A very brief history
of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
First services were conducted in the Fairlee Town Hall by clergy from St. Paul’s Church in White River Junction (The Rev. Peter Tomkins) and St. Barnabas’ Church in Norwich (The Rev. Roger Green and The Rev. Hayward Crewe).
Land for the church building was given by the Ward family, who owned the Lake Morey Inn. The first service in the newly built facility was held at 7 p.m. on St. Martin’s Day (Monday, November 11) in 1963, with Hayward Crewe presiding and 27 people in attendance.
“St. Martin’s Chapel” was officially dedicated by The Rt. Rev. Harvey Butterfield, Bishop of Vermont, on Saturday, November 17, 1963 at 4 p.m. More than 150 people attended the dedication. (Note: one of the first services in the new building was a memorial service for President John Kennedy, who was assassinated on November 23.)
A variety of clergy served St. Martin’s in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including The Rev. DeWitt Mallary, who presided at several Sunday services in August of 1969, and The Rev. Jeffrey Rowthorn who served for several summers and was housed in a building near the church.
In the fall of 1971, The Rev. Bill Atkinson began his service as priest at St. Martin’s Chapel. Bill also worked as Assistant Principal at the high school in Barre,Vermont.
An occasional guest celebrant and preacher in the summers during Bill’s tenure was The Rev. Pete Kelsey.
Bill Atkinson completed his work at St. Martin’s in November of 1984 and was succeeded by The Rev. Karen Sheldon, who served until June of 1987.During her tenure, the name of the parish was changed to “St. Martin’s Church.”
After Karen left, various guest clergy officiated at services and there were also services of Morning Prayer led by Lay Readers, including Julia Fifield and Bob Jones.
The Rev. Carlyle Meacham served St. Martin’s from February of 1988 until June of 1991.
In June of 1993, The Rev. Norman Runnion became Rector of St. Martin’s and he served until October of 2001.
In May of 1999, the newly built “Gathering Room” was dedicated.
The Rev. John Morris was appointed Priest-in-Charge by Bishop Tom Ely and began work in March of 2002. In December of 2004, he was called to be Rector.
A capital campaign was held in 2008 to raise funds for a new pipe organ and for refurbishing the worship space. The organ was built by Peter Walker of Brattleboro, Vermont and was dedicated in October of 2010.
John Morris retired as Rector on November 1, 2013.