St Luke's Episcopal Church

La Union, New Mexico

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A Brief History - St. Luke's Episcopal Church

St. Luke's Episcopal Church is located in the Mesilla or Upper Valley near La Union, New Mexico and Canutillo, Texas . It began as a mission in the early 1900s to serve the pioneer families for their spiritual guidance. Rev. Henry Easter of St. Clement's Episcopal Church in El Paso, Texas would make periodic visits to hold services in the Central School building, which is now part of St. Luke's Sacred Grounds. 

As the population of the valley increased, it became necessary to build a small church. The cornerstone was laid in 1916 by the Rev. Hunter "Preacher" Lewis and "the little church in the cotton patch" (as it was fondly called) was consecrated in 1918. 

Several of the original founding families are still represented at St. Luke's by their descendants, who are regular communicants of the church to this day. However, the congregation has grown attracting families from surrounding communities and also from El Paso . Those who worship at St. Luke's find a family oriented, gospel-centered community to help direct their Christian lives and point them to God. 

Each October the church holds its annual Country Fair. Home-cooked brisket and pulled pork sandwiches are served along with fun family-centered activities and bake sales, horse rides, dachshund races, vendors and many children's games and plenty of music. This is one of the church's main fund raising events.


Timeline - St. Luke's Episcopal Church High Lights

1915 August 1 - First Service held in Gadsden School after baptism of Stevens children.

1915 October 18 - Next service held on St. Luke's Day, hence the name of the mission.

1916 February - Land given by Edith Murphy adjoining Gadsden School Buildings.

1916 Sept. 29 - Laying of the cornerstone by Bishop Howden and Hunter "Preacher" Lewis.

1918 April 20 - Consecration of St. Luke's Mission in presence of large congregation.

1918-1929: Bi-monthly Communion Services held; Morning Prayer and Sunday School classes held each week.

1930-1934: Rev. B.M.G. Williams serving St. Luke's; YPSL & Women's Guild active

1935 --1938 Revs. W.D. Pollock & R.D. Taylor serving St. Luke's.

1938 - 1946 Rev. Malcolm Twiss serving St. Alban's and St. Luke's

1944  -First stained glass windows installed (Soldier, Mother & Child & Rose Window)

1945  - First Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper held by YPSL at Richards' Farm.

1946 - First Resident priest -Rev. W. Shelby Walthall, wife Anna organist.

1947 - Parish Hall, Classrooms & Kitchen built; Bishop Stoney consecrated the building addition..

1950 - Rectory built; Rev. Paul Saunders family first residents.

1951 - Church enlarged, transept added; Jacob Sweet , Lewis Thompson , Oliver Burt planners.

1951 - Church achieved Parish status; "Pete" Pettit first Senior Warden.

1953 - Missionary District achieved Diocese status, Bishop Stoney's longtime goal.

1956 - 1961: Rev. Charles de Vries & family serving at St. Luke's.

1959: Historic Gadsden School property deeded to St. Luke's; Ethel Brandt donor.

1962 - 1972 Additional Stained Glass windows, Rev. Kenneth Eade & family serving St. Luke's.

1971- 1972 Open Patio enclosed to become Narthex & Chapel - Kenneth Eade, Bob Palm and Bob Cutler planned and implemented this addition..

1973-1980 Rev. Harry Vere serving St. Luke's, Deacon Michael Stone assisting.

1978  - Sacristy enlarged, Bell Tower added; Bud Ward builder.

1979  - St. Luke's Parish School established; Marie Martin Headmistress.

1979 - Brandt Hall burned, new school building (Marie Martin Bldg.) replaced it.

1987  - Resurrection Windows placed in sanctuary (behind altar ); in memory of Davis & Fern Greenwood, Jimmy Greenwood and David Bryan Morris.

1989- Bishop Terence Kelshaw elected; Rev. Charles Boldine & family serving St. Luke's.

1991 - Rev. Frank Williams, retired UTEP professor, assigned Assistant Rector.

1994 - Rev. John Zachritz serving St. Luke's, Logos Program 1997 - 1999.

1997 - Rev. Judy Sessions Assistant Priest, Christian Education Director.

2000 - Rev. Kathleene McNellis - Interim Priest.

2001 - Rev. Katherine Ryan assigned as Rector for St. Luke's.

2002 - Large Storage Building added to church campus.

2002 - After 25 years, St. Luke's Parish School closed. Buildings vacant.

2003 - Rev. Kenneth Clark interim priest; Rev. Jeffrey Lambert ordained to Diaconate.

2003 - Rectory transformed into "La Casa de La Paz", retreat & conference center.

2004 -Rev. Jeffrey Lambert ordained Priest, accepted assignment to serve at St. Luke's Church.

2004 - Monthly Morning Prayer Service for Horseback Riders initiated.

2005 - Rev. Jeffrey Steenson ordained Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of the Rio Grande.

2005 - St. Luke's regains Parish status, Rev. Jeffrey Lambert continues as Rector.

2005 - Bishop Terence Kelshaw retires after 17 years service in Diocese of the Rio Grande.

2005 - The Rev. Canon Dr. Jeffey Steenson, D.Phil. elected new bishop.

2005- New Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Steenson, D.Phil, installs Father Jeff as Rector and confirms and receives 17 new members!

2006 - 90th Anniversary Celebration of Laying of Cornerstone by Bishop F.B. Howden and "Preacher" Hunter Lewis.

2007 - St. Luke's adds a new organ, funds donated by members in a record 4 months!

2007 - Bishop Steenson resigns and is received as a Roman Catholic; Diocese is in a period of reflection as it begins a search for a new bishop.

2009 - Published our third cookbook.

2009 - Buck Summerville donated a new stained glass window for our kitchen in memory of his beloved wife, Jean Sommerville.

2009 - A memorial plaque was installed honoring Martha Gardner Rice for her work helping St. Luke's connect to city water at La Union, NM. Yeah! No more well water.

2010 - In October, Father Jeff Lambert resigned to pursue teaching and writing.

2010 - From November 2010 to April 2011 Father Peter Cacoperdo serves at St Luke's as a temporary supply priest

2011 - In June, St Luke's welcomed Father Thomas Rowland as our Interim Priest.

2012 - At the end of May, Fr. Thomas Rowland concluded his stay at St Luke's.

2012 - In July, St Luke's called Fr. Daniel Cave to be Rector.

2012 - The La Casa de la Paz Retreat Center to become the rectory.

2012 - In early August, Fr. Cave and his wife Jane Cave moved into the St Luke's rectory, began services, and started to hold regular office hours.

2012 - In November, Fr. Daniel was instituted as the Rector of St. Luke's.