Rev. James Martin
Lead Vocals, Lyricist
Lead & Background Vocals
Lead & Background Vocals
Instruments, Lead & Background Vocals
We were an unlikely musical partnership when we met in Staten Island in the early 90's:
Jim, a 40-something folk-singing strumming pastor-songwriter.
Edward, a 20-something rock-n-rolling piano player/drummer.
But we soon found that we filled in each others' gaps...
And each of us came to believe that God placed us in each others' paths.
Jim is the poet, lyricist, lead voice, melody maker, vision caster,
and driving spiritual force behind Everlasting Arms. Edward is the
instrumentalist, arranger, and provider of the musical and technical
nuts and bolts. Our wives Meredith and Kirsten add a woman's touch,
vocal harmonies and other musical ideas.
After a few years of collaborating and recording, in 1997 we released our first CD,
Although more CDs were planned,
the distance after the Martins' move to Pennsylvania made it difficult to
actively sustain the musical partnership, though the friendship endured and the
writing of new music continued.
The posthumous release in 2009 of our 2nd CD
"On Broken Wings..."
was a long time coming to fruition.
With the development of high-speed internet and the ease with which
we could share ideas from a distance, we re-committed to recording
the backlog of songs we continued to accumulate through the years.
We were simultaneously working on recording the music for three CDs when Jim was
unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer in September of 2008, succumbing in December after
a three-month battle. Thankfully, Jim's vocals were recorded prior to his diagnosis,
so there is no hint of melancholy in any of his performances.
It was Jim's idea that both the theme of the music and
its subtitle should be "Songs of Healing".
Our 3rd CD,
"Songs From The Father",
was released in 2014, over five years after
Jim's passing. However, it is not a "memorial" -- rather it is
simply a completion of what we would have done anyway to the
Glory of God, had Jim lived.
Jim's "vision" for this project:
A worshipful, Testament to the core values of our Christian Faith,
and the personal relationship between Jesus and the Father.
An album where the Holy Spirit lives in every Word,
and directs every moment.
A fresh look at themes that we grew up with,
but can never grow away from.
The late Pastor Jim
was born in the Bronx, New York City. When he was seven
years old, his mother died after a long illness. It was in the same year
that he was called into ministry.
After 30+ years of ministry, his twin goals are still relevant:
During the course of ministry, Pastor Jim has used God's gifts, for God's purposes,
through worship – including Word and Song, pastoral care – including essays written,
counseling shared, and visitation – including chaplaincy, he has tried to exemplify
living what Christ continues to teach.
- "In Christ," to bring all sinners to the table;
- And to seek unity through the Grace offered in Christ Jesus who saves us.
Jim had the privilege of being married to Meredith for 33 years, and together
they have been blessed with two boys, Chad and Roderick. Jim last served as
Pastor of Redeemer's United Church of Christ in Littlestown, Pennsylvania. Jim
played guitar, as does Meredith, who also plays the banjo. Their music has always
been a part of their ministry wherever they have served.
"We believe the music has an integrity of its own beyond the composers, and hope
that the songs will be heard and will heal in the name of Jesus Christ. In song,
the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. Our hope is that this music will
be a real blessing to all that hear it."
The Martin Family - clockwise from the bottom:
Meredith, Rod, Chad, and Pastor Jim
Edward was born in Staten Island, and has been playing
and writing music as long as he can remember.
Though his primary axe is piano/keyboards, he also plays drums and bass,
and continues to teach himself guitar.
His musical influences include The Beatles, Yes, ELP, Billy Joel, Queen, Kansas,
Genesis, and "progressive rock" in general. He
has been in and out of too many bands and musical situations to count, but the most
memorable ones are his time with the "Sing" bands during high school,
"G-FORCE" during college, a 3+ year run with
"Grin & Bare It", and over a
decade playing with the worship band at the church he used to attend.
He accepted Jesus as his Savior at a "Good News" club at a young age.
His faith and relationship with God was rekindled during his college years.
After graduating, he returned to the church he grew up in,
where Jim had recently become the new pastor. It was during this time that
they struck up a musical partnership that endured through time and distance.
Jim showed Edward that his music and faith could be integrated and that
the music could have a greater purpose.
Edward used to work at 1 World Trade Center.
The events of September 11, 2001
had a profound effect on his life and on his faith.
Edward has the privilege of being married to Kirsten since 1993, and together they
have been blessed with two girls, Megan and Lauren.
The Jerlin Family - clockwise from bottom:
Lauren, Megan, Edward, and Kirsten
The Future of Everlasting Arms
Meredith, Kirsten, and Edward are committed to recording and sharing the remainder
of Jim's music, however long it takes, God willing. Thankfully, Jim's
vocal tracks have for the most part been completed and are awaiting the completion
of the musical accompaniment and backing vocals. There are also tentative plans
to publish Jim's poetry and lyrics in book form and/or set more of it to music.
Completing this music has been a labor of love.
It is also extra time we've been able to spend with Jim, for which
we are thankful. We hope that these songs uplift those who hear
them and that they will glorify God as Jim wanted.
Everlasting Arms currently has plans to release at least two more CD projects,
in addition to a possible Christmas-themed EP.
You can read more about them by clicking on the pictures: