We’re working to have people who will have the courage to want to make a difference in their communities.

Dwayne Royster

We met Bishop Dwayne Royster, Pastor and Founder of Living Water United Church of Christ, at the founding convention of POWER, where St. Martin’s parishioners gathered with more than 2,000 other people of faith from across the City. At the convention Bishop Royster was named Executive Director of this grassroots organization, whose goal is to address problems that plague our neighborhoods. We asked him to talk with us about “courage.”

I remember one of the members of our congregation, one of the women in our church telling me about her son who she brought to church in a wheelchair who was pretty much in a persistent vegetative state. She cared for him day and night and had attendants that were with her at all times to help care for him. And she began to tell the story about how her son was a student at St. Joe’s prep; he was an honor student – had a four-year scholarship to go to Harvard University as a pre-med student. They lived in the North Philly area. 

One day coming home from school in his senior year he went to a community store – a Chinese store – to get some food to go home and do his homework. While he was in the store he came across a robbery, was shot in the process at a very young age and wound up in a vegetative state.

This mother was devastated by what happened; the family was devastated by what happened. Unfortunately she was estranged from her husband at the time. He found out; he was in the military, he found out what was happening, came home and tried to kill her because all their hopes for their family were lying in this son, that he was going to become a physician and he was going to do great things in the community. Great pain that existed here.

But what was so courageous for me was that this mother did not let her son’s memory or his desire to have impact in the community die. But she began to tell his story over and over again to anybody who would listen. She began to show up at rallies and to work towards anti-violence campaigns.

And so I am reminded of the courage that she has to get up every day. To remember all the history—the son, her ex-husband who was trying to kill her. But the fact that she gets up and is not willing to let his story or the impact that his life could have die in the process but that, in fact, she has continued to allow his life to have impact by telling his story and trying to encourage other people.

One of the things that we recognize in POWER is that we are effected by the systems that go on around us. And this young man was effected by the systems. We don’t why the man was robbing the store; we don’t know what was going on at that moment in time, but there are broken systems in our communities. There are broken systems that people would want to rob a store. There are broken systems that somebody would want to shoot a child.

We’re working to have people who will stand up and are not willing to stand idly by and be passive citizens in their city but instead they have the courage to get up and want to make a difference in their communities and no longer say, “I can’t fix it” or “It’s bigger than me,” but to stand with other people who have the courage to say there’s power in me. And that together I have more power if both of us are together and if I bring a third person, then we have more power together to begin to have a collective base of power – that folk can have a say in their city, they can have a say in how they want the systems to be run and they can have a say in their collective destiny together toward the future.

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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