As their sign board notes, St. Martin’s is clearly welcoming of young families with children, no matter the noise they bring! During the worship service we attended, no one seemed phased (including the preacher) by a child turning a garbage can and heat register into a drum during the sermon. I’m not sure how that affects their online ministry–they post a youtube of the service every Sunday. Due to copyright, this cannot include music (hymns or anthems), but the liturgy, readings & sermon are appreciated by those who cannot attend the service. The congregants name St. Martin’s primary strengths as the sermons and a diverse music ministry of multiple choirs & instrumentalists offering different types of music.
St. Martin’s also has a strong lay pastoral care ministry. 23 volunteers call every family in the congregation twice a year just to check-in. A prayer mate for each caller offers a prayer while they are making their calls. Lay pastoral care givers also visit those who are shut-in, offer home communion and bring “Christmas in a Bag” to those who cannot attend the Christmas Eve services. The bag contains the Christmas Eve liturgy, reading and meditation, a tea bag and a tea light.
They have developed strong financial management of bequests and large gifts that are used to support building maintenance, capital projects, education and social justice initiatives of the congregation. Whenever they receive a gift, they encourage the congregation to match it and the congregation responds well to this challenge.
On the Sunday we attended St. Martin’s, they showed a 50 minute video following the service about living into our treaty obligations. St. Martin’s Affirming group has included the TRC Calls to Action as part of their mandate.
These are just a few snapshots of the ministry at St. Martin’s. Next week, we will return to Winnipeg and visit Charleswood United Church. http://charleswoodunited.org