We, at St. Luke’s, feel blessed to have a wonderful, historic and charming space in which to gather and give praise to God. When the light comes through the very large windows adorning both sides, it feels as if God is peeking in on us.
Summary of History of St. Luke’s Church
Early in the eighteenth century, the Episcopal Church began in CT. It wasn’t until 1761, that the Rev. Samuel Peters of Hebron made regular mission visits to Glastonbury. The Revolutionary War interrupted these visits. Subsequently, in 1806, Rev. Menzies Raynor of Christ Church in Hartford organized the St. Luke’s congregation. Services, which occurred irregularly, were held in a schoolhouse. In 1812-1813, the congregation built its first church on Main Street in front of the Old Church Cemetery. It was consecrated as St. Luke’s Church in 1821. Wardens provided stability in the early years of the parish. The first Senior Warden, Samuel Taylor, served from 1818-1857. Construction of the present St. Luke’s Church occurred in 1837 after Ezra Dayton donated land in South Glastonbury to the congregation. This building was consecrated on August 29, 1838. Finally, around 1860, the parish sold the first church by the cemetery for $200. The Rev. Alonzo B. Chapin typified the men of learning who served as rectors in the nineteenth century. He edited several Church papers and wrote many works, notably an 1853 history of Glastonbury to mark its centennial anniversary.
In the twentieth century, Rev. Marcus J. Simpson, rector from 1921-1934, continued the tradition of learned rectors. His three-page history of St. Luke’s devoted one whole page to the role of women in the congregation. Perhaps he was influenced by the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution that granted women suffrage. Subsequent to Rev. Simpson’s term as rector, the famous architect Norman Morrison Isham renovated the Church. He removed the dark varnished interiors and stained glass windows, and introduced the light, bright interior that has continued to the present day. In 1959 the congregation acquired the Parish House next door to the Church to provide space for the rector’s office, the church school, and a meeting room. The rectory was purchased in 1963. A capital improvement was forced on the parish in 1978; two years after the Church celebrated its 170th Anniversary, when the town engineer condemned the church because the belfry leaned to the west. For six months services occurred in the Masonic Hall and a wedding was held at South Congregational Church. In 1987, St. Luke’s celebrated 150 Years in South Glastonbury. In 1998, under Rev. Mark B. Pendleton, rector from 1993-1998, the church raised funds to renovate the Undercroft.
The twenty-first century saw the first woman rector, Rev. Virginia Hummel, who served from 1999-2005. The year following her term, on November 12, 2006, the Church dedicated its new handicap entrance. On June 8, 2005, St. Luke’s Church celebrated the Bicentennial of the Parish and installed Rev. Marian Stinson as Priest-in-Charge. Subsequently, she was elevated to rector and remained at St. Luke’s until 2016. A truck hit the front porch of the Church in 2014 and the town engineer closed the building. The South Glastonbury community rallied around the congregation. A service was held in the barn of a parishioner. Another was held at the Masonic Hall, which once again opened its doors to St. Luke’s. During this period, the Church hired a deacon, the Rev. Kim Litsey, for one year. She oversaw the reconstruction of the Church and the parish held a Restoration Celebration in August 2015.