The history of Saint Martin’s is an inspiring one. It is a story of the dedication, faith and realism of Christ’s people in action. The idea of a mission on the site of Saint Martin’s was conceived in the hearts and minds of the Vestry of Saint James’ Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia. In celebration of their 50th anniversary, the members of Saint James’ Church raised the necessary funds needed for the establishment of a new mission church in the “growing West End of Richmond.” The campaign to raise the funds commenced in 1962 and was fully funded in less than 30 days. The idea of Saint Martin’s became a reality when the Diocese of Virginia called The Reverend Eugene E. Grumbine, the assistant at Saint James, to form the congregation of Saint Martin’s.
Our name was selected to honor the chimes in the tower of Saint James Church, which were themselves inspired by the chimes of Saint Martin’s-in-the-Field in London, England. Saint Martin’s celebrated its first Eucharist on October 13, 1963 in the cafeteria of J. R. Tucker High School. That same month, Father Grumbine called upon the other area churches for help in spreading the news of the fledgling church. The men of Saint Stephen’s, Saint Matthew’s, Saint James’, Saint Mark’s, The Church of the Holy Comforter, and The Church of the Redeemer responded whole-heartedly in a door to door campaign to let people in the community know about the formation of the new congregation and to stimulate interest in this venture. Services were first held in the present facilities on August 2, 1964.
The following seven years were a period of continuing growth for the small mission church. In August 1971, Father Grumbine resigned as Vicar. Eight months later, in April 1972, the Reverend Murray Bullock was called as Saint Martin’s second Vicar. During his tenure, the Eucharist became the central worship service. It was he who introduced mid-week services which continue today.
In 1977, Father Bullock accepted a call to Louisiana, and one year later The Reverend W. Frisby Hendricks, III, became the third Vicar and subsequently the first Rector, when in January 1982, Saint Martin’s was elevated to parish status by the 187th Diocesan Council. During Father Hendricks’ tenure, many community and ecumenical programs were established and communicant strength grew to more than 200 parishioners. In August 1989, Father Hendricks accepted a call to Binghamton New York.
In December 1990, The Reverend Theodore McConnell became the Rector of Saint Martin’s. It was he who was instrumental in leading the congregation in expanding our parish facilities to include a new parish hall, kitchen and administrative offices. The congregation moved into the new building December 24, 1994. During these years Mike McConnell crafted our first Stations of the Cross as his Eagle Scout project. Subsequently, Father McConnell accepted a call to Christ Church, Gordonsville, Virginia, in March 1997.
The Reverend Dr. David Handy followed Father McConnell and served for 18 months as Priest- in -Charge.
For approximately 6 months, Saint Martin’s was served by several retired Priests in the area.
In 2000 God blessed us with the Reverend Douglas Burgoyne, recently retired from All Saints Church. Under Father Doug’s guidance, both our membership and our financial support increased. Father Doug prepared us to call our next PrieSaint
He taught us:
The next and current chapter in our Saint Martin’s parish life began in 2004 as God continued to bless us when he sent The Reverand Lee Hutchson to be our 3rd Rector. Father Lee, Michelle, and Andrew arrived in Richmond from Tallahassee, FL, full of energy. Father Lee was steeped in Biblical teachings and history, with a passion for pastoral support.
Father Lee has been able to garner additional congregational growth and financial stability. Our church life has flourished. We have renovated the church and added a covered breezeway, and have paid off our church note. He is our dear friend and a kind and compassionate priest.
Throughout our parish history, we have developed a close relationship with our Boy Scout Troop 777. We are so fortunate to have them as willing stewards to the building and grounds and special projects here at Saint Martin’s.
As we remember the past and look forward to the future, Saint Martin’s remains a strong family committed to nurturing our children in the faith. We are blessed to have multigenerational Martinites worship God together.
9000 St. Martin’s Lane | Richmond, Virginia 23294 | Phone: 804-270-6786 | Fax: 804-270-3286
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