It gave me a chance to connect my grief with the faith tradition that was meaningful to me.

Pam Prell

Pam Prell’s brother and only sibling died in a car accident in the summer of 2005. Six months later, when her family was going through a difficult transition, she decided to accept a Stephen Minister thinking it was a chance for her to be taken care of, to be heard.

We started meeting weekly and I told her about my brother’s death. I really thought that was background to my real story—what was really going on in my life. And then we proceeded to talk about other things, but as the spring went on and the summer began it became very obvious that the anniversary of his death and the months leading up to that were going to be as painful as anything I had experienced.

And having her there, the weekly time to step out of the routine of my life and the demands of anything else, any other role, any expectations as wife, mother or daughter, and just talk to another person who listened and prayed with me and opened up new books and thoughts and insights about the Gospel and about faith was incredibly meaningful for me for that summer. It really was like a lifeline. And it carried me through that time leading up to the anniversary, very literally.

Because the night of the anniversary, I stayed up reading a book that she’d given me. And I knew she was thinking about me. I knew that I felt a connection to my church because of it. My brother wasn’t an Episcopalian; my parent’s aren’t, so it gave me a chance to connect my grief with the faith tradition that was meaningful to me and supportive of me during that time.

And then as the weeks went on after that it was clear that things had shifted, that it really had been about getting through that anniversary, and the relationship shifted a little bit and the conversations shifted and I could tell that we were ready to move on to a different place in our relationship and that felt good.

I see her from time to time. We don’t meet on a regular basis any more although it feels very easy for me to arrange that and I hope for her, too.

But we have busy lives, as everyone does. But there are these moments, and I think about one in particular that took place several months after we’d stopped meeting on a regular basis.

I was sitting on a pew on a Sunday morning and the sermon was particularly poignant and echoed so many of the things that she knew I had struggled with and was so evocative of that story. She happened to be in that service that day.

We made eye contact and that moment – I guess it symbolized what this whole ministry was about for me, because this was a person I had never met before and now she knew what some of the deepest parts of what I was going through. And though we don’t have any other social contact or overlap in our life, it feels so powerful to have a fellow parishioner at St. Martin’s who knows my story and connects with me on that level.

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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