Robin Martin wears two hats in her role as rector

Robin Martin wears two hats in her role as rector

Reverend Robin P. Martin was the Episcopal rector of the Church of the Advent in Hatboro, Pennsylvania from September 1987 until her retirement in April of 2013.  Robin became interested in the seminary after watching her husband become an Episcopal priest. She commented during one of her sermons that ‘she simply wanted to learn more about being a priest and soon found herself drawn towards it, as if she was being ‘called’ to the priesthood.’ Robin loved to travel and viewed retirement as bittersweet. She was looking forward to traveling with her husband, but would certainly miss the friendships she had developed over her 25 years as rector. Throughout her tenure at Advent, Robin experienced many joys and sorrows with her congregation. Robin was the only rector at Advent, and was therefore responsible for all of the activities involved at the church.

The ‘hats’ that Robin wore fit into two general categories; religious and business. Robins leadership style varied depending on the role she was fulfilling.  Religious responsibilities included such things as; Sunday worship services, ministering to those in need and stewardship.  When delivering a sermon on Sunday mornings, Robin preferred to use some of her own personal stories and experiences. This sharing of herself helped to develop a trust and bond between Robin and the congregation. She would put the needs of others before her own needs when taking care of someone who asked for counseling.   Whenever possible, Robin would look for ways to help develop and nurture someone’s goal.  In one particular case, Robin assisted a member of the congregation to pursue a vocation as a priest.  This process took a lot of time and dedicate on the part of both Robin and the parishioner. Not all religious duties were easy or straight forward. When the church was faced with a request to allow the marriage of a same sex couple, there were many in the congregation who were uncomfortable with the request. Robin needed to take everyone’s feelings into account before finally coming to the decision to allow the marriage to take place. Robin respected the views of all members of the congregation and continued to support those who struggled with the decision.

Robin wore her business ‘hat’ differently than her religious ‘hat’.  Robin needed to manage the responsibilities of church business in the same way a business person would run a business. At times it seemed that the business tasks outweighed the religious responsibilities. As in many organizations a group of individuals, in this case a vestry, helped take care of the business needs of the church. As the chairperson of the vestry, Robin’s role was to make sure all of the business needs of the church were met.  Some of the key areas of support included managing the church finances, property issues and various outreach projects. Robin worked with the vestry to set goals, assign tasks and set deliverable dates. She carefully balanced the need to accomplish a goal with compassion and understanding towards the members that were involved in the project.

Robin Martin was the rector of the Church of the Advent for over 25 years. During her time as rector she wore both the hats of a religious leader and business person.  Her calling was to minister to others, she preached countless sermons, performed marriages, baptisms and funerals.  She was also a good business person, she understood the importance of setting goals and working with her congregation to achieve those goals.  Robin was the chairperson of the vestry, she worked with each member to support them as they worked to support the church. Robin was able to move flawlessly between ‘hats’ which was truly a blessing to the Church of the Advent.

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