History

Since its founding in 1952, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church has grown to become the largest Episcopal Church in North America with more than 8,700 members. The Parish celebrates worship at five Sunday and three Wednesday services in both traditional and contemporary liturgical styles that provide an opportunity to give thanks and praise to God in the Anglican evangelical and orthodox tradition. The Church offers a wide range of Christian Education programs for the entire family, as well as numerous Outreach and Missions opportunities, and a variety of programs and events for adults, youth and children.

September 7, 1952
St. Martin’s was founded by the Rev. J. Thomas Bagby. One hundred twenty-five people attended the first service at the house on Post Oak Road (pictured at left).

January 1953
Accepted as a self-supporting Parish with 263 communicants.

1954
Four acres of land on Sage Road were purchased and the first Church building was constructed. This building is now Founders’ Hall. The first Bagby Parish Hall became our new Church home in 1954

1959
Large expansion completed with new Chapel, parlor, offices and classrooms. New sanctuary was ready for Easter Sunday services on March 29.

September 7, 1962
10th anniversary – St. Martin’s had grown to 2,791 baptized members.

September 7, 1977
25th Anniversary and dedication of the Wayside Chapel for All People

1983
The Rev. Dr. J. Thomas Bagby retired at the age of 72.

August 28, 1983
The Rev. Claude E. Payne became the second Rector.

1984
“The Vision Awaits Its Time” capital campaign was conducted. Major expansion took place, adding our Education Building, Library and Choir Hall.

1986
St. Martin’s Activity Center was opened.

1993
The Rev. Claude E. Payne was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

1994
The Rev. Laurence A. Gipson, then Dean of the Cathedral of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama, became the third Rector.

1990s
St. Martin’s had become one of the largest Episcopal Churches in the United States.

1997
“Building to Bless Forward in Faith” capital campaign for construction of a new Church, Parish Hall, Cloister and playground

September 8, 2002
Celebration of St. Martin’s first 50 years. St. Martin’s has more than 7,000 members.

February 8, 2004
The Parade of Pipes – 750 parishioners helped carry 4,555 organ pipes into the sanctuary.

April 11, 2004
Regular worship in the New Church (now renamed The Church) begins with Easter services.

June 22, 2006
The Rev. Laurence A. Gipson, D.D. announces his retirement.

April 29, 2007
The new Cloister Garden is dedicated.

May 8, 2007
Rector search committee calls the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr. as our new Rector.

June 24, 2007
The new Garden of the Holy Cross – Riverway is consecrated and dedicated.

2007
St. Martin’s acquires a 15th century museum-quality Altarpiece, a triptych depicting the life of St. Martin. It resides in the east wing of The Church, in what has been named the Patron’s Chapel.

August 26, 2007
The Inaugural Liturgy of the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr., fourth Rector.

January 4– 8, 2008
The Most Rev. and Rt. Honorable Dr. George L. Carey, 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, visits St. Martin’s. On January 6, St. Martin’s instituted its fourth Rector, the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.

Spring 2008
St. Martin’s acquires three acres east of campus and begins master planning process for its use.

May 10, 2008
Then Bishop of Texas the Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly confirmed 100 adults and youth in the largest class in his entire episcopate.

November 22, 2008
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle was ordained bishop coadjutor for the Diocese of Texas at St. Martin’s.

April 5, 2009
Family Table worship services move to the Old Church.

Spring 2010
Launch of $25 million “Building for Life” capital campaign to expand and renovate the Church’s facilities, ministries and operations

April 10, 2011
“Building for Life” ceremonial groundbreaking for our new buildings The Island/The Scout Center, and The Hope and Healing Center

Click here to watch a video about the groundbreaking ceremony.

January 29, 2012
Unveiling of the new Welcoming Christ tympanum.

Spring 2012
St. Martin’s acquires the 5005 Woodway property.