In the spring of the year 1887 a separate parish was organized near Radnor station at what had, up to this time, been the Mission Chapel of the Church of the Good Shepherd, now for many years known as St. Martin’s Church, Radnor. Consent for the organization of this new parish was obtained from the rectors of the Church of the Good Shepherd, of St. David’s Church in Radnor and of Calvary Church in Conshohocken. These were the three parishes nearest to the former Mission Chapel.
The consent of the corporate authorities of the Church of the Good Shepherd was also necessary, as well as the promise of the conveyance of the lot of ground and of the chapel building to a new corporation to be formed, subject to certain conditions. These conditions were: “First, that the said corporation should conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Second, that all sittings in the church of said corporation should be always free and unappropriated, and third, that the property should revert to the grantor if the services in the church were not regularly maintained.”
Articles of association of St. Martin’s Church, Radnor, were then entered into and the first vestrymen chosen. This original vestry was composed of the following nine men, all of whom had been active in the building of the Mission Chapel and the organization of the new parish: W. W. Montgomery, Daniel S. Newhall, Theodore D. Rand, Joseph C. Egbert, William H. Badger, F. Linwood Garrison, Charles F. Hinkle, George W. Righter and George Stuckey.
Among others who came on to the vestry in the early days, when any of the original members left, were Charles F. Hatch, Robert H. W. Koons, Leonis W. Stroud, Moses B. Paxson, W. T. Robinson, P. Randolph Kirk, Charles Stilwell Eldredge and W. W. Montgomery, Jr. The latter served as Rector’s Warden from October, 1900 until his death in August, 1949.
A charter of incorporation was granted to the rector, church wardens and vestry of St. Martin’s Church by the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County on June 22, 1887. The deed of conveyance was then executed, subjected to the conditions provided in the gift. The parish was admitted into union with the Diocese during that same year.
The first services in the newly-organized St. Martin’s Church were held on May 1, 1887, when the Rev. A. B. Conger, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, preached in the morning and celebrated the Holy Communion. In September of that year the Reverend Percival H. Hickman, formerly of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, was elected the first rector of St. Martin’s Church. On October 5 the Church was consecrated by the Right Reverent O. W. Whitaker, Bishop of the Diocese.
Of this consecration the “Standard of the Cross”, in its issue of October 15 of that year, wrote as follows: “On Wednesday, October 5, the Rt. Rev. Bishop of the Diocese consecrated St. Martin’s Radnor, to the worship of Almighty God. This parish, formerly a mission of the church of the Good Shepherd, Radnor (Rosemont Station) was admitted into union with the convention in May last. During the summer a handsome tower was erected by an anonymous benefactor of the parish, while a carpet laid recently by the Ladies Guild, completed the internal arrangements of the building. This is entirely of stone, with a slate roof; the tower carrying a bell, the gift of members of the parish. A stone wall encloses the lot. The organization of the parish was completed by the acceptance of the rectorship by the Rev. Percival H. Hickman, lately of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, in time to sign the instrument of donation. This was presented to the Bishop by Mr. Daniel S. Newhall, rector’s warden, and the Sentence of Consecration was read by the Rev. George A. Kellar, rector of St. David’s, Radnor. The Biship preached from the text I Kings 8:27 and celebrated Holy Communion. Besides the clergy named, there were present, and participating in the service, the Rev. Arthur B. Conger, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and the Rev. Messrs. Byllesby, of Media; Haughton, Boyer, Moore, Bishop, Thomas and Ricksecker, with the Rector. The handsome decoration of the church by the ladies of the parish, the excellent music and the beauty of the autumn day conjoined to make a very enjoyable occasion. This was further promoted by an admirable collation spread in the Lindenwood house.
“The offering on this occasion was very appropriately set aside for the Rector Fund, and amounted to the handsome sum of $202.34.”
The Parish House was started in 1895 and finished soon thereafter. It is to the west of the church building on Glenmary road and contains the Sunday School rooms, the Library, offices, dining rooms and kitchen.
The present stone chapel on the South side of Conestoga road, Ithan, replaces a frame structure built in 1894 in Ithan. The new chapel was begun in 1918 and completed in 1920. It was the gift of the well-known Philadelphia architect, Theophilus Chandler, and was deemed to the Diocese of Pennsylvania and given to St. Martin’s Church to be its property as long as operating and repair expenses were met. Services have been held there continuously since its completion.
(To be continued)