St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Columbia, SC, has a long and varied history that spans over 137 years. As such, it has witnessed and experienced the dynamic changes of the twenty-first century.
Established in 1871 through the diocesan work of Bishop William Howe, St. Luke's first rector was a University of South Carolina professor, the Reverend Benjamin B. Barritt. By 1873 the gradual growth of a faithful group of parishioners led Bishop Howe to formally organize the church as a mission. Services were held in various places over the ensuing years until a chapel was erected in 1883 at the corner of Lady and Marion Streets.
Under the leadership of the Reverend T. B. Clarkson, St. Luke's became a parish in 1889 and by 1891 had a fully vested choir. In 1911 the church was moved to a new chapel built on Hampton Street. Bishop W. A. Guerry consecrated the church on September 13, 1913.
St. Mary's, established as a mission by the Reverend Mr. Babbitt, was consolidated with St. Luke's in 1926. Property acquired in 1945 was the site for the new rectory constructed in 1947. This was also the year that Black Episcopalians were admitted to Diocesan Convention.
Under the leadership of Father William F. O'Neal, rector from 1958 to 1975, the congregation grew spiritually and physically. A rectory and parish hall were built and the congregation moved to Lady and Pine Streets on January 1, 1958. The merging of St. Anna's, Columbia (1959) and St. Anne's, Cayce (1962) with St. Luke's increased the number of communicants at the first service held on Easter Day, 1963, in the present church. The church's ministry was strengthened with the construction of the St. Luke's Community Center in 1972 and St. Luke's reclaiming its status as a parish in 1980.
For over two decades St. Luke's experienced a period of growth and transition under various rectors and priests-in-charge. Included among these were Fathers Bruce Williamson, Edward Johnson, Theodore Daniels, Howard Williams, and David Landholt. The Reverend Father Calvin R. Griffin served as rector from September 18, 1994 until his retirement on January 16, 2017.
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