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Charles Martin "Marty" Davis was born February 19, 1962. Even from childhood, Marty loved to help others around him.

At his graduation from Cleveland High School in 1980 he was given many awards and honors for being a diligent student.

After high school he began studying Political Science at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After graduation Marty began attending a local Episcopal church, igniting a passion in him.


Marty's 1980 senior photo

Marty then decided to attend the University of Virginia for his Master’s degree in International Economics. However, after graduation Marty knew what his true calling was, the church.

Becoming a priest in the Episcopal faith is a difficult process, but he knew it was what he was called to do. Marty enrolled at Sewanee: The University of the South, (commonly known as Sewanee) a private Episcopal liberal arts college that’s Theological Seminary is the official seminary of the church. 


Marty's 1991 ordination

Marty was ordained in 1991 at 29 years old, becoming the youngest person at that time to be ordained as a priest. At this time Marty moved back to Chattanooga, making him the first openly gay priest in the Chattanooga area. During this time on his Path to Priesthood Marty worked as a Deacon at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chattanooga. 

Father Marty then became placed as Rector of St. Mary’s the Virgin in Chattanooga. St. Mary’s was an African American Episcopal Church that was in mission status, meaning it was still being financially supported by the Diocese. Marty poured his heart into St. Mary’s and it’s congregation. He spent his own savings to make the church feel like a home to them. He knew serving the church was where he was supposed to be.


Marty with his parents Iva Dean and Tom at his 1991 ordination 

He was involved in many charitable community endeavors including; Camp Billy Johnson (a summer camp who serves underprivileged children), the founder and convener of the Chattanooga chapter of Integrity and a long time member of Chattanooga CARES, an agency that provides help to individuals diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. 

By 1995, St. Mary’s the Virgin Episcopal merged with Thankful Memorial Episcopal. Thankful Memorial was just a few blocks away with a beautiful church and funds that they did not have, so it made sense for them. Unfortunately due to covenants surrounding Thankful’s building, the name could not be changed. As a consultation to the now dissolved church, the parish hall was renamed St. Mary’s Parish Hall.

If you attended St. Mary's the Virgin or Thankful Memorial and would like to share any memories of this time, please contact me.

Sources include:

Chattanooga Times Free Press March 9, 1996

Chattanooga Times Free Press May 16, 1996

Wikipedia Sewanee 

Creeps & Crimes Podcast Episode 93

Interviews with Marty's friends and family 

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