Our Roots

The Tree of life

Lovingly tended by successive generations of faithful parishioners and dedicated clergy, St Martin’s Parish first took root in the years immediately after the first  world war. At that time land west of what is now Churchill Avenue featured small holdings and farms .The Parish Church of the day was  All Saints mission church adjacent to the Nepean Town Hall built in 1889.  Trekking from afar to attend worship there was proving increasingly difficult especially in winter.  In 1923 parishioners led by Mr. Fred Pooler and supported by the Reverend R.M. Stacey sought and received agreement from Bishop Roper to erect a new church with funds raised for its construction and the purchase of land at the corner of Woodroffe and Byron.

Laying the corner stone

Known as the little brown church, St Martin’s was built by volunteer labour and held its first worship service on May 31, 1925.  By 1927 St. Martin’s was established as an independent mission parish with the  Reverend  W.B Morgan appointed as the first rector with Charles Compton  and Fred Pooler serving respectively as the first Rector’s Warden and as the People’s Warden.  With the onset of the depression in 1930  it was no small miracle that St. Martin’s was debt free. It was the Reverend. Morgan who had the pleasure of burning the mortgage in 1929

Old location of St Martin's

Throughout the late 1940’s early 1950’s the burgeoning growth of suburbs with their influx of church going families found St Martin’s bursting at the seams and equipped to become a self supporting parish capable of rendering support to other mission parishes and meeting the needs of the community. By 1954 the need for new premises was clear. St. Martin’s congregation had grown to over seven hundred families with more than two hundred children regularly attending Sunday school. Three Sunday services were needed growing to four in later years

A handsome rise of land  on an acre sized lot situated where Prince Charles Road meets Lockhart Avenue was chosen as St Martin’s new site. The campaign  funding goal of $75,000– more than $685,000 in current dollars – was met and exceeded: a testament to the prayerful caring of parishioners of the day.

Ken Cowan was Rector of the Parish and the new Church was dedicated by Bishop Reed on January 12th 1956. In 1964 while David Thompson was Rector, the Education Wing was added.  St. Martin’s 80th anniversary was celebrated in 2005 with a well-attended Choral Evensong followed by an Anniversary Dinner in the Parish Hall. The Service of Evensong included a presentation entitled “Cloud of Witnesses” in which events during the life of the Parish were dramatized. At the dinner, St. Martin’s Rector from 1981 to 2009, the Reverend Rob Heard, welcomed  the Reverend Ken Cowan, the Reverend Dave Thompson and the Reverend Allan McGregor, all former Priests of the Parish.

In the years since its 80th anniversary St Martin’s has continued to serve and be served by a loyal and faithful church family: one comprising long time parishioners, newcomers ,  and an encouraging number of young families. In recent years St Martin’s has been fortunate to welcome newcomers who have moved into the neighbourhood. We continue to be enriched by those who find their way to St Martin’s

St. Martin’s also continues to be led by committed and caring clergy. Following Canon Rob Heard’s  eighteen years of service,  the Reverend Richard Vroom was at the helm between 2009-2014. The Reverend Canon Gerry Peddle was St Martin’s interim priest in charge (2014- 2015).  In 2015 The Reverend John Organ,, was appointed rector and remained at St Martin’s until 2018 when he was elected  Bishop of Western Newfoundland. In October 2018 the parish welcomed its first female incumbent, the Reverend Dr Mary-Catherine Garden

St Martin’s Building

St Martin’s is typical of mid-century church architecture in our diocese and occupies a prominent site on a small rise, overlooking the neighbourhood. Inside, it is striking for its wooden beams and columns. Look up and you will see that beams evoke the ribs of a boat. The church space is light-filled space and at any time of day, you’ll find sunlight floods into the nave and sanctuary and through our set of twenty memorial windows. At night, when the lights are on, passersby are treated to the jewel tones of our stained-glass windows

Stained Glass Windows

The stained-glass windows at St Martin’s date between 1928 and 1994. Our oldest windows came from the original St Martin’s and date to the 1920s and are found in the Chapel. Running the length of the nave are a set of twenty windows which depict scenes from the life of Christ. On the north side, near the lectern can be found the St Martin’s window. These xx windows are the work of Dutch-born stained-glass artist Theodore Lubbers who emigrated to Canada after WWII. Other examples of his work may be found in churches, synagogues and residences throughout Canada.

In 1994 the ‘Creation’ window dedicated was installed in the south transept near the organ. On sunny days the coloured beams wash across the sanctuary and light up the altar.