Church of the Ascension and Emmanuel Church are part of the Episcopal Diocese of Montana, which is one of the 109 dioceses of The Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion which includes over 80 million members spread throughout 160 countries.
“A mini catechism used at baptisms and on Easter and other special occasions, the Baptismal Covenant opens with a question-and-answer version of the statement of faith that is the Apostles’ Creed and adds five questions regarding how we, as Christians, are called to live out our faith.”
Celebrant: Do you believe in God the Father? People: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. Celebrant: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God? People: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Celebrant: Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit? People: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Celebrant: Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers? People: I will, with God’s help. Celebrant: Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? People: I will, with God’s help. Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? People: I will, with God’s help. Celebrant: Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? People: I will, with God’s help. Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? People: I will, with God’s help.
The Tenth Bishop of Montana
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Martha E. (Marty) Stebbins
The Rt. Rev. Martha E. (Marty) Stebbins was the rector of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Wilson, North Carolina for over nine years. This parish has continued to grow spiritually and in size and has a below-average age for an Episcopal Church in the United States. Marty was raised in a military family. She was baptized at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Annandale, Virginia as an infant. Raised in a multi-denominational and multi-faith extended family, she had ample opportunity to explore her faith.
She inherited the family’s deep abiding love for animals, resulting in a menagerie of many things feathered, scaled and furred.
She was confirmed at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina as a college student by Bishop Thomas Fraser. After undergraduate studies in zoology and engineering Marty went on to graduate from North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She was offered a research and teaching stipend to continue her studies and received an MPH in epidemiology and a PhD in veterinary bacteriology. Her career ranged from academia and industry.
During this time, she continued her faith journey, working with the college chaplain at Oklahoma State University when she was on faculty there. After marrying her husband, Bob Grudier, she relocated back to North Carolina and began to discern a call to the vocational diaconate. She switched to the priesthood track with Bishop Michael Curry’s permission and blessing. Attending Seminary of the Southwest, she graduated in 2005 with her MDiv and returned to North Carolina to be ordained to the transitional diaconate June 25, 2005 by Bishop Curry. She became the Cluster Missioner for the Sandhills Cluster of Churches and was ordained to the priesthood on December 28, 2005 by North Carolina’s Suffragan Bishop Gary Gloster.
As clergy, Marty has been active in Diocesan affairs, including being the Secretary of the Standing Committee during North Carolina’s bishop search after Bishop Curry’s election to Presiding Bishop. And she has been active on the Provincial level, serving at the longstanding chaplain for the Province IV’s HIV/AIDs Retreat at Kanuga. She also currently serves on a variety of community boards and groups in her community.