The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Tradition
St. Luke’s is an Episcopal Church in the Anglican Christian tradition. As Episcopalians, we consider ourselves to be both Protestant and Catholic—preserving the sacraments, liturgy, and sense of connection to the early church through apostolic succession, we also take the Bible seriously, interpret it broadly, and apply it to our lives. This “middle way” of Anglicanism was forged in the Protestant reformation in England in the sixteenth century, but the roots of Anglican spirituality go back to the unique expressions of indigenous Christianity that developed on the British Isles during the first few centuries after the death of Christ. Today the Anglican Communion is the second largest global Christian denomination with over 80 million members in forty autonomous provinces who look to the Archbishop of Canterbury as their spiritual head. The Episcopal Church in the United States and 13 other countries lives into our Anglican Heritage with democratic governance and a lively and engaged faith that embraces people of every race, culture, gender, age, ability, economic circumstance, and sexual orientation in the full life of the Church.
St. Luke’s History
The first Episcopal service in San Benito County was held in an upper room above a downtown store in 1876. Episcopalians continued to gather to worship informally for 18 years, formalizing their mission and naming it “St. Luke’s” in 1884. In 1899 land on the corner of Monterey and Seventh Streets was purchased, and in 1903 St. Luke’s historic redwood chapel was completed. St. Luke’s has always displayed a love for children, with members travelling to remote parts of South County to offer Sunday School services in the early years, and a deep commitment to the community: in recent memory St. Luke’s was instrumental in the founding of the Community Food Bank and Emmaus House Domestic Violence Shelter. This poem written by Dorothy Flint for the 75th Anniversary in 1951 displays much of the pioneer spirit and sense of call which still characterizes St. Luke’s today:
But As Yesterday
A mission had its small beginnings here,
Its field a town so lately but a field
That none could know the richness of its yield;
Yet two or three had heard a summons clear,
And others turned with joy to ways once dear
Or put to use a talent long concealed--
Or, stricken, sought a buckler and a shield
To guard them well against a boding fear.
Those days are gone: the struggling mission grew
In spite of season often poor and lean
Or richer years with willing workers few;
A parish now surveys the changing scene
And hears the age-old challenge sound anew
To teach what love of God and man must mean.
St. Luke’s Today
Today St. Luke’s is a vibrant, family-oriented church whose members care for one another and reach out into the community to offer a warm, inclusive welcome to everyone. Members are encouraged to think freely and deeply about matters of faith and life, to bring both heart and mind to worship. One new member commented, “I was attracted to this parish because it encourages intellectual discourse and is not too dogmatic.” Another remarked, “I found what I was looking for at St. Luke’s—Christians who practice what they preach, spiritual healing and growth, honest acceptance—nothing is put on. This church is unpretentious and focused on actions and not rhetoric.”
Worship at St. Luke’s
St. Luke’s offers a variety of worship services in our newly refurbished "carpenter gothic" chapel. Everyone is invited to participate fully in worship—no experience is necessary! Weekly communion is open to all ages. The outdoor Labyrinth is a prayer tool available during all daylight hours. Simply follow the path toward the center and back out, walking meditatively, as you find your center in God.
Ministry and Fellowship Opportunities
There is a lot to get involved in at St. Luke’s; engaging beyond Sunday morning worship is one of the best ways to get to know your St. Luke’s family.
Two or More Lunch— Members, friends, and family gather at a local restaurant for lunch and fellowship on the second Tuesday of each month.
Brotherhood of St. Andrew—The men’s group meets for breakfast, Bible Study and fellowship generally on the second Saturday of the month.
Prayer Shawl Ministry—Meets the first Wednesday of each month to knit or crochet prayer shawls for those in need of a tangible sign of God’s love.
Intercessory Prayer Team—“Prayer Warriors” receive bi-weekly email updates about people in need of prayer, and commit to pray for them regularly.
Children’s Ministry—Dedicated volunteers are screened and trained to work with our children in Children’s Chapel and Sunday School, as well as offering their time for our Vacation Bible Schools.
Youth Ministry—Youth meet weekly for Bible study and discussion during the first part of the 10AM service and periodically for fun, service, and special events. Adults who love teens are needed to help guide them and organize their activities.
St. Luke’s After School Academy—Mon-Thurs afternoons children receive tutoring in our After School Academy. Volunteer tutors are always needed!
Outreach Ministry—Folks meet periodically to plan our local and global outreach activities; volunteers from St. Luke’s help out at the Food Bank twice a month.
Two or More Book Club—Members share and discuss books of interest.
Welcoming Ministries—This group works on ways for St. Luke’s to become more welcoming to visitors and the community at large. Others serve as ushers, welcoming folks to worship, or provide treats for the coffee hour that follows.
Worship Ministries—Many people dedicate time to making worship happen each week, including volunteer musicians and singers, the altar guild which prepares and cares for the church, the lectors (readers), acolytes (altar servers) and Lay Eucharistic Ministers, who assist the priest with the prayers and serving the cup at communion. Others take communion to the hospitalized or home-bound. These ministries are always open to new members.
Stewardship Ministries—Maintaining a beautiful property like St. Luke’s requires a lot of work—dedicated volunteers do upkeep and repairs on the historic church buildings and grounds. Others devote their time planning ways to help us all become better care-takers of the all the resources God has entrusted to us, including our finances.
Occasional Activities—Adult and youth classes in the faith, social and holiday events, and special celebrations are scheduled periodically throughout the year.
If you are interested in participating in any of these ministries or activities, please contact the church office or check the announcements or calendar for times and locations of upcoming gatherings.
Everyone is welcome to participate fully in worship, learning, fellowship, and service at St. Luke’s. Formal membership means having your baptism recorded in the church register. Members considered to be “in good standing” are those who have “been faithful in corporate worship, unless for good cause prevented, and have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.” (Canon 17) Practically, this usually means: attending Sunday services regularly, pledging financially (making an annual financial commitment) to the church, and being involved in mission or ministry within congregation and/or in the world. Confirmed members are those who have made a mature, public affirmation of faith and been confirmed with prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop, or who have been confirmed in another Christian denomination and have been received into the Episcopal Church by a bishop. Confirmation is required for vestry (church board) members and specific licensed ministries.
If you are interested in membership, baptism, confirmation, or being received into the Episcopal Church, please speak with the rector, The Rev. Amy Denney Zuniga.