St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was founded in the fall of 1975 in Hobe Sound. On October 24, 1980, the Eleventh Annual Convention of the Diocese of Southeast Florida admitted us into union with the Convention as the Congregation of St. Luke’s Church, Port Salerno, with Priest-In-Residence, the Rev. John V. Higgins. St. Luke’s also acknowledged the assistance of St. Mary’s, Stuart. The Right Rev. Bishop Calvin O. Schofield, Jr. celebrated the dedication of the new church in November of 1981, and the second and current sanctuary in February of 1986, with the installation of the Rev. James Minshew as rector, whose ministry began in 1985. The Rev. Carol Barron was called as co-rector effective January 1, 2006, as St. Luke’s began a transitional period preparing for the retirement of Rev. Minshew. The Rev. Barron served as Rector from August 2008, until her retirement on October 31, 2020. During the tenures of our two rectors, several men and women also served the congregation: Deacons Cass Dailey, Don Whalen, and Carol Graves (Carson-Hull). The Rev. Stephen Fregeau served as Priest-in Residence during a 2-year transition. Our new Priest-in-Charge is the Rev. Paul Hartt, inducted on October 26, 2022.
In the almost 44 years of her existence, the “glass church in the woods” has grown from a small group of determined friends to, at its peak, a congregation of 450! Like the little fishing village of Port Salerno, whose tides ebb and flow, so have the many people and varied missions and ministries of St. Luke’s. We began in rented spaces and have grown to a lush campus with five buildings for worship, administration, belonging, sharing, and learning. We have known financial struggle early on and during the recession of 2008. We have also realized great financial gifts and the celebration of paying off mortgages in 2016. St. Luke’s has given away several thousand filled backpacks to local children, and recently paired with the Martin County Boys & Girls Club for school supplies. We have also consistently supported homeless individuals with food through LAHIA and offered flexible meeting places for recovery groups.
When we ushered in 2020, we knew we were facing change! Just not as we thought. We knew we were welcoming a new and experienced Minister of Music in Randy Umfleet, and we knew we would say good-bye to our beloved Rev. Carol. However, we could not have imagined the flexibility demands of a global pandemic as it impacted our community and parish! We responded under the leadership of Rev. Carol and Dr. John Clarke, an epidemiologist church member, communicating protocols for stay-at-home orders and Rev. Carol offering daily prayer via YouTube. We purchased equipment to video-record church worship services when only a small team of four were allowed inside the church. Our Rector and Vestry created and submitted a plan for re-entry to inside worship that was approved by Bishop Eaton. That plan remained in effect until Spring 2022. After the retirement of our Rector on October 31, 2020, our able Vestry and Wardens along with our Minister of Music and Priest-in-Residence, the Reverend Stephen Fregeau, continued the work. Our “Drive In” Sunday morning worship thrived and later was augmented with a lawn-chair component. With new equipment and the commitment of our ministers, staff and vestry, we began new live-streamed worship in real time for our parishioners on January 10, 2021, the First Sunday After Epiphany.
As the pandemic protocols relaxed gradually in the spring of 2022, St. Luke’s resumed worship in person and live streamed. On April 21, 2022, we combined our two morning services into one at 9:15 am. Wednesday morning Prayer & Healing Service and Wednesday evening Prayer & Bible Study continue. On October 26, 2022, after a two year search process, we welcomed the Reverend Paul Hartt as Priest-in-Charge.
We continue to feel God’s Grace and Presence as we seek to Know God and Make God Known.