+ Our History +
The Lord has done wonderful things for 126 years through the St. Lucas faith community. Below is our history.
125th Anniversary History & Timeline by Pastor Billmeier
On March 21, 1886 a group of members from St. Paul’s downtown met at 804 S. Erie Street, the home of Louis Burman, and acted in faith to found a new Lutheran congregation on the southern edge of Toledo in order to reach out to—as the 75th anniversary program put it—“a strong group of Lutherans from Germany,” who were settling in that area. Prayers were said, plans were finalized, a pastor was called, and a Christian community of faith was born. It was a German language congregation founded to welcome German immigrants to a new spiritual home in their new land. The first year the fledgling congregation worshiped in the afternoon at what was then St. Stephen (destined to move to Broadway and Walbridge to become First English) Lutheran Church at the corner of Harrison and Oliver (the building still exists as a Baptist church today). Rev. A. Weber of St. Paul’s downtown served as the first pastor.
In a little over a year the new congregation took a risk in faith again, purchasing land at the corner of Frank St. and Walbridge Ave. with the intention of building a church and a parsonage. The minutes of the October 4, 1887 church council meeting note the completion of the first church, a small wooden frame structure. The parsonage was also completed that year and stood next to the church to the west (now a parking lot). In 1891 Pastor Weber resigned and the congregation called Rev. R.E.M. Engers of Defiance, Ohio to serve in the pastorate. The congregation again initiated spiritual risks. Already the congregation, apparently recognizing the potential to reach out with the gospel, began a six month experiment with bimonthly English language worship services. The worship experiment was accompanied by the formation of a Young People’s Society, a Ladies Aid, and a mixed choir. All of these ventures in mission were discontinued when Pastor Engers resigned in April of 1895, but they foreshadowed things to come.
The congregation, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, issued a letter of call to Pastor Hugo Hamfeldt of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Reedsville, Wisconsin. He began his call on July 21, 1895. Hugo Hamfeldt, more than any other pastor in the storied 125 year history of St. Lucas, left a lasting legacy and imprint. During Pastor Hamfeldt’s 42 year ministry the people of St. Lucas defined themselves as a community of faith that would adapt and take spiritual risks for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By 1897 the Ladies Aid, mixed choir and Young People’s Society (in 1914 to become Luther League) came permanently back as part of the St. Lucas landscape. Imagine how these groups empowered laypeople to participate in the ministry of St. Lucas! Imagine how the choir enhanced worship, the Ladies Aid assisted with mission projects, and the Young People’s Society enhanced the Christian formation of youth. You don’t have to imagine it because our choir, women’s organization (WELCA), and youth group (CYF2G) still do all those things today. Hamfeldt’s tenure also saw the advent of a benefit society for the sick, a healing ministry echoed 125 years later by our St. Lucas healing team. When one considers it, a healing ministry is especially appropriate for this community of faith named for St. Luke, the physician traveling companion of St. Paul.
In 1897 Pastor Hamfeldt began publishing a monthly Lutheran spiritual paper “Der Hausfreund” that helped spread the good news in the Toledo area. This progressive move on Pastor Hamfeldt’s part became a cooperative effort with St. Mark in East Toledo and then Zion on Belmont Ave. At one time the magazine went out to 1200 homes in the Toledo area. Outreach in the form of the printed word has played an important part in the history of St. Lucas. Mass neighborhood mailings have gone out in both the Berger and Billmeier pastorates as well. Today St. Lucas has adapted as technology allows with a website at www.stlucastoledo.org.
In 1910 the congregation stepped out in faith in a fresh way by taking on the construction of a new church building, necessitated by the growing number of people who were finding a spiritual home at St. Lucas. The last service in the frame church was held on May 8, 1910 ending with a festive and emotional procession from the old to embrace the new. The old frame church was demolished and on July 21, 1910 the cornerstone of the present structure was laid amid prayers that God would bring to completion the work begun. The present stone structure was finished in a year and the congregation dedicated its new worship center to the glory of God at its Silver Jubilee with a five day festival, July 25-29, 1911. As part of its 1911 dedication festivities the church received a German Bible inscribed by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Was this new sanctuary project a spiritual risk? Yes. No doubt some wondered as the congregation undertook the project, “Where would the money come from? Will we be able to keep the building up? Can we really do this?” But our St. Lucas spiritual forebears took the challenge and trusted God in order to expand the mission of welcoming new children of God home. Ninety-five years later a much smaller St. Lucas congregation stepped out in faith to make our church accessible to those with disabilities by undertaking the addition of an elevator. The legacy of risk for the gospel continues.
Marvin Sielken’s 50th Jubilee history notes, “With the new church [building] old customs were abolished and new ones were introduced.” During the festival of the dedication Pastor Hamfeldt preached his first sermon in English. Showing itself to be a community that recognized the need to change with the times in order to best spread the gospel, St. Lucas had already introduced English in the Sunday School beginning with the youngest class, so the transition happened gradually over a ten year period. As that class was promoted each new class kept English until the whole Sunday School was taught in English. English worship was again introduced in October 1911 at once—and later twice—a month evening services. Within four years English services were offered Sunday mornings along with the traditional German services. The Hamfeldt years also saw the introduction of individual membership for each family member rather than the entire household regardless of age coming automatically when the father joined, and in 1913 St. Lucas adapted to new ways with the introduction of weekly offering envelopes and an expectation of weekly support from church members with a resultant increase in total giving for the mission of Christ here.
As the splendor of the new church attests, St. Lucas has always been a community of faith committed to majestic worship of God. The church building has seen redecorations to keep the sanctuary beautiful and up to date in 1931, 1945, 1961 and 1986. If you follow the history of the sanctuary in pictures in our Lower Church archives you will see that the congregation was consistently open to liturgical rearrangement of the sanctuary for the sake of enhancing and updating the worship atmosphere.
Pastor Hamfeldt died in office in November 1937 following a severe stroke in July of that year. His years had indeed seen a commitment to taking risks for the sake of welcoming more people home to St. Lucas in the name of Jesus. The congregation called Marvin Sielken, a son of the congregation fresh out of seminary, to be its fourth pastor in 1938. Pastor Sielken’s brief but important tenure served as a transition time following the long pastorate of Pastor Hamfeldt. It is described in the histories as a time of “great adjustment” in which “many changes took place.” Liturgical innovations included the introduction of a new hymnal that for the first time included music with the hymn words, the introduction of worship service bulletins, the installation of hymnal racks and card racks, and the donation of the artful custom- made seven branch candelabras for the altar. The church also raised its profile by adding an outdoor bulletin board and expanded the parish house with the purchase of a neighboring duplex for Sunday School use. All of these changes were designed to enhance the outreach and worship life of the congregation. I see them as the congregation responding to the Holy Spirit’s prodding to stay relevant.
Pastor Sielken resigned to become a World War II navy chaplain in 1943. Before his death, having rejoined St. Lucas in retirement, he frequently told me the story of how he made the decision to become a chaplain upon driving a colleague from another denomination to the recruiting station in Detroit and the recruiter saying that the Lutherans were not volunteering in the same numbers as pastors from other denominations.. St. Lucas called Pastor John E. Slater as its fifth pastor in 1944. He served for 17 years and presided over the demolition of the old parish house and the building of a new and modern Sunday School building in the years 1955-56. With the spacious and up to date new building St. Lucas was prepared to teach the gospel to the baby boom generation. It was a risk well worth taking for the sake of the gospel. Noted Lutheran leader and scholar, Dr. Joseph Sittler, preached at the dedication of the new building. Dr. Slater’s tenure also saw the innovative use of media in the Sunday School with the purchase of a new movie projector. Pastor Slater oversaw the introduction of yet another new hymnal, the red Service Book and Hymnal. Already in his golden jubilee history Pastor Sielken had noted, “Generally speaking we may say that St. Lucas is of a missionary disposition.” The birth of two mission societies in the Slater era attests to the congregation’s commitment to spreading the gospel. Pastor Slater left St. Lucas in July of 1961 to become a professor at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
Later in 1961 St. Lucas called Pastor John E. Berger of Messiah Lutheran Church in Newton Falls, Ohio to be its sixth pastor. At 34 years, the second longest serving pastor in its history, Pastor Berger’s tenure saw many changes and challenges for St. Lucas. The neighborhood began a gradual change from working class culture to an inner city culture over that period. The histories attest to St. Lucas’ commitment to adjusting for the sake of the gospel, though, as the congregation sent Pastor Berger to an “Urban Training Center of Christian Mission” in Chicago as early as 1967. St. Lucas also recognized the need to change with the times through ecumenical outreach and cooperation and became a charter member of the Old South End ecumenical organization, C.R.O.S.S. (Christians Relating Our Savior on the Southside). This group has sponsored pulpit exchanges, unity Good Friday and Thanksgiving Eve services, the Feed Your Neighbor program, and children’s summer programs. Again, St. Lucas was a leader in embracing the new for the sake of the gospel. In this era in 1976 the congregation also engaged, Lyle Schaller, a nationally known church consultant and author to help define its mission and plan for the future. In October of that year St. Lucas launched an outreach effort through telephone calls, billboards, newspaper ads, bumper stickers, yard signs, pins and radio and television with the theme “I Found It”, a city-wide effort to reach out and spiritually welcome those who did not belong to a church. Demographic as well as social changes away from a “church culture” led to a slow decline in numbers attending during this era. The congregation’s anxiety was no doubt raised in the face of this adversity and the histories attest to an institutional stodginess setting in. The adoption of the new Lutheran hymnal, the Lutheran Book of Worship, was twice turned down over a ten year period before being introduced in the early nineties. Nevertheless, in this era there are multiple signs that St. Lucas continued to seek to adapt itself to the new mission with which God was challenging it. The organist of this era, William Nostrant, spoke of the use of new and simpler worship styles as St. Lucas embraced the informality of the age. When St. Lucas celebrated its centennial in 1986 it also redecorated the worship space, renewing its beauty so that the sanctuary continued to remind worshipers of the splendor and majesty of our God.
That brings us to the present era. When Pastor Berger announced his retirement in 1992 the congregation made a decision to bring on a new “co-pastor” who would work with Pastor Berger for a year and then take the reins of ministry upon his retirement. This, it was hoped, would ease the transition following the long tenure of Pastor Berger. The innovation was a success. The transition was much gentler as folks had a chance to get used to the new pastor while saying good-bye to the previous one. The congregation called Pastor Martin E. Billmeier, a native of Saginaw, Michigan and pastor of Grace Lutheran in Elmore, Ohio to be its seventh pastor in 108 years. Installed in late February of 1994, he served with Pastor Berger until the latter’s retirement in January of 1995. Under the Billmeier pastorate St. Lucas has been called again to reinvent itself to make its ministry relevant in a vastly changed context. The neighborhood, like the general culture, had become more diverse and multicultural. At the same time the neighborhood had also transitioned to a place with old housing stock and lower income levels, and the flight of many businesses.
St. Lucas has responded in this era by clarifying its mission with a “three-pronged” strategy of commitment to the neighborhood, a niche ministry to the gay and lesbian community, and self-definition as a regional congregation welcoming members from many outlying cities and towns in Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan. St. Lucas has continued to take risks for the sake of the gospel in embracing this strategy. Our process of envisioning what God wants us to do for Christ’s sake has led to our Statement of Welcome as well as a new Mission Statement and Guiding Principles. In line with all the previous eras at St. Lucas we are embracing liturgical diversity and innovation as we seek to re-frame the timeless good news of Jesus Christ for a new generation. We have three services with three styles of worship from casual worship to high church. In the main sanctuary we have introduced two new hymnals, With One Voice and Evangelical Lutheran Worship, both of which offer multicultural hymnody and liturgies as we seek to welcome home an even more diverse company of worshipers. For Lower Church worship we use the contemporary praise song hymnal Worship and Praise and the African American hymnal This Far By Faith. The elevator addition and website bear witness to our commitment to widen the circle of our mission. The Spirit has brought new people and new ministries of healing and outreach to those in financial need. New and culturally diverse faces have appeared as the Holy Spirit works in our midst and calls us to live up to our principles and vision as a church that for the last, and by God’s grace, the next, 125 years has committed itself to welcoming any and all home to the gospel good news that Jesus Christ has died, is raised, and lives still among us to give us hope, healing and a future.
2. We embrace diversity and welcome all unconditionally with love.
3. We commit to live God’s Word and share the Good News.
4. We strive for a closer relationship with God and with one another.
5. We demonstrate compassion and forgiveness through open hearts and minds.
March 21, 1886 Members of St. Paul’s downtown gather for an organizational meeting at the home of Louis Burman, 804 S. Erie St.
1886 At a second meeting a the Hagedorn home on Crittenden Ave. a constitution is adopted
1886 Pastor A. Weber of St. Paul’s downtown is called as the first pastor; German language services are held on Sunday afternoons at St. Stephen’s (later to become First English) at the corner of Harrison & Oliver Sts.
1887 110 x 120’ site at Frank & Walbridge purchased over the objection that this is too far out in the country for a city church
Oct. 4, 1887 Council minutes report that the frame church was completed; at the same meeting a resolution passes to purchase a 3000lb bell; parsonage also completed
Late 1887 Mutual Sick Benefit Society organized
1891 Pastor Weber resigns
1891 Rev. R.E.M. Engers of Defiance, OH called as second pastor
1891 Experiment with English language services ends after 6 mos. Young People’s Society, Ladies Aid, and Mixed choir all organized but disband for a number of years at Engers' resignation
1893 Henry Titgemeier becomes congregation president and serves 29 years
April 1895 Pastor Engers resigns
July 21, 1895 Pastor Hugo Hamfeldt installed as third pastor
1896 10th anniversary celebrated “The tenth anniversary of our congregation was celebrated in the open. Trees had been cut from the woods and were artificially planted in the large space between the church and the parsonage, in the shade of which pulpit and benches were set up—a wonderful sight much to the astonishment of our members and neighbors.”
1897 Ladies Aid reconstituted & led by Johanna Becker for nearly 30 years
1897 First issue of “Der Hausfreund” newsletter published
1899 Organ costing $1400 installed and C.L. Schnitker called as organist and choir director
1900 Two story parish house built on present site of Sunday School
1900 St. Lucas is a member of the “Michigan Synod” & hosts its annual meeting; later joins the Synodical Conference (Missouri)
July 21, 1901 St. Lucas founds Apostle Lutheran congregation on Yates St. Pastor Hamfeldt celebrates his 6th anniversary preaching its first sermon (Apostle first pastor ordained at St. Lucas on April 13, 1902
1902 Maenner Chor (male chorus) formed
1904 Congregation grants Pastor Hamfeldt an unlimited vacation in order to have a severe throat trouble cured
1906 Michigan Synod holds its annual meeting at St. Lucas as part of the 20th anniversary events
1907 300th birthday of Lutheran poet Paul Gerhard celebrated; his picture hangs above the left exit over the door into the 1930s
May 1907 A summons by 79 members in “Das Hausfreund” calling for a new church building
1909 A resolution passes to proceed with a new church building as soon as $15,000 is raised
1909 Sunday School begins transition to English language
Jan.1910 Congregation decides to break ground for a new building “as soon as the frost is out of the ground”
May 10, 1910 Last service in frame church is held
May 1910 Frame structure is demolished to make room for new construction
July 24, 1910 Cornerstone of present structure laid on same site; architects were of “national renown”
July 25-29, 1911 Silver jubilee is celebrated with dedication of the current sanctuary (total cost of construction: “a little over $41,000”
July 25-29, 1911 A new organ costing $5000 also dedicated. Congregation receives a dedication gift of a Bible from Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany; it is inscribed by the Kaiser’s hand with his signature and Mark 14:38 “Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
1911 English church services are introduced on a monthly basis
1911 St. Lucas is a member of the General Council, nearest German synod of which is the Canada Synod
1914 Reconstituted Young People’s Society transformed into Luther League, Max Loehrke, president
1926 St. Lucas is a member of the Synod of Ohio of the United Lutheran Church
1912 Easter First English language Confirmation
1918 English and German services offered Sunday mornings
1920 Duplex offering envelopes introduces with resultant rise in giving
1921 Church building debt retired; Ladies Aid had given the first $1000 and now gives the last $1000 to pay off debt
1921-29 New parish hall made next objective; adjacent property purchased; “Conflicting propositions and frequent reconsiderations delayed the matter until the business depression put an end to the whole affair.”
1929 Sunday School volunteers to take over a missionary post in China “where, at Chang Yang, we support a native teacher whose work is highly praised by his superiors. As a token of gratitude he sent us a silken banner with an embroidered inscription artistically done by his wife in Chinese letters (see archives)
1931 First redecoration of sanctuary undertaken
Mar.22, 1936 5oth anniversary celebrated at both services, German & English, including a festive scroll “1886 Soli Deo Gloria 1936” (to God alone the glory) suspended on nearly invisible wires over the altar (see archives photos); sermon text for the day is I Peter 5:10, “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered for a while, make you perfect, stablish (sic), strengthen, and settle you.”
Oct. 11, 1936 President of Synod, Dr. Sittler preaches at continued celebration of 50th anniversary.
July 1937 Pastor Hamfeldt suffers a debilitating stroke
Nov. 23, 1937 Pastor Hamfeldt dies
Nov. 26, 1937 Pastor Hamfeldt laid to rest at Toledo Memorial Park, son of the congregation and seminarian Marvin Sielken presiding at his funeral; excerpts from a letter he had written to be read on his death were included: “My guiding star is the word Ps. 37:5; the favorite of my mother, ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.’” “My last thought shall be—God willing—a blessing upon my family, my congregation, and our Lutheran Church, and the prayer, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’”
Jan. 1938 Son of St. Lucas, Marvin Sielken, who had graduated from seminary and was supplying during Pastor Hamfeldt’s illness, is extended the call to become next pastor
Feb. 28, 1938 Marvin Sielken ordained and installed at worship service to become the fourth pastor of St. Lucas
1937-43 Bulletin board placed in front of church, service bulletins introduced, hymnal racks and card holders installed in pews, custom designed seven branch candelabras donated as memorial gift
July 1943 Pastor Sielken resigns to become a World War II navy chaplain
Jan. 1944 Rev. John Slater called as fifth pastor of St. Lucas
Jan. 1944 Ida Titgemeier called as organist and serves until 1960
Mar. 1944 Frieda Hoh Missionary Society formed at St. Lucas
1945 Mary Asplund Missionary Society formed at St. Lucas
1945 Church completely redecorated & new lighting system installed
Jan. 1946 St. Lucas hosts the first Missionary Congress in Ohio
1946 Church purchases sound movie projector for use in Sunday School
Oct. 13, 1946 60th jubilee service held
1947 Frank St. one way; St. Lucas members begin using George’s Café on Frank St. to park on Sunday mornings
Oct. 11, 1953 Building committee organized to plan new Parish Building
Mar. 21, 1954 Magdalene Banks organizes St. Lucas Altar Guild Society
Jan. 17, 1955 Congregation votes to build new Parish Building
Mar. 21, 1955 Old Parish House demolished
Apr. 3, 1955 Palm Sunday, ground broken for new Parish Building (present Sunday School)
June 26, 1955 Cornerstone dedication for new Sunday School
Apr. 15, 1956 New Sunday School dedicated, Dr. Slater, “This Church House is a testimony to the world of how the congregation trusted God by making the trust concrete in the trust we had in each to give his best.” Total cost: $260,000 including furnishings; Dr. Joseph Sittler, Jr. professor of systematic theology at Maywood Seminary is guest speaker
May 1956 Two church service times: 9:00 & 10:30
May 25, 1958 Pentecost Sunday, 400 red Service Book and Hymnal hymnals used for first time in worship
Nov. 13, 1960 Loyalty Sunday, Sunday School debt paid off and mortgage note burned
Mar. 1961 Pastor Gottfried Limpert , exchange pastor from Germany, comes to St. Lucas sponsored by Lutheran World Federation to experience church life in the U.S. He serves as interim upon Pastor Slater’s resignation
Apr. 3, 1961 Remodel of sanctuary approved including redecoration, organ repairs, acoustical plastering, carpeting and larger vestibule
July 1961 Dr. Slater resigns to join the faculty of Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA. Pastor Slater, “In leaving I cherish many memories. In leaving, St. Lucas will be on my mind and in my prayers. In leaving, I relinquish my responsibilities, but not my interest. May God bless your efforts.
October 15, 1961 Rev. John Berger installed as sixth pastor of St. Lucas
Nov. 19, 1961 St. Lucas marks its 75th anniversary and re-dedication of remodeled church at a cost of $115,000 of which $35,000 was for installation of a four manual organ with 48 ranks, 58 voices and 2,843 pipes
May 1963 New 8am service added to worship schedule
1963 Fire code rules make this the last year for the tall live Christmas tree
1964 Pastor Slater dies suddenly in Selinsgrove, PA
1964 St. Lucas becomes a member of Lutheran Social Services
1966 Son of St. Lucas William Nostrant hired as new St. Lucas organist
1966 St. Lucas becomes charter member of the South End ecumenical cluster, C.R.O.S.S. (Christians Relating Our Savior in the Southend)
1968 Outdoor Saturday night movies started to attract neighbors to get acquainted with St. Lucas
1969 St. Lucas has seminarian intern Gary Johnson, a student at Hamma Divinity School
1970 24 year office secretary Louise Gannon retires
Nov. 7, 1971 St. Lucas celebrates 85th anniversary and reunion Sunday
1975 Neighborhood newsletter mailing invites neighbors to St. Lucas open house on Sept. 25; 60 people visit, many children unaccompanied by parents
1978 $3428 approved for monthly neighborhood newsletter mailing
1975 Hildegarde Nostrant becomes office secretary replacing Florence Ickes and serves for 19 years
1975 St. Lucas orchestra organized and performs and Epiphany time Gospel hymn sing
1976 Congregation celebrates the 1944th anniversary of the Christian Church, 200th anniversary of the United States, and 90th anniversary of St. Lucas
June 1976 St. Lucas engages well-known church consultant Lyle Schaller who predicts a “good future”
Oct. 1976 Sunday coffee hour initiated
Nov. 1976 St. Lucas people make hundreds of phone calls and say, “I found it!” T.V., radio, newspapers, billboards, bumper stickers & yard signs proclaim, “I found it!” in a city wide effort to reach “those never interested in church.”
Oct. 29, 1978 Choir processes in new robes and crosses
Sept. 30, 1979 Congregation votes not to adopt the new Lutheran Book of Worship hymnal
1979 Dr. T. A. Kantonen, of the Hamma Divinity School and father of Mary Frances Berger preaches at the CROSS Thanksgiving ecumenical service at St. Lucas
Dec. 9, 1979 Congregation votes to demolish parsonage next to church and construct a parking lot in its place
July 1980 New parking lot completed
Aug. 23, 1981 Congregation votes to repair, paint, and cover all leaded stain glass windows at a cost of $33, 046
Mar. 14, 1982 Congregation again turns down use of Lutheran Book of Worship hymnal
Mar. 19, 1982 Lower church renovated and called “The Chapel”
Fall 1983 New church newsletter “The Acts of St. Lucas” appears under the editorship of Lois Loehrke
1986 St. Lucas celebrates 100 years of serving the Lord Jesus
1988 Sanctuary redecorated to present look
Early 1990s Third time’s the charm; Lutheran Book of Worship adopted as hymnal for worship
Oct. 1992 Pastor Berger announces his retirement at congregational meeting; to ease the transition congregation votes to call co-pastor to work with him until planned retirement in January 1995
1993 St. Lucas adopts new mission statement “St. Lucas Lutheran Church will become more open within ourselves in order to strengthen our love and care for each other. The result will be a congregation that is committed to sharing the gospel and love of the Lord Jesus Christ with our extended church family and our immediate neighborhood.”
Jan. 1993 4pm Saturday worship service added; 9:00 Sunday service had previously been eliminated
Dec. 1993 Congregation issues call to Rev. Martin Billmeier, pastor of Grace Lutheran in Elmore
Feb. 27, 1994 Pastor Billmeier installed as co-pastor becoming seventh pastor to serve St. Lucas
Jan. 1995 Pastor Berger retires after 33 years of service
1995 Coffee time added after 10:30 service to encourage welcome of newcomers
1995 House across alley from parsonage property lot purchased and demolished for additional parking
1995 Lutherans Concerned approved meeting space at St. Lucas
1995 Hymnal supplement With One Voice purchased through memorial donations
April 1996 St. Lucas marks its 110th anniversary quietly with opening of archives in lower church put together by Bill Nostrant
October 1996 St. Luke Day healing service offered with emphasis on prayer for those living with HIV/AIDS
1997 Holy Communion offered two Sundays a month; later to every Sunday
1998-99 Two houses across street purchased and demolished for additional parking lot space
1999 St. Lucas adopts affirmation of welcome (see p. 7) and becomes “Reconciling in Christ” congregation
1999 Three pronged mission strategy adopted: defining ourselves as a regional church, niche ministry to gay/lesbian community, commitment to ministry to, for and with our neighborhood
1999 Modern sound system for sanctuary purchased and installed
1999-2000 St. Lucas begins Christmas and Easter baskets for families in need in the neighborhood
Oct. 15, 2000 Elevator fund started
2000 Lighted sign with movable letters purchased and installed
2000 St. Lucas becomes part of the Old South End Lutheran Ministry (OSELM)
2001 Following a bequest from the Herb Rice estate an endowment fund is established to use interest to help pay non-ordained staff salaries
2001 Visiting elders established to take Holy Communion to shut-ins
2001 St. Lucas sends out quarterly neighborhood newsletter to connect better with our neighbors
April 2001 Sunday School roof replaced with white vinyl onepoly Duro-Last surface
2002 New sanctuary piano purchased by memorial gift
Jan. 2003 Bill Nostrant retires after 37 years on the organ bench
2003 Construction on new elevator addition to sanctuary begins
Nov. 16, 2003 New elevator addition dedicated
2004 Zimbelstern added to organ through donation of St. Lucas family, “Consisting of eight brass bells arranged on a platform in a circle, the zimbelstern creates it cheerful, sparkling quality by virtue of a striker rotating within the circle”
2004 St. Lucas Thrift Shop opens as service to the neighborhood
2005 St. Lucas celebrates its 120th anniversary with a special unity worship service and art show contest: portray the St. Lucas affirmation of welcome in art
June 2007 St. Lucas forms healing team who offer healing touch and prayer every third Tuesday of the month in the evening
October 2007 Congregation adopts new purpose statement and guiding principles 2008 Lutheran Book of Worship replaced by new Lutheran hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship purchased by member donations
2009 Six St. Lucas youth and three adults travel to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s National Youth Gathering in New Orleans
2009 St. Lucas begins social outreach program with social worker on hand to link people up to resources they need
2009 Weekly bread distribution begun through Panera Bread donations
2009 St. Lucas Community Garden started on vacant lot across from main sanctuary doors
May 13-15, 2011 St. Lucas celebrates its 125th anniversary with a Friday organ and chorus concert, a Saturday neighborhood festival, and a Sunday unity worship service with synodical Bishop Marcus Lohrmann preaching, followed by a festive dinner with confirmation class reunion
Five sons of St. Lucas have entered the ministry: Marvin Sielken, ordained 1938; Eugene Loehrke, ordained 1948; Gary Hoffman, ordained 1974; John Hyter, ordained 1976; Roger Quay, ordained 1983
1886 Soli Deo Gloria 2011
Supplemental Timeline 2012
June 2011 St. Lucas Cindy's Corner begins serving lunch M-F every week aimed at helping meet the needs of homeless and low income people