About Our Liturgy and Worship

Worship is the heart of St. Martin’s.
From our encounter with God in worship we are renewed as a community.
Through worship we are empowered to serve God at home, at work and in the world.

Crucifer Nikki WoodOur worship is informed by deep prayerfulness, reverence, dignity and thoughtful preparation. At St. Martin’s we use the word “liturgy” when we talk about worship. Liturgy is a Greek word, which means “the work of the people.” Our liturgy values the participation of everyone present in body, mind, and spirit. Because we have a high regard for God’s creation, we use everything at our disposal and appeal to all of our senses as we celebrate God’s presence among us in our worship. Liturgy is beautiful, because beauty lifts us into God’s goodness and restores our weary souls.

Liturgy as an image of life lived with God is at the center of everything we do. At the center of our worship both physically and spiritually is the Communion table. Every Sunday, we share in communion with Jesus Christ through his gift of himself in the bread and wine. This is the central mystery of our faith. God withheld nothing, and gave everything to reach humanity and restore us to healthy relationship with our Creator. We use the ancient Greek word ‘Eucharist’ to describe this worship centered on God’s gifts because Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving.’ We gather in gratitude and joy because God chooses to include us in the Divine life through his son. 

Everyone is welcome to receive communion at St. Martin’s without exception. We believe that the Eucharist is God present with us; feeding us and including us in God’s inner life, and that all who choose to enter that mystery are welcomed. We also believe that Eucharistic Liturgy is a gift meant to strengthen us for ministry in the world. Each week, liturgy recharges our batteries so we can face our daily ministries with grace, courage, and faithfulness. If your first encounter with God is through communion, we hope your journey will also include baptism when the time is right, to fully accept God’s unconditional love for you and then to respond with vows that commit you to a life of discipleship.

St. Martin’s follows the Book of Common Prayer and its supplements and our worship has both formal and informal elements. Ancient tradition is deeply meaningful here but we also believe that God is still speaking. We strive to stay alive to the conversation of past and present. Our worship is often full of laughter, tears, powerful intimacy, deep contemplation, and thrilling inspiration.

Our 8 a.m. Sunday Eucharist is peaceful and quiet. We leave silence throughout the liturgy for reflection and prayer.

Our 9 a.m. Sunday Eucharist is less formal and designed for all ages. There is plenty of music, but we try to keep it simple. The whole congregation gathers around the altar for the blessing of the bread and wine and we pass the bread and the wine from person to person. This gathering is a wonderful representation of God present in community. Music is led by a the Parish and/or Treble Choirs. The 9 a.m. service lasts 50 minutes so children can get to Church School and Youth Forum and so adults may participate in other opportunities such as the Parish Forum.

worship.together is our 10:15 a.m. Eucharist for families with young children. Specifically designed with 0-5 year-olds in mind, this half-hour Eucharist helps engage children in story, song and prayer while helping to develop their sense of God. The service includes singing, a gospel story, interactive prayers, and communion. Children (and parents/caregivers!) are invited to sit on the floor to experience the service firsthand, and often participate in many aspects of the service by carrying the processional cross, assisting with serving communion, and offering their own prayers of intercession. Happy chatter and joyful wiggles are most welcome!

Our 11:15 a.m. Eucharist is more formal and features our outstanding Chancel Choir. This liturgy is transcendent in its beauty and deeply prayerful in the participation of the people. All ages are welcome and the liturgy lasts 1 hour.  Though it is more formal, it is a very easy-going group of people who love to laugh and welcome visitors of all ages.

At each liturgy we offer laying on of hands and prayer for healing during communion.

New Hymnal

LEVAS coverIntroducing our new hymnal, Lift Every Voice and Sing (LEVAS) which will supplement our current 1982 hymnal in the pews.

Why another hymnal? The Episcopal hymn tradition is much broader than one hymnal can capture. It takes a new hymnal committee years to agree on which hymns to include and exclude (otherwise it would be one hymnal in 10 volumes!)

LEVAS celebrates the African American hymn tradition. The Episcopal Church in Philadelphia was the first in the nation to ordain both African Americans and women. Absalom Jones was ordained as the first Black Episcopal priest in 1802 by Bishop William White. Born into slavery in Delaware, he was freed by his owner and purchased his wife’s freedom. The Rev. Jones went on to form the Free African Society in 1787. He established the Free African Church with Richard Allen which went on to align itself with the Episcopal Church, becoming the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, one of the first Black churches in the nation and the first black Episcopal church.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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