150 Years of Service and Celebration
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, founded in 1868, is one of the oldest parishes in the Diocese of California. St. Luke's first home, as an incorporated parish, was located in a building at 1625 Pacific Avenue. In 1884, this original wooden church was placed on rollers and moved to the parish’s current location at Van Ness Boulevard and Clay Street.
During the next decade, the church was expanded twice, and its membership grew to be the largest Episcopal congregation on the Pacific coast and a new church was built. This magnificent church, designed by Albert Sutton, was constructed of brick covered in rough, blue-grey sandstone. It was consecrated in 1900 and seated close to a thousand people. Unfortunately, this church was utterly destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Determined to stay a part of the neighborhood community, the vestry retained Benjamin Geer McDougall as architect for our beautiful French Gothic sanctuary, built in 1910 on the same corner at Clay St. and Van Ness Blvd. The worship experience is enhanced by the building’s spectacular stained-glass windows, especially the east window over the altar and those which flank the nave on its north and south sides. The altar window, which depicts the Resurrection, was installed in 1911. The stained-glass windows on the north and south walls of the nave depict the Virgin Mary, various Saints and Biblical scenes. As an integral part of the community it served, St. Luke's became involved with the American relief effort for French wounded early in World War I. The parish's active participation in this humanitarian effort is commemorated in six stained-glass windows commissioned in 1919.
Today, St. Luke's is a beautiful and gracious space for worship. However, as former Rector Spencer Rice stated, "St. Luke's is not just a building in which to worship, it is a place to join a community and find a reflection of our humanity." It is a space that houses a legacy of faith, hope, and charity. This legacy is manifested in the stone, wood, steel, and glass that generations of past parishioners have provided for our use and enjoyment.
We invite you to join us and encourage you to be a part of our future.