OUR HISTORY & HERITAGE
St. Luke's is a congregation over one hundred years old and still continuing to make an impact in our community. We have been blessed with many great leaders in both our clergy and lay leaders throughout the years.
Learn more about the history of St. Luke's below.
Our Anchorage Roots
St. Luke's Episcopal Church was founded in 1873 by a group of neighbors in Anchorage, Kentucky, a small community of what were once country homes on the outskirts of Louisville. Through challenging years, a group of faithful Episcopalians endeavored to form a parish and meet in homes or shared space with other churches in the area. Worship services were irregular at first, as visiting clergy were often unavailable. The church founders had strong resolve as well as faithful support from Bishop Thomas Dudley and the Diocese of Kentucky. They pursued their dream to build a church in the heart of Anchorage that would be accessible to all. The Women's Guild of St. Luke's was the leader in planning events and raising funds for the church.
St. Luke's roots took hold with the laying of the cornerstone in 1908 on five acres that was the shared property of a group of its members. Its beautiful English Gothic building, designed by renowned architect, Arthur Loomis, was constructed using Kentucky limestone from a nearby quarry.
The first services were held in the new church in 1909. In 1910 St. Luke's was admitted to the Diocese of Kentucky and the first vestry was elected. Father Pierce McDonald was named the first rector. Construction took several years to complete, and electricity was added in 1913. A parish house, named for Bishop Dudley, was added shortly after the church building was complete. The church was consecrated by the bishop in 1920. In 1927, the deed for the church property of St. Luke's was transferred to the vestry from the original founders of the church. In the early years, St. Luke's assigned Ministers in Charge, followed by multiple short-term Rectors until 1932.
Settling our Roots
1932 was a pivotal year in the life of St. Luke's. Deacon Robert Cocoran Board, a 24 year-old born and raised in Louisville, entered the life of our parish. It was said, by the bishop, that what the church in Kentucky needed most was "an indigenous clergy" and that like St. Luke's Church, he truly is a "home product". In December 1932, the Rev. Robert Board was ordained and made Rector of St. Luke's.
Growth and Tradition
Under the leadership of Father Board, St. Luke's flourished. The parish grew rapidly. Children's programs, a new church school , and music programs drew new families from Anchorage and beyond. In 1937, Mr. Arthur Loomis, the architect of St. Luke's donated a chime for the church and the Women's guild paid off the mortgage of the rectory. In that same year, when a devastating flood occurred in Louisville, the people of St. Luke's provided shelter for the victims by housing the in the sanctuary and parish house until the waters receded.
St. Luke's was recognized as an independent parish in 1939. The 1938 the Vestry was increased from seven to nine members and again in 1945 to twelve members. The first men's club was formed in 1943. During the ministry of Father Board, shared activities withe the community of Anchorage were frequent. the most well-known event was the Annual St. Luke's Horse Show that was held annually from 1948 to 1992. The horse ring on St. Luke's grounds remains a historic reminder of festive fellowship. Additions to the original church building, including expansion of the lower level of the church and a second story parish hall, which was named Board Hall, were made between 1951 an 1957. The St. Luke's church school grew into a busy pre-school that was utilized by parish families and families from Anchorage and surrounding communities. To accommodate continued growth, the main church and sanctuary were expanded and remodeled in 1961 .
St. Luke's roots run deep and wide. Many parishioners were baptized, educated, and married here and have raised their children and grandchildren here. These individuals are still active in the growth of the church through continuous service and support. the church celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1973 and has continued to grow into the 21st century.
Spreading our Roots
As the surrounding communities grew, St. Luke's drew new members from nearby as well as other families that relocated to the area. A Memorial Garden was added adjacent to the church in 1995. In 1997, St. Luke's acquired an adjacent residential property, Lyman House, which was named in honor of its donor. In 2006 the property was remodeled for church offices which are still in use. In 2003, a planning committee for an expansion of St. Luke's was formed and a three-phase plan was developed that included remodeling Board Hall and its kitchen, the addition of a new organ, renovation to the sanctuary, and the final phase of creating a new addition for classrooms, updated nursery, and enlarged fellowship hall.
The leadership of the parish continued after the retirement of long-serving priest Father Board in 1976. Father Board served the parish for over forty years and to reflect his decades long service to the church our fellowship hall bears his name. Following his retirement, Rev, James W Law served from 1976-1981 followed by Rev, Larch Fidler and Rev. Raymond Lord during the rest of the 1980s.
Father Michael Pearson served as Rector from 1992 to 2002. During this period the church grew and added special events like the Harvest Moon dance in the horse ring, attendance of the Acolyte Festival at the Washington National Cathedral, and more. Father Stanley "Joe" Smith led the church from 2003 to 2012. During this period St. Luke's saw growth in our then preschool, weekly education classes, outreach and much more. In 2009, a service of celebration was held for the 100th anniversary of the first service held in the current sanctuary. The ministry of Fr. Joe was tragically cut too short after he passed away unexpectedly in the fall of 2012.
Father Michael Delk served as rector from 2014-2022. In 2018 the people of St. Luke's reformed the Expansion Planning Committee and launched a successful capital campaign which added over 4,000 square feet to the worship and meeting spaces for our congregation and community to gather. Unfortunately, the project required the closure of the church's long serving preschool due to changes in codes and state guidelines.
The church was challenged with the task of designing and constructing a building that would blend in with the historic buildings of St. Luke's campus and the surrounding area. In doing so, St. Luke's made a strong commitment to welcoming and serving its neighbors. In early 2020, before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, St. Luke's broke ground for the church expansion and the construction was completed in late 2021. Bishop Terry Allen White consecrated the new addition in January of 2022. Since then, the new expanded fellowship hall and classrooms have become a dynamic part of fellowship for the parish and the community.
Forward with Faith
Along with the rest of the world, St. Luke's paused services starting in March of 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. During this time a small team which included our clergy, the Minister of Music, a small group of members of the choir, and two members of the parish who established and ran the live-streaming of our services allowed for our community to remain connected in prayer, singing, and praise in spite of the challenging circumstances. Starting in the fall of 2021, St. Luke's began to have full services and begin fellowship. We continue to reconnect with many in our parish after such a long period away from one another. Now all of our services are broadcast live and available via our Facebook page.
The difficulties of the pandemic and the present search for a new rector have spurred our church leadership into action as we remain joyfully committed to a future of serving our neighbors and moving forward with faith.
Through the Years
St. Luke's has served our parish and the community for over a century. Below you can find a gallery of some of the changes the church has gone through and some highlights of events throughout the years.