St. Martin's Anglican Church

1460 Hwy #2, Courtice, Ontario, Canada

The Birth and Development of St. Martins, Courtice: 

A Synopsis of the History of our Church.

Every journey, every enterprise and every project has a beginning and an ending. For St. Martin’s this brief history outlines the conception of this endeavor, its birth, and a number of important events which have occurred during its juvenile development on the way to becoming a full fledged parish. The future will hold the remainder of this story.

In 1990  the 12 members of the Extended Outreach Committee of St. John’s Anglican Church in Bowmanville, under the leadership of Anthony (Tony) Day, acted upon a suggestion that there could be a need for a church in the expanding urbanization of the area known as Courtice.  With the blessing of Bishop Douglas Blackwell they distributed flyers to households in the area and invited residents to attend services in the library of Courtice High School. The plan was to conduct four services and then assess whether to continue.

On November 25th,1990, the first service was held with music being played on a portable keyboard loaned from Radio Shack.  The church was known as Courtice Anglican Church and due to the enthusiasm of a core of interested people, it was decided to continue the endeavour indefinitely.  Services had to be cancelled during July and August because the school was closed.

In September 1991 Sunday School started. And on March 15th. 1992, the first service of Baptism took place with a recorded attendance of 35 people. Throughout this difficult period of establishment the efforts of this intrepid band of people never wavered and, thanks to all the administrative help from St. John’s, they were able to soldier on.

The first church wardens were appointed at the February, 1993, Vestry and The Rev. Canon Byron Yates proposed that we apply for a proper church name. On March 19th, 1993, the Diocesan Executive Committee approved the request for a name and St. Martin’s Anglican Church was formally established within the parish of St. John’s Bowmanville as a two point parish under the leadership of The Rev. Canon Byron Yates. In August of the same year St. Martin’s Church obtained its own telephone number.

In 1995 the ladies of the Church formed an ACW (Anglican Christian Women) fellowship group known as the Martinettes.

By 1999 the church services were still held in the school but this meant that everything belonging to St. Martin’s had to be set-up and taken down each Sunday.  Also there were no kitchen facilities or a place to hold meetings, coffee, luncheons etc.  Noticing the construction of White Cliffe Terrace, one of the members wondered if there were plans for a chapel and made enquiries.  As it turned out, there were no plans for a chapel, however, there would be a large room downstairs that had not been planned for any specific activity.  Diversicare Inc., the owner of White Cliffe Terrace, agreed that having a chapel could be advantageous to both parties by providing for the spiritual needs of the residents and also by providing a more permanent home for our congregation.  This included a chapel that we could furnish properly and the use of a meeting room with kitchen facilities. The first service to be held in our new home at White Cliffe Terrace was in November, 1999.

St. Martin’s Anglican Church in Pickering offered us their old altar which was being stored in their basement and needed refinishing. During the year 2000 this beautiful, large altar, was added to the chapel furniture.

St. Martin’s Altar Guild was established in 2001. Servers gowns were donated by St. Martin’s Pickering and altar linens etc. were purchased. Also, at this time, members of the congregation undertook to take on all the administrative functions previously done for them by St. John’sSt. Martin’s was registered as its own charitable corporation and directional street signs were purchased from the Region of Durham.

At the Vestry in February, 2002, a formal documented administrative structure for St. Martin’s was presented and adopted. Following this Vestry meeting St. Martin’s filed its first Parochial Return to the Diocese of Toronto. Also in this year, St. Martin’s Church Insurance coverage was transferred from Diversicare Inc. to AON, the insurance carrier for the Anglican Church. Other additions in 2002 included Lectern hangings, a Christmas tree, a Nativity scene, a filing cabinet and 20 additional chairs were purchased. A successful Church Raffle raised $2035.00 which helped to offset the year’s expenses.

The year 2003 was a very active and important year in the life of the church. A "Profile for St. Martin's" passed at a Special Vestry Meeting held on July 27th, 2003, which was accepted by the Diocese of Toronto as part of our regularization process. We changed from the Bank of Nova Scotia to the CIBC for financial services. A beautiful full-colour Parish Directory was produced. The production of our own Newsletter began as apposed to one page in St. John's Parish News each month.

Special worship activities during 2003 included St. Martin’s hosting the World Day of prayer Service to which over 70 people came from 14 area Churches of all denominations. Four of our congregation attended a Lay Readers Workshop led by Bishop Colin Johnson at St. Thomas’ Millbrook. At Christmas time “The Jesse Tree” was presented. SARS and the Norwalk virus infections at White Cliffe Terrace forced the cancelling of eight Services. Finally, The Rev. Canon Byron Yates retired as rector of St. John’s church in Bowmanville, thus ending St. Martin’s recognition as a two point parish with St. John’s.

The year 2004 was another busy and significant year for St. Martin’s, beginning with the commencement of the use of  St. Martin’s own Offertory Envelopes instead of those which had previously been supplied by St. John’s. The “Screening in Faith” program which was required by the diocese, was completed. A large banner was erected along the front fence of White Cliffe to make our presence known to the public. Memorial gifts donated were a pair of candlesticks, a chalice and paten and a matching ciborium.   A Prayer Book and Lord’s Prayer plaque were also donated.

One memorable event in 2004 was St. Martin’s first Service of Confirmation at which four young people were confirmed by the Rt. Reverend Colin Johnson, then Bishop for Trent-Durham.

St. Martin's, Courtice, became 15 years old in 2005! The anniversary celebration was a gala event held on November 20th, 2005.

Rev. Clifford Evans The Rev. Clifford Evans, at one time the organist at St. John's, Bowmanville, before becoming a priest, had been the "Priest-in-Charge" at St. Martin's for a number of years. On January 9th, 2005, he retired due to ill health and a memorable retirement party was held for him. The Rev. Evan's health continued to deteriorate throughout the year and he died on December 27th, 2005. A gift from The Rev. Cliff Evans to St. Martin's, was a beautifully hand crafted and upholstered organ bench which he had personally made himself.

The Rev. Canon James Tiller replaced The Rev. Clifford Evans on January 23rd, 2005 as "Priest-In- Charge", thus beginning another chapter in our history.

Rev. Canon Jim Tiller Other important events in 2005 included two baptisims, musical presentations by the "Saints Society" from Heritage Christian School, and the "Baarbe Family String Quartet". A presentation of the "Jesse Tree" by the Sunday School and the congregation, was enjoyed by all. The outreach project "Christmas Child" sent 24 shoe boxes of useful items to needy children in other countries. A successful Tea Room and Bazaar was held on October 29th, 2005. There were also several guest speakers, pot luck lunches and presentations during this busy year.

2006 was another active year at St. Martin's under the direction of The Rev. Canon James Tiller, our Priest-In-Charge. The annual vestry meeting was held on February 12th, 2006. During the year there was one baptism, a dedication of new hymn books, a Lindor's Fashion Show in April, a presentation by the students from Heritage Christian School in Lindsay in June, our annual Church Picnic in June and a successful Tea Room and Bazaar in October.

The year 2007 began with The Rev. Canon James Tiller continuing as priest-in-charge, although he was not in good health at this time. This was a sad year with the passing of several of our most stalwart members, but a number of good things also happened. On Sunday, January 21st we had a service of Confirmation by our Area Bishop, Rt. Rev. Michael Bedford-Jones with one of our young people and his father being confirmed, and also the appointment of a licenced "Lay Reader". The Rev. Canon Tiller conducted our annual Vestry Meeting on February 18th following a pot luck luncheon. A successful pancake supper was held by the Martinettes on February 20th. Aproximately 10 members attended the 2007 Area Day of Celebration on March 3rd. At the end of April The Rev. Canon James Tiller became too ill to continue as Priest-In-Charge and his duties were temporarily taken over by the Rev. Susan Sheen for several weeks. On Sunday, May 6th, 2007, we had a presentation promoting "Sleeping Children Around The World".

The Rev. Dr. Roland M. Kawano was appointed by the Bishop to be our Priest-In-Charge and took his first service on Sunday, June 17th, 2007. On Sunday, June 24th, a Morning Service was held in an apple orchard in Newcastle followed by our annual church picnic. On Wednesday, August 8th, 2007, the congregation was saddened by the passing of The Rev. Canon James Tiller after a valiant battle with cancer. We were treated to an instrumental presentation by the "Baarbe Family String Quartet" and a "black light" bible story on Sunday, September 30th. A very successful Christmas Bazaar and Tea Room was held on November 17th. The following week, on November 25th we celebrated the 17th anniversary of St. Martin's Anglican Church in Courtice. Our 2007 Christmas celebration featured a presentation of the "Jesse Tree" in which almost all members of the congregation participated.

During the year 2008 a "surround sound system" was installed for the organ to solve a problem with the quality of the sound from the PA system speakers. This resulted in a major improvement allowing the organ to sound like a real church organ. The other outstanding improvement in 2008 was obtaining and setting up an internet web site,, for St. Martin's. 

2009 was both a sad and joyous year; sad because the Rev. Dr. Roland Kawano, our Priest-In-Charge, retired on July 18th due to illness, and joyful because The V. Rev. Edmund (Ted) Clarke became our new Priest-In- Charge on Oct. 4th. We were pleased and thankful to have The Rev. Susan Sheen, along with the Rev. Michael Bishop look after St. Martin's until The V. Rev. Ted Clarke took over as our new priest-in-charge. Some memorable events of this year were: the annual Vestry Meeting and pancake luncheon on Feb. 22nd; the annual "Day of Celebration" at Cobourg on Mar. 7th was well attended by St. Martin's; several ACW Martinette's attended the AWARE Conference on May 3rd and returned with an AWARE Banner to keep for a year; the annual St. Martin's Church Picnic was held in the orchard at Newcastle on June 7th; on Sept. 1st St. Martin's celebrated our 10th anniversary at White Cliffe; a very successful annual bazaar was held on Nov. 21st; On Nov. 22nd St. Martin's Church celebrated it's 19th anniversary and Tony Day preached the sermon; on Dec. 20th the Sunday School and members of the congregation did an excellent presentation of the "Jesse Tree".

In 2010 the V. Rev. Ted Clarke continued as our "Priest-In-Charge" taking three of the four services each month, with a "Morning Prayer" service usually led by our "Lay Reader", Carolyn Atkinson, or another member of the congregation. Some highlights of the year were; a pancake luncheon on Feb. 14th, prior to our Annual Vestry Meeting; St. Martin's hosted the Courtice "World Day of Prayer" on Mar. 5th; on Mar. 6th many of the congregation attended the annual "Day of Celebration" in Cobourg; several ACW members attended the "AWARE Conference at Orillia and returned with a beautiful banner to keep in the church for a year; on June 13th our annual church picnic was held in an orchard in Newcastle; our Harvest Luncheon was held on October 14th; a very successful annual Bazaar was held on Nov. 6th; an extremely well attended 20th Anniversary Celebration was held on Nov. 21st with many previous members in attendance, and the eucharist being celebrated by Area Bishop Lynda Nicholls and The V. Rev. Ted Clarke; finally, a fabulous Dutch Christmas Party was hosted by the Martinettes for the whole congregation.

During the year 2011, the Harmony United Church closed and donated to St. Martin's a handsome baptismal font, two beautiful hardwood hymn boards with numbers, and a lovely ornate lighted prayer desk lectern. These gifts were very much appreciated and added to the beauty and utility of our chapel. Also, a beautiful hand carved wooden bowl was donated to the church for the collection. Social activities included a dinner and games night in March, a Caribbean super in May, a church picnic in June and a very well attended restaurant pre-christmas dinner in December. Under the leadership of The V. Rev. Ted Clarke, 2011 was another good year.

The year 2012 was very busy with the usual activities such as our annual visit by Vicki and Brian Dawes and the "Pancake Luncheon" and the annual "Vestry Meeting in February", "The Trent Durham Day of Celebration" and the "World Day of Prayer" in March. Our Easter services were in early April this year, and on April 29th Anita Gittens, ACW Diocesan President, delivered the sermon. In May, we were visited by Steve and Karen Bates from Trinity Anglican Church in Colborne, who presented St. Martin's with a "Travelling Communion Box", a "Baptismal Candle" and an "Organist's Hymn Book". These gifts were very much appreciated. Also, we celebrated Mother's Day on May 13th. Our annual church picnic was held in Le Gresley's orchard on June 10th, and Father's Day the following Sunday. A Canon Digital Camera was also puchased this month for keeping the Archives up to date. The summer months were quiet, however, one marriage did take place. St. Martin's Fashion Show on September 26 was a success, and in October there was a double baptism. At the Thanksgiving service in October, two beautiful Altar Candles were dedicated in memory of Mark Fifield, one of the founders of St. Martin's Church, by the V.Rev. Ted Clarke, our "Priest In Charge", who we continue to appreciate very much.

The V. Rev. Canon Padre David Saunders.