We weren’t quite certain that there was an appetite (no pun intended) for this program.

Debra Roberts

Debra Roberts and a few St. Martin’s parishioners launched an experiment during Lent – a feeding program for the community – that far surpassed their expectations. It also challenged their original assumptions of what “community” they were really serving.

When we started we really had no idea what we – we just liked being in the kitchen together. By then we had a group of 8 or 10 cooks in the kitchen. And one of our volunteers said, “It’s like kitchen ballet,” where every week we’re bending over, climbing over each other to get this meal out on time. But what happened is the cooks that would come would all add their culinary “two cents” – oh, let’s do this and let’s do this – and so it became this wonderful partnership of former caterers, frustrated caterers, former cooks. But everybody who might not have known each other but knew they wanted to be in the kitchen.

So, as I said, there were 8 to 10 cooks but then we had a group of 20 to 25 who were willing to help clean up, help set up. So really we were looking at 30 volunteers, which was amazing. We weren’t quite certain that there was an (no pun intended) appetite for this program or if there would be an appetite for volunteers who would continue it and support it.

So the original vision was we would be feeding. And we were really quite interested in doing this for others – feeding the community and all these other wonderful things outwardly bound for a meal ministry. But a funny thing happened on the way to “Supper.” We found out that within the community of St. Martin’s there are people who attend one service exclusively over the others. So they don’t get to meet other parishioners who might go to a different – you know, like 8 o’clock vs. 9, etc. So when we had comment cards, there were a couple of cards that said, “I’m so excited to meet other parishioners at St. Martin’s who I never get a chance to meet – but to sit down with them for an hour over a great meal and just talk and get to know them” – that time of comment.

We got feedback from a single mother from Mt. Airy who contacted Callie and said, “Is it truly a free meal?” She said, “My daughter and I have a hard time making ends meet, so when I saw ‘free,’ I burst into tears. So I must be a little more anxious about our situation than I thought.”

We assured her that she and her daughter would be more than welcome. So they’ve come several times and they’ve brought other single parents with their children to enjoy Supper with them.

But I think my favorite part is getting to know these cooks and caterers in the kitchen – and that who knew that while we thought we would be feeding this community of parishioners and guests across the community, that we would really be feeding ourselves.

The friendships that we have created are amazing, and we are lucky to have this ministry, which is serving so many communities at St. Martin’s.

Regular Sunday Service Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 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, 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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