A brief history of St. Luke’s Church
In 1847 the Reverend Jarvis Buxton came to Asheville, then a community of about 800 people, to become Rector of Trinity Church. He was a missionary-minded priest and was responsible for beginning the work of the Episcopal Church in Chunns Cove, Beaverdam, West Asheville and Waynesville.
Father Buxton loved horseback riding and rode over Beaucatcher Mountain to start a church in Chunns Cove in June of 1858. The first service was held in the home of Hosea Lindsey. The work continued on from 1858 through the turmoil of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Services were held on the lawns and in the homes of members and friends. Besides in the home of Mr. Lindsey, church services were held in the homes of such early members as Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Armstrong, and, as recorded, “under the weeping willow tree in Mrs. Metz’s yard.” With the help of the rectors of Trinity Church and their devoted lay people, who drove or walked over Beaucatcher Mountain on Sunday afternoons, the tiny congregation in Chunns Cove worked and prayed and gave for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom.
In 1893, the eight communicants making up the registered membership of St. Luke’s decided that it was time to build a place of worship. Mr. Owen, the warden, along with Mr. Armstrong purchased a lot from “Uncle” Matt Baxter, a former slave of Col. Stephen Lee. Mr. Armstrong planned and supervised the construction of the church. Work on the building was sufficiently completed so that the first service could be held on September 17th, 1894. The cost of the building was $728.00. We still worship in that original building. Following the completion of the church building, Trinity Church continued to support St. Luke’s with Sunday school teachers and lay readers.
A noteworthy name which appears in the history of St. Luke’s during the first part of the twentieth century is the Reverend James B. Sill. Born in New York City, Father Sill came to western North Carolina in 1910. For thirty-three years he served numerous churches in the diocese including St. Luke’s. The stained glass window above the altar was created in New York and was dedicated in 1942 during Father Sill’s tenure. It is a memorial to the Reverend Thomas Henry Sill, the vicar of St. Chrysostom’s Chapel in New York City, father of Father Sill. An outstanding lay reader at this time was Miss Janie Owen, the daughter of William T. Owen. For over 42 years “Miss Janie” took care of the church and prepared the altar for visiting clergymen.
In 1961, Bishop Henry sent the Reverend Pierry F. “Pete” DeSaix to St. Luke’s with the intention of closing the small mission. Father DeSaix ended up staying at St. Luke’s for twenty-four years. During this time the mission became a self-supporting parish. Ministry in the name of Christ continues in this place.
The congregation is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina. Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor, has his offices in the CentrePark around the corner. Our rector, the Reverend Patty Mouer, was called in December 2004. We are a small congregation with an average attendance of 58 people on Sundays.
The congregation of St. Luke’s describes itself as having “a commitment to outreach…a big heart…a sense of family and community…leadership roles available to everyone…something for everyone in terms of ministry…a willingness to try new things…a love of music…a sense of history…”
We hope you will join us in ministry and worship at St. Luke’s!