brotemarkle, Executive Director Florida Historical Society
Today, parking in downtown Cocoa can be at a premium when services or special events are held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

When the church was first built in 1886, many in the congregation would arrive by water, mooring their boats on the banks of the Indian River. It’s just a few steps from the river’s edge to the front door of the church. Others would walk to church from homes along the river.

The first meeting of what would become St. Mark’s Episcopal Church was held on June 2, 1878. The Right Reverend John Freeman Young, Bishop of Florida, and Dr. William H. Carter of Holy Cross Church of Sanford, gathered the founding members of the church at the home of A.L. Hatch in Rockledge. Dr. Carter later moved to Tallahassee, but services continued to be held by various priests.

The church was originally called St. Michael’s, in recognition of St. Michael the Archangel.

In 1884, Mrs. Lucy Boardman, a frequent visitor to Cocoa and Melbourne from her winter residence in Sanford, donated funds to Bishop Young for the construction of Episcopal churches near the Indian River. Mrs. Sarah O. Delannoy donated the land where St. Mark’s sits today.

According to a historic marker erected by the Brevard County Historical Commission in 2010, Gabriel Gingras designed the board and batten Carpenter Gothic church. Early Cocoa residents William Booth and William Hindle designed and installed the church’s woodwork.

Dr. S.B. Carpenter, Rector of Holy Cross Church of Sanford, visited Cocoa once a month to oversee construction of the church. Although it was not quite finished, the first service was held in the new church on Christmas Eve, 1886.

The church’s tower bell, called “Michael,” was cast in New York in 1888.

In 1890, the name of the church was changed from St. Michael’s to St. Mark’s, in recognition of support provided by St. Mark’s Church in West Orange, New Jersey. Although St. Mark’s has undergone significant additions and renovations over the years, most of the original interior woodwork and stained glass remains intact. Many of the beautiful stained glass windows in St. Mark’s are dedicated to early founders of the church.

When St. Mark’s was renovated in 1925, great care was taken to maintain the integrity of the original structure of the church. Stucco was added to the exterior, giving the building a Mediterranean style very popular at the time. Where additional woodwork was added to the interior, it closely matched the original.

With the addition of its first rector, the Rev. William Loftin Hargrave, St. Mark’s was raised to “parish” status in 1938. Rev. Hargrave was later named Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of South Florida and Bishop of Southwest Florida.

In February 1942, the Emma Cecilia Thursby Memorial Fellowship Hall was completed, providing space for community gatherings. Thursby was a popular opera singer in America and Europe in the late 1800s and a professor of music at the Institute of Musical Art, now the Julliard School, in the early 1900s. Thursby and her sister wintered in Cocoa.

The most recent renovations to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church were in 1994, when the worship area was expanded to its present capacity, and in 2012, when pews modeled after the originals were installed.

St. Mark’s Parish Day School, known today as St. Mark’s Episcopal Academy, was established in 1956. Since then, education has been a primary focus of the church.

While fewer people walk to church or moor their sailboats nearby as they did in 1886, the full parking lot and spaces around St. Mark’s each week indicate that the church is as vital a part of the Cocoa community as ever.
Dr. Brotemarkle is host of the WMFE radio program, “Florida Frontiers.” The show may be heard online at myfloridahistory.org.”
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