St. Martin-in-the-Fields was organized as a mission in 1882. A group of Lumberton families, meeting in the Junior Mechanics Hall in 1893, agreed to incorporate the church and selected the name and location. A wooden chapel was built and used for services and meetings. In 1896, Bishop John Scarborough laid the corner stone for the current church building and a one room parish hall and kitchen were added in 1952. In 1992 the parish hall was extended to provide additional space for the church school, nursery and office. It was named Pettit Hall in honor of the Rt. Rev. Vincent Pettit, Suffragan Bishop of New Jersey. A Memorial Garden for the internment of ashes was dedicated at the same time. Additional property behind the church was acquired in 1997 and is now the location of an outdoor altar, Stations of the Cross and a labyrinth.
In 2004 a flood hit Lumberton and the parish hall was under four feet of water. The entire parish hall, including the kitchen and bathrooms had to be redone. With no flood insurance, the congregation went to work immediately and, through the Grace of God, was able to restore the parish hall in six weeks.
Over the years some fourteen priests served St. Martin’s for significant periods of time. The first woman priest in Burlington County, the Rev. Anna S. Powell, was called as vicar in 1985. When St. Martin’s became a parish in 2001, she became the first rector and continued as a faithful pastor until her retirement in December 2012. The first deacon, the Rev. Margaret Smyth, was called from the congregation in 1996 and was ordained in 1998. She continues her devoted service to St. Martin’s.
The establishment of St. Martin-in-the-Fields grew out of the Oxford movement of theological and liturgical reform and recovery within the Episcopal Church during the nineteenth century. That tradition and perspective continues today through our educational programs and liturgical practices and our commitment to social ministry.
The liturgy is understood as the work of the gathered Body of Christ and we extend this work into our concern for the wider community around us. Among the efforts which reflect St. Martin’s commitment to seek and serve all in the Name of Christ, are our monthly trips to St. Paul’s, Camden, to feed the hungry, distribution holiday and midsummer food baskets to those in need in Lumberton and near-by communities and also provision of food, clothing and other necessities to a local homeless shelter.
Almost everyone in the congregation is involved in various ministries such as educational programs, bible studies, liturgical ministries, hospitality, church school, retreats and youth group activities as well as the outreach ministries.
Throughout the year we have many activities such as all parish retreats, youth group retreats, Lenten studies, Shrove Tuesday suppers, parish picnics, Easter egg hunts, men and women’s study groups and outdoor services including Stations of the Cross and Blessing of the Animals. We participate in all night vigils, Holy Week activities and special children’s Easter and Christmas services. St. Martin also welcomes community groups and activities including Girl Scout troops, Lumberton Senior Citizens and Red Cross blood drives.