The Rev. Terry L. Martin named Program Officer for Evangelism

July 23, 2008

The Rev. Terry L. Martin has been appointed Program Officer for Evangelism at the Episcopal Church Center, beginning August 13.

Martin was previously vicar of Holy Spirit Church, Tuckerton, New Jersey. He has also served congregations in Wisconsin, California, and South Carolina.

He is best known as “Father Jake,” the pen name he used on his popular blog, “Father Jake Stops the World.” After five years of writing daily about church life, Martin decided it was time to close down that site and shift his focus. He has started a new blog, “Father T Listens to the World: Seeking God Around the Globe.”

The new site is quite different,” said Martin. “This is not a site for debate about church politics; rather, we will listen to faith stories from around the world. “

Martin believes that to be effective evangelists, Episcopalians have to practice the art of listening. “We look for the ways that God is already moving in people’s lives. We begin by listening; listening to the stories of others, sharing our own stories, and watching for the places that God’s story intersects them both.”

His personal history is unusual for an Episcopal priest. As a homeless teen, Martin was eventually placed in a reform school. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the Navy. After four years of service, Martin worked as a mechanic and a shipping clerk while pursuing his college education at night. He graduated with honors from both the University of Wisconsin and Nashotah House and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1990.

Asked what he hopes to bring to the Episcopal Church Center, Martin replied; “I have a passion for expanding the household of God. As one who knows what it means to be an outcast, I’m driven to seek new and innovative ways for us to be faithful witnesses to the radically inclusive love of God.”

Martin believes that Episcopalians need to turn their attention toward those who are outside the Church. “In the recent Pew Forum survey, we learned that 92% of Americans believe in God. That is astounding! There are some great conversations just waiting to happen beyond the walls of the Church. It is time to end our preoccupation with internal squabbles and begin to look outward.”

The Rev. Suzanne Watson, director of the Center for Evangelism and Congregational Life, said, “The combination of Father Martin’s personal faith story, history as “Father Jake,” and passion for finding new ways for people to share their faith is exciting. The calling committee for the position recognized these strengths and is confident that this self-described ‘John the Baptist’” will usher in a new era of evangelism for the Episcopal Church.”

Martin and his wife, Cherie, reside in Hammonton, New Jersey. He can be reached at tmartin@episcopalchurch.org after August 13, 2008.