100 years: Verna Dozier Centenary Celebration
The 1950’s were a time in our nation’s history – and the Washington, DC region in particular – when race differences sharply defined Other. St. Mark’s was a “white” church at that time; a white church that called a bold and visionary rector to lead. The Rev. Bill Baxter longed for change and wasn’t afraid to create the conditions for it.
Verna Dozier became the first African-American member of St. Mark’s parish after she was asked to join us in 1958 by Rev. Baxter. We can’t be proud of the fact that she was still required to appear before the Vestry to get permission to join, nor that her friend and our parishioner Jan Hoffman was evicted from her apartment in Virginia because Verna was a guest there.
We can, however, be humbly grateful – more than half a century later – that she did join and became one of the most influential and faithful lay leaders St. Mark’s has ever known. We were made all the better for the life and faith she shared with us, until (and beyond) her death in 2006.
On Sunday, October 8, we will dedicate all three services – 9:00, 11:15, and 5:00 – to celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Verna Dozier’s birth in 1917. The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers will guest preach at 9 and 11:15.
We hope you will be there!