St. Luke Lutheran Church began as a result of the efforts of a small number of Homecroft neighbors. They had met for worship since 1909 above the Thomas Grocery Store, but now sought to be established as a English speaking congregation of the Ohio Synod. The names of the charter members read like a small league of nations. There were Germans, Scandinavians, English, Slovacs, and Italians. After a series of meetings beginning in December of 1912, their dream grew into a reality when the congregation was incorporated as St. Luke English Lutheran Church on March 18, 1913.
Rev. Salzwedel was called by the Synod to be Mission Director of the St. Paul area. He held services at Luther College Chapel, established other congregations and served at St. Luke Lutheran Church.
Rev. William Schwartz was installed as the first resident pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church. He is remembered as a "faithful pastor and a fiery speaker".
Rev. Ulrich F. Groth became the full-time pastor at St. Luke to have his tenure cut short by World War II, when in 1942 he enlisted as a Chaplain in the Army. With Rev. Groth's departure, St. Luke was served only by interim pastors until 1945. Rev. Henry W Mayer, a missionary on furlough, served a full twelve months.
Rev. John L. Drier was accepted and installed as pastor on June 10, 1984. Pastor Jack witnessed a major overhaul to the church and parsonage from 1984 to 1986. Many improvements were made. Pastor Jack led the congregation of St. Luke to stay a very close knit family even though the members were no longer primarily from the Homecroft area through many social activities such as softball, BWCA canoe trips, Fall Bazaar and more. Pastor Drier retired in December of 2006 after 23 years of dedicated, loyal service to our church home and family, as well as to the community.
Pastor David R. Person is called to proclaim the good news to our church and community. He is formally installed January 27, 2008 with a joyous celebration.
Pastor Dave retired in June of 2018 after ten years of faithful, dedicated service to our church home and community. His legacy will carry on in worthy projects he implemented during his tenure, such as Micro-Lending and Operation Christmas Child. We are especially grateful for his commitment to the Group Workcamp program, which provided our youth with invaluable, life-changing opportunities to serve others and deepen their faith in a truly meaningful way. Pr. Dave's faith, compassion and joyful demeanor was an inspiration to us all. Pastor John Keller was called to serve as our interim pastor. A call committee was formed.
We remain a connected and active church community, committed to outreach, celebrating, learning, growing, and sharing the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Jacob Cornils was influential in acquiring loans which enabled the congregation to build a 40¹ x 26¹ brick veneer church. It was located on the corner of Bellevue (now South Wheeler Street) and Wordsworth Avenue. The seeds of St. Luke had taken root, in the Homecroft area of St. Paul, Minnesota, under his tenure as pastor.
Rev E. J. Kaiser, who also served at St. John's Lutheran Church (now of Rosemount, Minnesota), served St. Luke but the distance between the two congregations led to a mutual decision that Rev. Kaiser would serve only St. John's.
Rev. Walter J. Pilgrim was called to serve while he was still a student at St. Paul Luther Seminary. In June, upon his ordination, he was installed. During this time, St. Luke continued to grow to the point where the original church structure was quickly becoming too small. There was a growth from 63 confirmed members in 1929 to 122 confirmed and 195 baptized members by 1940. During the 1930's, despite economic and personal setbacks of the time, the members of St. Luke proved a continued commitment to their church and each other by constructing both the parsonage at 1347 S. Wheeler St. and a 20' x 40' basement under the church to provide additional room for fellowship, Sunday School, Choir and Youth meetings.
Rev. Albert Hock was installed upon his graduation and ordination from Wartburg Seminary on February 4, 1945. In 1950, a new organ was purchased for $2,700. The growth of the congregation and the desire for a larger church building was a hope which began in 1953. By 1956, architects were engaged to work closely with the Building Committee and Pastor Hock to design a larger church at the corner of Edgcumbe Road and Field Avenue. The new church was dedicated on February 2, 1958. It was a day of sadness and day of rejoicing, The fond memories of the joy celebrated and sorrows of life shared in the old church will be long remembered. As Pastor Hock stated in his sermon in the final worship service in the old church: "Many buildings have been dedicated to God, and people have kept coming to them as a shrine long after they have stopped listening to God's Word. Far better for us, today, to resolve that wherever we may worship in the years that still remain to us here on earth, our concern shall not be so much the place, as the beloved Son, the Son who reveals himself to us so that we may behold His glory, who asks us to give less thought to wood and brick and listen to his Word. Amen". The old church, torn down in 1959, became the site of the parsonage garage. In 1967, the neighborhood began to ring with Verdin Bell carillon hymns at noon and 6:00 p.m. The bells are also used to call the people to worship, to signal a death in the congregation and to celebrate a wedding service. In 1973, a new nine rank Schlickler pipe organ was dedicated and sings with that same beauty in our worship today.
Pastor Julia Thompson was called to serve as our interim pastor. A call committee was formed.
Our entire church family, young and old, from near and far, comes together to celebrate the Centennial of St. Luke Lutheran Church! Festivities include a special dinner and ceremony, worship service, a commemorative photo directory, a richly detailed memory book, and many other events and observances throughout the year. Click here to view a moving centennial message from former Pastor Al Hock, who served St. Luke for 39 years.
Pr. Emily Rova-Hegener is called to serve St. Luke/St. Mark in an innovative shared ministry model.