What is the History of St. Luke’s United Church of Christ?
St. Luke’s history goes back to 1878 when it was organized as the German Evangelical St. Lucas Church of Independence, Missouri. The church had 21 charter members who were all of German descent. The first church building was built in 1881 at the corner of North Liberty and West Nettleton.
All services were conducted in the German language until the beginning of World War I.
In 1910, the congregation built their second church at the corner of North Main and Farmer.
In 1957, the church moved to its current location at 727 N. Main. An educational building was constructed first and later a new sanctuary was added. A beautiful renovation of the educational building was recently completed.
The church’s name changed through the years. It became the St. Luke’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1934. In 1957, the name became St. Luke’s United Church of Christ when the Evangelical and Reformed Church united with the Congregational Christian Church.
St. Luke’s United Church of Christ has been served by many faithful ministers through the years. Before the congregation was organized, the Rev. Frederick Drewel led a group in worship. The Rev. Ed Klimpke conducted services in 1878 and organized the congregation. He was followed by Rev. M. Luvish, Rev. A. Pistor, and Rev. A. Dobler. Rev. Christian Stark was the first pastor to devote all of his time to the Church. He served from 1888 – 1894. Next came the Rev. H. Pens, Rev. Otto Niethammer, and Rev. Paul Moritz. Rev. Moritz preached the last sermon in German in 1924. Rev. Clyde Koehler, Rev. Austin Schultz, and Rev. J. Sherrel Gohde came next. Rev. Arthur J. Schneider served from 1949 – 1959. Rev. A. H. Behle served until 1965 when Rev. Ralph C. Koch came to St. Luke’s. He served until he retired in 1980 and became Pastor Emeritus. Dr. Howard Schenk was called to St. Luke’s from 1981 – 1990. Rev. David T. Lyon came in 1991 and retired in 2012. He was the longest serving pastor in St. Luke’s history and was awarded the title of Pastor Emeritus when he retired. The congregation welcomed Rev. E. Paul Emily as their called pastor in February, 2015.
Photo of Rev. David Lyon and Dr. Howard Schenk
September 23, 2007
Photo Gallery of pastors who have served the congregation
Located in the hallway at St. Luke’s.
St. Luke’s congregation has changed through the years as well. There are still many families of German heritage at St. Luke’s, but they are joined by people of many ethnic and religious backgrounds. All are welcome at St. Luke’s!