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A York College Alum, Pastor Builds Faith, Community, and Empire in York

Photo of Mark Kearse

As the Rev. Dr. Mark K. Kearse balances his faith and entrepreneurial aspirations, he builds bridges between communities and forges a better life for those around him.

You might have run into the Rev. Dr. Mark K. Kearse ’05 chatting to stall owners at Central Market York. Or you could have spotted the new part-owner of the York Revolution, an independent, professional baseball team, sporting a jersey at a game. Or maybe you found yourself captivated during one of his services filled with songs and community spirit at Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Wherever you met him, if you met him, he left an impression.

“I love being around people,” Kearse says. “I love talking.” He wears many hats, but in all of them he considers himself an ambassador for his community, faith, resilience, and inspiration.

He’s building an empire, one that he can pass along to his son, and one whose foundation was constructed at York College of Pennsylvania.

Surrendering to God

Kearse served in the Navy from 1986-1990 when he first felt a nudge on his shoulder. Then it was a push, a prod.

“God called me to preach,” he says. He ran from that calling for about a year. “Finally, I just stopped fighting. Surrendered—that’s the word.” In that surrender he felt peace.

Around that time, he was pursuing a degree in Business Administration at York College, trying to figure out his next steps. He was in a Business Statistics class in Campbell Hall when it became clear that this was not his path. He stood up, walked across campus, and changed his major to Behavioral Science.

“I had a wonderful time at York College,” he says. “I have nothing but great things to say about York College even though my journey was nontraditional.”

Kearse was ministering, working full-time, and raising a young family while pursuing his education. There were times when he had to step away from school and a final year with a heavy course load, but he eventually completed his foundation, earning a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and a stepping stone to earning his doctorate.


September will mark 13 years since Kearse founded Cornerstone Baptist Church in his hometown of York.

“I still believe God was calling me to invest in my community and give back to my community and become a bridge between the secular and my own community,” he says.

Kearse’s interests don’t end at the church. He started a property and investment company in 2021, and recently became a community owner of the York Revolution.

“That’s the entrepreneur in me,” he says. “I’m really working to create generational wealth and security and stability for my son and the generations following him.”

When he talks about this with his son, they call it the empire. Building that empire means his son, now a college senior, can be free to pursue whatever he wants in life, a priority for the family.


Kearse doesn’t want to create opportunity just for his son. He wants it for the entire community.

“I love my city. In the community I want to be more of a role model and mentor for what is possible,” he says. “You don’t have to live life only reaching for this perceived cultural ceiling.”

He co-founded Cornerstone Youth Home, which provides sanctuary for homeless youth. He calls it an incubator, a place that can help bring stability to the whole family.

“It’s important because I know how different my life is because I grew up in a stable environment,” he says.

Kearse strives to always be the ambassador, forging connections, and building bridges.

“I want my legacy to be that I’ve created opportunities,” he says. “To create a pathway for the disenfranchised to become owners of their future and to understand that, though you may grow up in a disenfranchised sector of society, it doesn’t always have to be that way.”