A brief look at our church history
In 1970, six families united to form St. Martin-in-the-Fields in a semi-rural area of northeast Tarrant County. With what turned out to be fantastic foresight, they purchased 11+ acres of land. We are now surrounded by new neighborhoods on the Keller/Southlake city limits. We have grown from a few families into a vibrant and nurturing parish that welcomes all who come seeking God. Come join us and experience God’s grace in a loving, inclusive and affirming Christian community. We are here throughout the week and every weekend.
Our place of worship and education for most of the first 10 years was a mobile home trailer in the middle of a cow pasture. Sometimes the coffers of this small mission ran low (or empty!), and paying for the land was difficult. Selling part of our land to help make ends meet was tempting. With God’s help, the few families who made up the congregation met each crisis, and the land they purchased remained intact. Thanks be to God and his Spirit in the families at St. Martin’s, the final land payment was made in February 1991.
In 1976, Bishop Davies gave St. Martin’s the historic St. Philip’s building which was located in south Dallas (we were part of the Diocese of Dallas at the time; the Diocese of Fort Worth had not yet been formed.) The church at St. Philip’s was lifted from its foundation and moved to Keller in June 1977.
Fire destroyed the building only a few weeks later. A trailer once again provided us a worship place. The St. Martin’s family worked together to begin another building with proceeds from garage sales, bake sales, bazaars, and an insurance settlement from the ruined building. Foundation for the building housing the nave was poured in January 1979 and the building was completed in 1982.
Beginning in July 1985, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic community cohabitated in our facility, and they staggered their worship services with us until they moved into their new facility in February 1988. The trailer, our place of worship for so many years, was sold in 1987 to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for $1,500. This money was put into a saving account marked for the beginning of an education building fund.
In 1987, long range planning for land use was begun and continued in earnest in 1988 when we had a year-long stewardship program. All of the congregation was involved in planning meetings to our wants and needs for the precious gift that was given to us by our founding families – 11+ acres of land in an area of rapidly expanding population. 1989 was a very important and busy year. In 1989, we attained the status of a parish, declaring ourselves financially able to survive without assistance from the diocese. Our senior warden that year was Bo Foote, who was one of our first bishop’s wardens.
1990 brought the establishment of a Development Committee. The Committee was charged with taking the input derived from the past three years of long range planning and incorporating these ideas and our vision into a Master Plan. Our founding families cherished a dream of one day having a school at St. Martin’s. This dream was kept alive in the design of the education building with the incorporation of infant washroom facilities and expandable walls to the east in anticipation of additional classrooms. The north wall will expand to accommodate a larger parish hall when this is needed. Our “Prepare The Way” capital funds campaign resulted in $227,000 being pledged, and payment of pledges ended successfully in December 1994. Construction on our education building, which was the first phase of our four-phase, 20-year master plan, was completed in November 1994 and dedicated on November 11, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours.
Other additions to St. Martin’s are the children’s playground and the Memorial Garden & Columbarium. Both facilities are the result of the ingenuity and labor of members of St. Martin’s parish. St. Martin’s is a growing parish with a large number of children and an active youth ministry. At the other end of the spectrum, there are a good number of retirees!
As neighborhoods around the church developed, Southlake’s 12-acre public Chesapeake Park was built adjacent to our property. The park’s trails and well-maintained greenspace have added a vibrant connection between our church and the nearby neighborhoods.
We have not yet built on all of our land, and we allow the City of Southlake to use the undeveloped area south of our parking lot for soccer practice fields. The church master plan is to build a larger worship space on the south side of our property.
We are located in Southlake, but serve a number of surrounding cities including Keller, Grapevine, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Roanoke, Hurst, Colleyville, Bedford, Westlake, Haltom City, and Fort Worth. As we continue to build and grow and plan for our part of God’s work in His Kingdom, our history continues. Each new member is a part of the on-going story of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. May God bless us all! Come and be with us.