Saint Luke's has a tremendous legacy of loving its community. Still today, that is one of the cornerstones of ministry that began more than 50 years ago and will no doubt continue well beyond the next 50 years.
The Vision Was Established
On Easter morning 1949, 126 charter members held their first community service in an old farmhouse in the Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook. Within 10 years, Saint Luke’s became the largest congregation in our diocese. In that interim, though acquiring what is referred to as “The Little Red Church” and using community buildings, Saint Luke’s was bursting at the seams.
A Vibrant Parish
The congregation continued to grow and thrive until, in 1957, a cornerstone was laid for the new parish house and Sunday school building at our present location. In 1961, a contract was signed to build the church proper. This was a time of great celebration and growth for our parish, yet in the South it was a time of divisiveness as years of segregation were drawing to a close. According to Stephen Coleman, author of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church: A History of the First Fifty Years 1949-1999, “At that point in its history, Saint Luke’s discovered that it could suffer the pains of controversy and yet still stand. At the time, no one fully realized it, but looking back, it is seen clearly that the Holy Spirit was present."
Ministering to the Community
During the 1960s and 1970s, change was a major theme both within the church (e.g. revised Prayer Book, ordination of women to the priesthood) and our community as Birmingham moved from a steel-based city to a service-oriented metropolis. Saint Luke’s recognized the need for increased outreach to our community and for increased involvement from women within our church. Saint Luke’s sponsored the first of several women to attend seminary and women began to serve on the Vestry, in administrative roles, and in the administration of the Holy Eucharist. Indeed, as the Holy Spirit continues to carry us forward, the roles of all lay people in the life of Saint Luke’s has continued to increase.
Expanding Facilities for Greater Impact
Major renovations, including enlargement of the parish house and parking lot, were planned and implemented to meet the growing size of the congregation in the late 1980s. In 1994 these improvements were completed. Saint Luke’s remains committed to seeing that its outstanding facilities are available to its communicants as well as to the community.
Thankful for God's Grace and Guidance
Throughout its history, Saint Luke’s has seen both prosperous and challenging periods. Historically, when we have addressed challenges, they have been followed by a time of growth. Looking forward, we are blessed to be facing an exciting future full of vitality and grace. May we always remember that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”