Longview Church Holds 140th Anniversary

An East Texas church has survived racism, wars, and depression to hold a 140th anniversary. Through generations , Saint Marks CME church in Longview has been a symbol of faith and perseverance and Sunday, they celebrated their 140th anniversary.

"I feel great about being part of it, Saint Marks has been in existence 140 years that's huge and I'm thrilled to have roots in this church" said 6th generation member Kesha Williams.

It's documented that it was started as a simple brush arbor by freed slaves in 1867. They ministered to each other.

"They worshipped under that brush arbor they don't know how long even before slavery ended. Joy, I think that's the word joy when you think back about the ones here before the ones that worked so diligently" said 60 year member Evelyn Garrett-Williams.

Old photo's of the church and it's members over the years decorate the walls. They struggled through wars, depression, and racism, but there's no bitterness. Just people thankful for what the church gave to them.

"At one point that's all that we as a people and a culture had to lean ion was our faith" Kesha says.

In their darkest hours over the years, they've turned to the little church that's always been there, and hope it always will be.

"We might fall a little but we get right back up and keep going on" says Evelyn. A historical marker was placed at saint marks original location designating it at the first African American church in east Texas.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com