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History

History

Ada was established in July of 1891, and early in its settlement, several Episcopal families moved into the area. The roots of St. Luke's are in the organization of a guild for Episcopal women who began meeting in their homes about 1910. In that same year, communicants petitioned the bishop for regular services by a visiting priest in Ada. Building began on the first church, a small frame structure, in 1913. The mission of St. Luke's was formally organized on April 10, 1915.

The Reverend Franklin Davis was appointed as the first resident priest for St. Luke's mission in February 1917. He served until 1920 when he was appointed Archdeacon of Central Oklahoma. St. Luke's had a series of priests until 1930 when the Reverend Samuel Peard was appointed. During his tenure (1930-1933), St. Luke's attained parish status and grew quickly. By the late 1930s, St. Luke's had outgrown its first church.

In 1939 the cornerstone was laid for the present church building. The church proper, and other later additions were built of native limestone quarried near Ada. The architectural design is reputed to have been modeled after designs attributed to Sir Christopher Wren. As St. Luke's grew and expanded, additional space was needed.

The first Parish Hall connected to the church, a surplus WWII Army Air Corps barracks, was purchased and moved from East Central University by one of the founding families and renovated in 1949. In 1951 a new rectory was built to the east of the Parish Hall. In 1961 the Christian Education building (Blake Hall) was added to the facilities. In 1981, the original Parish Hall was demolished and the present Parish Hall, which included a basement, kitchen, nursery, new offices, choir room, and Vesting Sacristy, was constructed. During the tenure of Fr. Armstrong, the original Vesting Sacristy in the church was converted into the Columbarium. In 1991, the rectory was converted into the church offices, a parking lot to the east of the new offices was paved, and in 1992 the previous office in the Parish Hall was remodeled into a larger Vesting Sacristy.

The Reverend John Ashby came to St. Luke's in 1959 as rector, and after twenty-two years of faithful ministry, was called to become the Bishop of the Diocese of Western Kansas. In 1981 the Reverend Kenneth Armstrong was called as rector and served until the spring of 1991. Following Father Armstrong's ministry was the Reverend Dr. Dean Lierle (1992-1995), and St. Luke’s immediate past rector, the Reverend John Norvell, came in February of 1995 on Fr. Lierle’s retirement and stayed until his own retirement in 2017.

Today, St. Luke's is generally recognized as a jewel of church architecture, certainly one of the most aesthetically pleasing churches in the diocese, and indeed, in the entire region. The yellow glass windows from the original frame church were incorporated into the new church when it was built in 1939 but by the time Fr. Kady (1951-1954) and Fr. Anderson (1954-1959) had completed their tenure, all of the windows in the Narthex, Nave and Chancel had been replaced with beautiful stained glass windows. The Columbarium, with its own stained glass window depicting the angel rolling back the stone from the Tomb of Jesus, and the Stations of the Cross in the Nave were added during the time of Fr. Armstrong. Additional stained glass windows have been added in the Parish Hall and Vesting Sacristy.

Not to be neglected at St. Luke's are vital outreach ministries that have benefitted the Ada area. During the time of Fr. Kady, St. Lukes’s partnering with local civic groups, established and help run Spring Valley Boy’s Ranch, a summer camp for underprivileged boys; Fr. Ashby inspired the men of St. Luke’s to purchase and install playground equipment at Glenwood Park, a park in the City of Ada serving mostly lower income families; St. Luke’s Bequest and Endowment Trust, which has among its purposes outreach into the community, was created under the guidance of Fr. Armstrong; and the Matthew 25 Mission, which provides food and other essentials for the needy, guided by Fr. Norvell, made St. Luke's an open and inclusive community in difficult economic times.

St. Luke’s has indeed been blessed, and we know it. Our outreach is but one more tangible way of serving the world in Christ's name.