A Warm Welcome

Wherever you are on your faith journey, at St. Martin you will find the opportunity for fellowship, forming of faith, and praise and worship of God; also, as you may wish, the joy of belonging to and serving through a community that is centered in Christ’s ministry of love.  The privilege of welcoming you into our parish family is an exciting possibility.  May God bless you, your family, and your visit with us.

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Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Here are answers to questions you may have about St. Martin and the Episcopal faith. Click each question to reveal the answers.

How do you worship?

Our service, which we call liturgy, is printed in the Book of Common Prayer, which you will find in the pew rack in front of you with the red cover. The blue book, there also, is the Hymnal 1982. It contains most of the hymns we sing; otherwise, expect them to be printed out for you.
When you arrive, the ushers will give you a bulletin. Start with that, as it contains in order all page and hymn numbers that you will need for worship. In fact, portions of the liturgy, and the Scripture lessons appointed for that Sunday, are printed out in it verbatim for your convenience.

The focus of the first half of our liturgy is on the pulpit, the reading of Scripture, and the Word of God. For the second half, the focus shifts to the altar. There we celebrate the Holy Communion, which is a reenactment of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples.

All baptized Christians, including children, are welcome to receive the bread and wine at Communion. If you’d prefer not to, or prefer your children not to, that is fine; if you wish to come forward but not receive, that is fine, too, just fold your hands and the priest will give a blessing; otherwise, put right hand over left for the wafer and guide the chalice by its base to your lips.

What about personal comfort?

Restrooms are located off the vestibule to the right as you exit the worship space. Folks feel comfortable leaving and returning to worship as personal needs present.

How might I help you to help me?

We believe that the true sign of our love for Christ is directly reflected in how we serve you. So, it’s simple. Ask for what you need. Specifically, if you will leave your email address and other contact information on this page, or when you might visit and worship with us, it will be our privilege to respond to you.

What times are regular Sunday services? Are the services different?

Our regular service times are 8 and 10 a.m. Both services are in the Nave (worship space) and childcare is available from 9 a.m. until noon.

The 8 a.m. service includes a more traditional Eucharist (Rite I) with a penitential focus, a quiet reflective ambience, and sermon. There is no music.

Our 10 a.m. service is Eucharist (Rite II) and reflects a more joyful spirit of thanksgiving and praise. A broadly conceived worship experience, this service appeals to the diversity of faith needs of young, older, and family. Rite II features hymns and a choral offering from our parish choir or one of the other parish music ensembles. Lots of folks participate in this worship, as we celebrate the ministry and gifts of our members.

At the start of the 10 a.m. worship we also have Children’s Chapel for youngsters, ages three through six, within the context of Godly Play, which is a Montessori based Christian education program. Children return to the Nave at the Offertory to join their parents for Eucharist.

Is nursery or childcare available? Are my children welcome in the services?

We love children here at St. Martins, and as you will see, we have plenty of them! Moreover, our parish activities interface easily with Pre-School. Your children are welcome in any of our services at any time, or you may bring them to the Nursery. Childcare is available on Sundays from 9 a.m. until noon and on Wednesdays from 5 until 7 p.m. Be sure and ask any parishioner for directions to our childcare area.

What time is Sunday School?

We call it Christian formation, for we seek to provide resources for the forming of Christian character, nurturing the whole person in response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Offerings are usually on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evening – two focused times per week that are designed to interface well with busy people! We have offerings for all ages,

Our Christian formation activities begin the Sunday following Labor Day in the fall and end on Pentecost Sunday in late May. You and your children are welcome to attend any of the classes. Or, request a topic. Probably you’re not alone in your interest or inquiry, and we love to respond to opportunities for Christian formation.

If I’m a member of another Episcopal church?

If you are coming to us from an Episcopal background, you may contact the parish office and ask us to contact your previous parish to transfer your membership to St. Martins. We will then request your “Letter of Transfer.”

If I’ve been baptized in a church other than an Episcopal Church?

Register the date and place of your baptism with the parish office. You will then be a baptized member of Saint Martins and able to participate in all programs and ministries. You will not, however, be eligible to serve in or vote on an elected position (Vestry or diocesan committee) until you are a Confirmed or Received member.

What is Confirmation and how do I become confirmed?

Confirmation is a sacramental rite in which persons who have been duly prepared make a mature, public affirmation of their faith and a personal commitment to the responsibilities of Baptism, and then receive the laying-on-of-hands by the bishop. St Martins 101, an adult confirmation class taught by the Rector, includes topics relevant to this decision, such as Church History, The Book of Common Prayer, How the Bible Came to Be, Living the Christian Life, and Instructed Eucharist.

What if I have been confirmed in another church other than an Episcopal Church?

If you have been confirmed in another denomination (Roman Catholic, ELCA Lutheran, Orthodox) and have already received the laying-on-of-hands from a bishop, please speak to the rector who will arrange for you to be received by our Episcopal bishop. Persons who wish to be received generally take the confirmation class, Saint Martin’s 101, as a refresher of their previous preparation and as an introduction to this particular parish.

What is an Episcopalian?

An Episcopalian is a member of the Episcopal Church USA, which is the branch of the Anglican Communion in the United States, with more than 85 million members worldwide.  St. Martin of Tours, Chattanooga, is a member of the Episcopal Church USA in the Diocese of East Tennessee.

Perhaps, the word Episcopal is new to you.  It comes from the Greek word for over-sight and refers in the New Testament to the ministry of the apostles who oversaw the initial growth of Christianity.  Translated into Old English, the word becomes bishop.

What do Episcopalians believe?

The four hallmarks of an Episcopal understanding of the Christian faith follow:

  • The historic episcopate, as noted above, refers to bishops who continue the work of the first apostles of the Church, guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church, and ordaining men and women to continue Christ’s ministry.
  • Holy Scripture, we believe, is the revealed word of God who inspired the human authors of the constituent books of the Old and New Testaments.  The leadership of the Church, clergy and laity together, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, interpret scripture.
  • The Nicene Creed is the basic statement of our belief about God. It was adopted in the A.D. 300s by the early church fathers and is proclaimed every Sunday in Episcopal churches in the United States and throughout the Anglican world.
  • Baptism and Holy Eucharist, the two great sacraments of the Gospel, are given by Christ to his Church. In Baptism, we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In the Holy Eucharist, we remember and participate in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ until his coming again.

What’s unique about Episcopalians?

Our Anglican identity is contemporary.  It is formed and renewed by sacred conversation within the worshipping community, as we encounter God in and through the story of Jesus.  It is historical.  Episcopalians share a rich heritage of faith from both ancient Catholic (Roman and Celtic) origins in England and the Reformation in Europe.  And, it is prayer centered.  We Episcopalians find our unity as we celebrate Holy Eucharist, with liturgy written in the Book of Common Prayer — a worship resource that is distinctive to the Episcopal Church USA.

How do I become more involved at St. Martins?

On a Sunday morning, pick up a copy of the Newcomers Brochure from an usher. (The usher probably gave you one when you arrived for worship first time, that is, if you’ve already visited.) It features lots of helpful information and is especially designed for newcomers. All parish ministries are listed, including contact information for all staff members who would welcome your inquiry, and happily respond to your request to learn more and participate actively.

And take our survey of ministry opportunities—more than 30—here at St. Martin, which you will be able to access soon here on our website.

May I speak with a priest?

The best way to speak with a priest is to schedule a time. Click here to e-mail the rector, or call the church office at (423) 892-9131. Leave a voicemail, if necessary, and Jim or Gordon will gladly get back in touch with you.

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Father Jim Wallace

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Father Gordon Temple

How can I stay in touch with St. Martins?

Sign up for St. Martin’s Weekly e-Messenger here. It will arrive in your inbox every Tuesday to let you know what’s happening that week and upcoming Sunday.