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The History

St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church

1872 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10031

Founded 1925

In the beginning, God through Sis. Georgana Robinson, who knew the worth of prayer,

began to have prayer meetings in her home in the year of 1925. The Lord then gave her a

vision. She met with the members and decided to make the Band into a Mission. Their name

at this time was, “The Gideon Praying Band.” After Sis. Robinson’s Godly efforts, the

Rev. Maggie A. Chappell moved the “Mission” to 10 East 134th Street, New York City.

In November 1925, Rev. Frank H. Haynes, who was affectionately called, “Father Haynes,” was

asked by Rev. Samuel H.V. Gumbs, the Presiding Elder of the Manhattan District, to take

the “Little Mission Group” under his spiritual leadership and with the help of God, make something out of it. Through the divine guidance of our Lord and Savior, Father Haynes led St. Luke with steady hands. God chartered his course as he and the small congregation made their pilgrim journey to many different worshipping places throughout Harlem, NY.

On June 4, 1934, the rev. William Lee Freeman became a member of St. Luke Mission. He served on the Steward Board and organized the Male Usher Board.

In 1935, the Little Mission moved to 345 Lenox Avenue. In October 1935, the Lord made plans to launch another one of His faithful servants. Illness had taken over Father Haynes mortal body and after receiving communion from the Reverends Freeman and Chappell, while in Lincoln Hospital, he told Rev. freeman that his work was finished and he expected Rev. freeman to take over St. Luke. One week later, on November 11, 1935, Father Haynes answered his summons from heaven.


After the passing of Father Haynes, Rev. Freeman led the congregation from November 1935 to February 1936 with untiring efforts and was assigned as Supply-Pastor by Presiding Elder Charles W. Walton and was asked to bring St. Luke into the Conference. On July 14, Rev. Freeman was given the assignment of pasturing St. Luke by Bishop William Henry Heard. He once again took up the banner of faith and led the congregation for 14 fruitful years.


On November 1, 1937, the congregation was blessed with their first church home. They purchased two buildings from the Hebrew Sheltering Home at 139-141 west 126th Street, New York City at a total cost of $24,000. Renovations were made to this new home at a cost of $5,400.


In 1946, St. Luke was blessed with the present sanctuary. With a $75,000 mortgage and a renovation cost of $12,000, the congregation stretched out on faith once again and embarked on the largest indenture in the life of the church. They took on the indebtedness of $89,000. The church family purchased the Washington Heights Methodist Church with a down payment on the mortgage of $17,500. By May 1950, the renovation bill was paid in full and the mortgage was reduced to $42,000.


In May 1950, Rev. Albert A. Davis was assigned as St. Luke’s spiritual leader. Under his administration many clubs were formed and the mortgage burned. He guided the congregation along the true and narrow path until May 1965.


In 1965, Rev. Richard R. Stokes became St. Luke’s spiritual leader. Under his leadership, St. Luke continued her growth in the Lord. With the help of the dedicated and loyal members, many improvements were made in the beautification of the church’s interior.


On July 2, 1978, St. Luke was blessed with her fifth spiritual leader, the Rev. S. Frank Emmanuel. With the leadership of Rev. Emmanuel, St. Luke was able to make great strides. Clubs were organized, renovations were made, and youth groups were formed. Rev. Emmanuel’s legacy was stamped when he led the congregation in purchasing the Old 30th Precinct Police Station at the corner of 152nd Street & Amsterdam Avenue. This building is now being used as St. Luke’s Administrative Building.


In 1997, St. Luke welcomed its sixth leader, the Rev. Melvin E. Wilson. Rev. Wilson came in with a Ministry of Reaching, Teaching, and Preaching. More bible studies were added to give people more opportunities to study God’s Word. Rev. Wilson brought structure to St. Luke to help the church to become more efficient. Under his leadership, to keep everyone informed, he instituted the email blast system to keep St. Luke members up to date.


On January 22, 2012, St. Luke welcomed its seventh Pastor, Rev, Marcellus A. Norris. Rev. Norris came in and hit the ground running with a Vision and a Ministry of Excellence for St. Luke. Pastor Norris introduced to St. Luke, the “E” Factor, which constitutes the Principles of Excellence. Under his leadership, he was able to stabilize the finances of the church. Pastor Norris established a Discipleship Course to transform members into disciples of Jesus Christ. He also encouraged members to read the entire Bible by forming a Read through the Bible Group that will take people through the Bible in one year. Since St. Luke loves to travel the world to worship and evangelize, Rev. Norris challenged the congregation to ride in style by getting the people to agree to purchase a 25 passenger minibus.


Under the leadership of Pastor Norris, St. Luke continues to grow and reach out to the community to win souls for Christ.

St Luke Church
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