The first worship service of St. Luke United Methodist Church was held in September 1976 in Woodhill Shopping Center. Marion (Woody) W. Church, Jr. was the pastor. The name was chosen as a reminder that this congregation would be an agent of healing in a hurting world, as was Luke, the physician of the New Testament. There were 32 charter members and over 50 members by the end of 1977.
In 1990, the education building was built. Rev. Eugene Strange was appointed as senior pastor in 1995. Dr. Stephen L. Martyn was appointed senior pastor of St. Luke in 1999. Stephen Martyn later went on to become a Professor of Leadership and Spirituality at Asbury Theological Seminary.
In 2004, Rev. Debbie Wallace-Padgett was appointed senior pastor of St. Luke. Aldersgate UMC joined with St. Luke in June 2009.
In October 2010, the Life Center was dedicated. In July of 2012, Rev. Wallace-Padgett was elected a Bishop of the United Methodist Church and was assigned to the North Alabama Annual Conference. In September of 2012, Rev. Mark B. Girard was appointed as the sixth senior pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church and the church continued to grow in God’s grace.
St. Luke launched a multicultural worship service on February 19, 2012. The service included scripture readings in languages representing Kenya, Senegal, the Congo, Bhutan, Nigeria and Ethiopia. We also launched a Swahili language missional community worship service on March 22, 2015. The purpose of this service is to connect with Swahili speaking diaspora in Lexington.
In 2016, St. Luke celebrated their 40th Anniversary with celebrations all year long culminating in a Unity Service combining all five worship services.
During this period, a modern contemporary service was launched in the Fellowship Hall. In June of 2019, Rev. Dr. Brian Ebel was appointed as the seventh senior pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church.
During the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, St. Luke suspended all in-person gathering, meetings, and services and switched to hosting one online service via live stream at 9:30am. They eventually added in-person worship services back into the schedule at the new times of 8:20, 9:30, 11am, and 1pm with the contemporary service moving into the Sanctuary and at 9:30 am and the Swahili service moving to the Sanctuary at 1pm.
This brief look at the history of St. Luke serves as a reminder that God has a plan for this church. With God’s purpose as our vision, we can be a light for the community and an agent of healing in a hurting world.