All are welcome to receive communion at St. Martin’s. We believe that Christ is present in the bread and the wine, feeding and strengthening our unbreakable bond of love with God and each other. This sacred meal nurtures us with the grace we need to live Christ-like lives in the world.
We believe that Jesus gave us this gift to remember him and to be renewed by his saving and healing presence. The gift is his to give and it is not our place to exclude anyone who so desires from receiving it. Children of all ages are welcome to receive as well as people who are baptized or not yet baptized.
If you receive communion prior to baptism we hope this sacred act will be a gateway to receiving the gift of baptism along with the vows which go with it. If you want to learn more about communion, the clergy and lay members of the congregation are always ready to help.
Every communion is potentially a ‘first communion’ at St. Martin’s, so we have also developed a First Solemn Communion class for that milestone. Please see the additional information below.
Wafers are used at the 8:00 a.m. service. Bread is used at all other services. Gluten-free wafers are available at all services. Please request one from a member of the clergy.
For Grades 4-6
Holy Communion is a gift Jesus gave us full of grace, nurture and mystery. At each stage of life we grow deeper into the meaning and experience of Jesus giving his whole self to us in the bread and the wine. At a church like St. Martin’s where children receive communion from the beginning of life it is important to nurture them in the meaning of the sacrament as they mature.
The First Solemn Communion Retreat is a Saturday afternoon program designed to help older elementary children explore and deepen their relationship with the sacrament. Active and reflective portions of the program from baking bread together to an instructed liturgy to opportunities to listen to and reflect on Jesus’ teaching will be offered. We would like parent’s to join us from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the retreat to do a craft activity with your children and close the day with a brief ceremony.
Children will receive their ‘first solemn communion’ on the following Sunday. They will wear special stoles to indicate this solemn days and parents may wish to present them with a bible, a prayer book or a cross. This class is typically offered in the spring, and is led by The Rev. Jarrett Kerbel and Barbara Ballenger.
With the guidance of the Book of Common Prayer and our long experience, the clergy and leadership of St. Martin’s recommend that confirmation preparation occur during senior year of high school for young people who are raised in the church.
On page 412 of the Book of Common Prayer, confirmation is described: “In the course of their Christian development, those baptized at an early age are expected, when they are ready and have been duly prepared, to make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their baptism and to receive the laying on of hands by the bishop.”
In other words, in maturity we are called to affirm the faith that was a gift to us as children and to ask the help of the Christian community in living out our baptismal vows. We feel that the conditions for a mature, personal choice for faith in Christ are most likely in senior year. This is the most mature these young people will be while still in our orbit. Our one exception to our age guidelines for confirmation is for youth who will be entering boarding school in 9th grade. In those cases, we would prefer to work with them during the summer of their junior year when they are home from school.
At St. Martin’s, we believe that in the integrity of the sacrament the choice must be free, and un-coerced by parents or other adults. We believe that juniors and seniors in high school – by and large – have the maturity to resist pressure and make a consequential, public decision for themselves. Confirmation preparation can end with a choice to be confirmed or not.
To be confirmed a young person must be regular in attendance at worship (regular participation in word, sacrament, and fellowship is a baptismal vow), and active in Youth Forum. We will hold an information session about confirmation in the fall of each program year and the clergy will lead small group class (seminars) between January and May.
As much as possible, we will ask to have confirmation at St. Martin’s when a bishop visits. If this is not possible, confirmation for all candidates will take place at the cathedral.
Are you an adolescent or adult member of St. Martin’s who was never baptized? Please see the clergy to set up baptismal preparation sessions if you are interested in receiving this rite of initiation.
Perhaps you were baptized as a child but never confirmed? The Rite of Confirmation is your public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ and your commitment to live your life in His body, the church. The clergy are always ready to set up classes to prepare adults for confirmation.
Maybe you were baptized and confirmed already in another church tradition and now you want to affirm your commitment to the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement? The Rite of Reception is offered whenever a bishop visits. Please see the clergy if you would like to be received formally into the Episcopal Church.
Contact a Member of the Clergy
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
Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.
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.