Mark Johnathan Hill
To know him is to love him! That is the Reverend Mark Johnathan Hill!
Reverend Mark Johnathan Hill, husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, preacher, teacher, singer extraordinaire, pastor, student, friend, encourager, and confidant. Mark was all of this and so much more, the word par excellence comes to mind.
Rev. Mark J. Hill, son of the late Ross Hill Jr. and Dr Uylee R. Hill Waugh (James D. Waugh) was born on December 28, 1965, in Chester, Pennsylvania. Mark is the youngest of 3 children. His siblings recall the day he was brought home and the impact Mark had on the family from an early age. His maternal grandfather nicknamed him “Budd”, specifically spelled with 2 “d’s “ because one just wouldn’t do!
Mark was raised in the Philadelphia/Chester Pennsylvania area and attended the Harrity Elementary School, St Michaels Catholic Middle School and graduated from the St James High School in Chester, PA.
As a youngster, Mark attended St Paul CME Church where his mother was the musician, and he quickly became one of the “favored soloist” of the community. It was affectionately said, “that Mark can sing anything!” He went on to sing with community choirs such as Upward Bound and Swarthmore College. He was known as the Community soloist around Chester PA and surrounding areas; there was nothing he couldn’t sing. It was during this time that Mark also gave his life to the Lord, understanding the call on his life and giving purpose to the gift of song.
After high school Mark went on to earn several degrees. First, a degree in Architectural Design. He loved art and drawing, to where he designed his dream home and was blessed to reside in a replica until his passing.
Not sure of his next steps after attaining a degree in Architectural Design, Mark joined the US Army. While enlisted, Mark was stationed in Honduras, where he accepted his call to the ministry. After Honduras, he was then stationed in Seoul Korea and finally Tucson, Arizona. Thereafter ending his military career after 7.5 years, he yielded himself to the call and followed his parents to Florida to pursue ministry full time.
In preparation for ministry, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Luther Rice School and Seminary in Lithonia, GA, as well as a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology. While at Iliff, Mark received the “Preacher’s Award” and graduated May of 2012. Mark recently was accepted into the doctoral program at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH; where he hoped to follow in his mother’s path. Mark was also a licensed Chaplain, a career he pursued after pastoring and labored in until his health no longer permitted. We are proud of all his achievements and his strive for education and knowledge will never be forgotten. His legacy will continue through all of us who knew him and his passion for learning.
Mark served the Carter Tabernacle CME Church, Orlando, Florida under his mom, the Rev. Dr. Uylee R. Waugh, the Associate Pastor at the time, and Rev Roderick Zak, senior pastor, whom Mark thought of as a father in the ministry. There, Pastor Zak mentored Mark towards leadership and pastoral roles allowing him to lead bible study, visit sick and shut in, and teach Sunday School. Eventually he would become a full-time minister and Director of Evangelism. Mark was also a member of the member of the Mass Choir, Male Chorus, and newly established Praise Team, as week as a Mentor with Teens Loving Christ. While Mark obtained many talents, singing was indeed his passion. He believed music could shift your entire situation. This gift allowed him to professionally record with the late Rev. Ernest Davis, founder of the nationally known Wilmington Mass Choir of Delaware. Mark was also featured at the Boardwalk Resort of Walt Disney World as a part of their tribute to African American History. He also recorded Carter Tabernacle’s very own Songs from the Heart of Carter, “I Found A Love,” written by the late Milton Borens Jr of Orlando, Florida.
In 2000, Presiding Prelate, Bishop Paul A.G. Stewart asked Mark to serve as interim pastor for St Paul CME Church in Gainesville, Florida. Humbly, Mark readily accepted this position, which set him on the course for the rest of his ministry. In July 2003 Bishop Stewart appointed Mark to Cleaves Memorial CME Church of Denver, Colorado, in the 3rd Episcopal District, where he pastored for 16 years: the longest tenure currently for this zion. In 2019 Mark took a sabbatical from pastoring though he remained committed to the CME church at large and attended and preached at the Cleaves church when asked and health permitted.
While at Cleaves, a foster Care and adoption program, Heart of a Father, was birthed, working closely with the Department of Family Services and Lowery Family Advocates. In addition, A Women’s Shelter, Black Tie Affairs, 100 Women in Red, Purpose Driven Church Bible Studies, Fish Frys/Barbecues, Inductive Bible Study, 3 Tenors Musical, Real Men Cook, Back to School Jamborees, Cleaves Café (Spoken Word Fridays) are just a small list of ministries assembled under Rev. Mark’s leadership.
Mark was also a member of Together Colorado and the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance. These platforms addressed social issues affecting the community and church at large.
Within the conference Mark was a member of the Joint BOARD OF Finance, Director of the Board of Christian Education, and the Chair of the Committee of Ministerial Exam. Long before Covid Mark had the idea to assist up and coming minsters with learning the church’s doctrine and sponsored bi-weekly Zoom classes where each district worked online, strengthening our churches in preparation for annual conferences. Mark loved being innovative and creating structures that allowed growth and vision for the betterment of God’s people – To God be the Glory!
Mark participated in an Annual Christmas play for many years “The Black Nativity” under the direction of Connie Wilkins and Mile High Chapter. He was a soloist, one of the 3 Wise Men, and other alternating roles. Drama and music were passions of his and he got to do this with his children, who share the same passion, acquired his gift of singing and who participated as well.
Mark was devout Christian man and lived his life accordingly. He left his “mark” on all who encountered him. He preached and sang about the love of God, and the importance of having a personal relationship with, until his very last breath. He loved to sing, dance, read, fish, swim, travel, and spend time with family and friends. He recently planned what would be a final trip for he, his wife, and mother in love, Paris, France. Even with failing health, he was thinking of others and was determined to take that trip, celebrating 30 years with his bride! To know him was to love him!
Mark is preceded in death by his parents, Ross Hill Jr, Rev. Dr. Uylee Hill Waugh, and stepfather, James D. Waugh, niece Sarah Hill McLeod and grand-daughter, Paris Monet.
Mark entered eternal rest on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. He leaves to mourn his passing, yet celebrate his life, love and legacy, his wife of more than 30 years; Alesia C. Hill; 3 children, Bobby, Alexis Monet (Kenneth), and Mark II; 5 grandchildren, Bobby III, Karlyn, Kalob, Kairah, and Kaidon, all of Denver, Colorado; his mother in love, Ms. Patricia A. Duncan, Orlando, Florida; one brother, Ross B. Hill (Dr. Karen Hill), Philadelphia, PA and one sister, Roslynn Stewart, Lithonia, Georgia.; brother and sister in love, Dwayne Smith and Sonya Smith (Willie; 5 nephews, David (Kaitlyn), Johnathan (Rev. Dr Ericka Hill), Stephen, Michael James (Samantha), Antonio (Krysta); 5 nieces, Kristian (Reginald), Kendra, Krystal, Asia, and Kristian; 4 great nieces, 6 great nephews, a host of cousins, relatives, god children, spiritual family members and loved ones he affectionately referred to as “family”.
We can be sorry that life as we know it is over, or happy that it happened! We choose the latter!