St. Martin's Church history began in 1887 in a small schoolhouse in a mill neighborhood of Charlotte, known then as Mechanicsville. A Sunday School mission was started there by the Rev. Joseph B. Cheshire, Rector of Saint Peter's Episcopal Church, the mother church of Episcopal parishes in Charlotte. After the schoolhouse burned, Cheshire and others from Saint Peter's erected a brick chapel on the same site and named it Saint Martin's - the name of what would have been the colonial parish.
The congregation grew and in 1912 moved to a new location on East Seventh Street in the developing streetcar suburb of Elizabeth. Saint Martin's Church became a focal point for the neighborhood, and several other churches in the community held their organizational meetings in its buildings. The first Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops in the city were started at Saint Martin's. The parish gained a reputation of hosting bazaars of overflowing popularity. In 1952, the Church building and the Parish House (built in 1948) were badly damaged by fire. The Church was enlarged when it was rebuilt, and in 1959 a Youth Building was added. Saint Martin's grew steadily to over 900 communicants in the late Sixties.
- A gradual decline in Saint Martin's membership occurred during the next two decades. During the Seventies and early Eighties the Elizabeth neighborhood 'grayed', and as older parish members died, their numbers were not replaced by young families, many of who remained unchurched. Also, some parishioners became dissatisfied by the changes in the Episcopal Church.
Today Saint Martin's is active with member across all ages, coming from a wide geographic area. New members continue to join each year. People who attend Saint Martin's today are here because of a strong commitment to outreach; emphasis on Christian formation and education programs for children, youth, and adults; and a commitment to radical Christian hospitality. The diversity of Saint Martin's members themselves in all and its many expressions makes it a community incredibly reich, and often a reason that persons become a part.
- Through its almost 130 year history, Saint Martin's has had only seven Rectors. The first was the Rev. John Long Jackson, who was called in 1914 and served until his election as Bishop of Louisiana in 1940. He was succeeded by the Rev. C. Alfred Cole (later Bishop of Upper South Carolina) who served Saint Martin's until 1952. The Rev. W. Moultrie Moore came to Saint Martin's in 1952 and served until 1967 when he was elected Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of North Carolina (subsequently becoming Bishop of the Diocese of Easton in Maryland). The Rev. L. Bartine Sherman was called in 1967 and served until his retirement in 1986. The Rev. Thomas L. Ehrich was called in 1988 and served until late 1993 when he left to become the Rector of St. Paul's in Winston-Salem. In 1995, the Rev. M. Blair Both was called to Saint Martin's, becoming its first female Rector. Blair resigned her position in March of 1998. The Rev. L. Murdock Smith, PhD accepted a call to become rector of Saint Martin's and arrived in May of 1999.