History - St. Martin's In the Desert

On October 9, 1988, a small group of Episcopalians met at the home of Nancy and Paul Lunsford for their first service in Pahrump. Fr. Dean Haywood celebrated the Eucharist, and Bishop Zabriskie preached the sermon. Services were held in the Lunsford home for several years with visiting priests coming from Las Vegas twice a month.

In 1991, they acquired some land off of Irene St., but it wasn’t until 1995 when they had a permanent church. It was consecrated by Bishop Zabriskie on March 12, 1995.

first service

Long gone are the days like in December 1994, where a small group of worshipers, wrapped in blankets and huddled in St. Martin’s cold, yet-to-be drywalled shell, gathered as the church was being blessed. In 2000, Bonnie Erickson and Julie Keating were ordained as Deacons; then in 2001 Julie Keating was ordained as a priest. The church was very active in Stand for Children, Hospice Care, Teen Nights, and was spotlighted nationally for its work with the Nye Communities’ Coalition.

St. Martin’s continued to move forward and 10 years later, in 2006, Bishop Catherine Jefferts Schori took part in the groundbreaking of our new church. With the help of Bob Green, Loyd Platson (who married Rev. Julie Keating), and the vestry, construction of our new church was started. Thirty-four members of the church worked 3,411 hours pounding nails, insulating, wiring, drywalling, painting and everything in between. Fundraising was also done to help the project. The first service was held on Palm Sunday, March 16, 2008. Bishop Dan Edwards consecrated the church on April 13, 2008.

Sometime in 2003, retired priest, Rev. E.A. “Thommy” Thompson from St. Martin’s, and aspiring Episcopal Priest Sandy Blake, both associates at St. Stephens’s in Aurora, Colorado, decided to commit themselves to Fr. Thommy’s dream of designing and assembling stained glass windows for St. Martin’s. This was a nine year commitment. The windows in the sanctuary are the Gospelers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are beautiful.

St. Martin’s is continuing to grow and in November 2018 will ordain three priests: John McClatchy, Kathyleen Funk and Lola Culbreath. We are looking to the future and God’s blessings.

St. Martins - outside
St. Martin's - outside
St. Martin's In-the-Desert