History of St. Martin of Tours, Kalamazoo

Saint Martin of Tours Episcopal Church was founded as a diocesan mission in 1965 when Bishop Charles E. Bennison asked its first vicar, The Reverend Eric Geib, to establish a congregation on the expanding west side of Kalamazoo. After holding services in neighborhood schools for several years, the congregation dedicated its building - intended as an eventual parish hall - on the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, September 29, 1968. Members whose memories reach back to those early formative years can now laugh at the often muddy field which served as a parking lot, recall the antics of an electronic organ and admire the persistence of those who jingled a coffee can to collect donations for needy families and parish crises. Through ups and downs, as old members moved away or died and new members joined the community, the Sunday liturgy continued to be celebrated regularly. We have survived financial hardships and near foreclosure and in the process have become stronger.

By 1990, Saint Martin's had achieved fiscal stability and could begin looking beyond its own needs and planning confidently for the future. The original, once seemingly overwhelming, mortgage had been paid off and the congregation began developing plans for a major renovation of the existing building and an expansion which would enhance the outreach of the parish to the community. By then members had grown so used to, and so fond of, the space once intended as a future activities room that they elected to retain it as the sanctuary. The addition, which doubled the size of the building and brought the facility into compliance with handicap code and access regulations, was dedicated on the Feast of Saint Martin, November 11, 1993, by Bishop Edward L. Lee, Jr. In addition to providing space for parish committees and activities, the facility is now used by several support groups.

We have enjoyed excellent priests over the years. Since 1976 we have been served by only three priests, Fr. Willis Poyser, Fr. William Spaid, and currently Mo. Mary Perrin.