St. Luke's Lutheran Church
In 1971, the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) Division for Missions decided to establish a new congregation in Colorado Springs. Pastor LeRoy Miltner was called as mission developer. Pastor Miltner began making house calls in the area and the first services were conducted at Russell Jr. High School starting on December 19, 1971.
The Charter for the new church was opened in May 1972 with 71 signatures. Planning for a new building commenced shortly after that. The current site was selected and purchased by the LCA Division for Missions. On May 14, 1972, the first congregation meeting was held, a constitution was drawn up, and a council was elected. The first council members were: President Robert Blakely, Ronald Fish, Richard Homer, Jean Hornyak, Virgil Rhule, William Rilea, Eugene Robbins, and Kenneth Turhquist.
The Service of Celebration and Organization was held on May 21, 1972. Pastor LeRoy Miltner was installed as Saint Luke's first pastor on July 22, 1972.
Groundbreaking for the original building was on June 26, 1973. Dedication of the completed new building occurred on Palm Sunday, April 7, 1974. Membership had grown to 307 baptized members.
The congregation grew in the first few years despite the frequent turnover of Army and Air Force family members. Finances were tight and education space was merely adequate.
Pastor Miltner resigned in March 1976 to take a position with the Iowa Synod. Pastor Randy Pabst, a new seminary graduate was called to lead Saint Luke's. He served from August 1976 until February 1978, when he left to become an associate Pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Wyoming. Membership stood at 201 confirmed and 99 baptized.
Pastor Don Fahrenbrink became Saint Luke's pastor in August 1976. Pastor Fahrenbrink served until his resignation in February 1984.
For the next year and a half, Pastor Arno Martin served as interim pastor at Saint Luke's (March 1984 - July 1986). This was a time of refocus, self-evaluation, and stabilization for the congregation.
Pastor David Wendel was called to lead the congregation in October 1986. He served Saint Luke's for 25 years, leaving in January 2012 to become Assistant to the bishop of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).
During Pastor Wendel's years at Saint Luke's, two major building projects were completed (1988 and 2008) which tripled the size of the church facility. A Children's Center was organized and became operational in August 1995. Services were expanded, and the congregation became focused on outreach and mission, with an emphasis on local and global hunger.
The congregation voted in May 2010 to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We joined a newly established Lutheran body, the North American Lutheran Church in October 2010.
Pastor Josh Hansen became the interim Pastor of Saint Luke’s in January 2012. In December 2012 he was called to be the permanent pastor. Under his leadership, the congregation continued to be healthy financially, with a vibrant ministry focused on mission, faith, and discipleship. Pastor Josh served for 10 years, leaving in July of 2022 to accept a call at another NALC congregation.
Pastoral ministry was continued during the vacancy by Pastor Emeritus John Bauer, Pastor Emeritus David Baese, and Deaconess Kathy Berrill. Under their guidance, along with the church council, Saint Luke's continued its ministry for over a year.
After exercising much patience during the vacancy, in November of 2023, Saint Luke's voted to call Pastor Melinda Jones as its next Pastor, which she accepted.
In December 2023, Saint Luke's produced the first ordained Deacon of the NALC's newly formed permanent diaconate, who was ordained by Bishop Dan Selbo.