St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Hastings, MN
History (1855 - Today)

We welcome tour groups. 


The Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, Bishop of the Northwest Territories
The Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, Bishop of the Northwest Territories
1855:  St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Hastings was informally organized as a mission by the Rt. Reverend Jackson Kemper, the Episcopal Bishop of the entire Northwest Territories. “During his ministry Bishop Kemper organized eight dioceses and founded three colleges. He also promoted mission work among the Potawatomi, Seneca, Oneida and Huron Indians with whom he worked.”¹
1855: Land for the church was donated by Henry Sibley and his wife Mary Jane; Henry G. Baily and his wife Harriet; and William G. LeDuc and his wife Mary.  Lots 5&6 in block 45 in Hastings, MN. were deeded to the Rector, Wardens, & Vestry for the Episcopal congregation.2
1856: The Parish of St. Luke's Protestant Episcopal Church was formally competed and became a part of the diocese of the Territory of Minnesota. The cornerstone of our original building was laid May 6, by Bishop Kemper3  and it opened on November 16, 1856.

1857: The original building was consecrated and The Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson resided in Hastings and held services here every other Sunday.  He walked to many towns from Point Douglas to Prescott; Cannon Falls to Faribault; and even Albert Lea.4   
Bishop Benjamin Whipple
Bishop Benjamin Whipple
1859: Bishop Henry Whipple, newly elected as first Episcopal Bishop of the Minnesota Territory, worked to “provide proper treatment and justice for all the poor and most especially for the Native Americans.  He made regular missionary sojourns through the rural areas preaching in cabins, school houses, stores, saloons, and Indian villages. Until the diocese was financially secure, he pledged himself to personally support several of its missionary clergy and assumed many other financial obligations of the church.” 5  He unified the diocese and while his work with native communities would be viewed as unjust in today’s world, he and Bishop Kemper were considered radical thinkers among their contemporaries, and Bishop Whipple become known as "Straight Tongue"6 to many nations.

With the influence of both Bishop Kemper and Bishop Whipple, Episcopal congregations including St. Luke's welcomed all peoples to their worship services and the women of the church became active in mission work.  Indian John, a friend to the settlers of Hastings, is buried in St. Luke's Cemetery.

1869: The church pews were built and installed.  The pews are built of Butternut wood and though the ends were remodeled in 1881, they are the same ones in use today.  

1880: St. Luke’s first building was destroyed on Dec 27, 1880 when the candles ignited the Christmas decorations around the chancel window. It quickly spread to the ceiling in the chancel but the internal furnishings were saved. “Willing hands were in abundance and quickly removed furniture,  altar, communion set, candelabra from the chancel, and together with the pews in the nave all were piled up promiscuously on the opposite side of the street.  In this they were favored by the west wind and the fiery element worked slowly to the tower in front, the bell being about the last to fall in a shapeless mass to the ground.” [Hastings Gazette Jan 1, 1881]
07/09/1881: The foundation of St. Luke’s is being made ready for the super structure. [Hastings Gazette, July 9/1881]
07/30/1881: “The Cornerstone of the new St. Luke's Church was laid last Wednesday afternoon with appropriate exercises.  A large number were in attendance, some of them having been present twenty-five years ago at the laying of the corner stone of the old church which burned Dec 28th, 1880.” [Hastings Gazette, July 30, 1881]
09/14/1881: “Metzger and Schilling were awarded the contract for the brick laying on the new Episcopal Church.” [Hastings Gazette, September 14, 1881]
 04/09/1882  The first Divine service was held in the new Church today, Easter Sunday.  However, the very first tolling of the new bell was on March 3, 1882 the occasion of the burial of Caroline Warsap (page 260) with The Rev. Dr. Knickerbocker D. D. officiating.
The new bell was a gift from Judge Benjamin Pringle. [St. Luke’s clergy record book.]
05/28/1882:  Nine Memorial windows were placed in the nave of the Church (McCully & Miles, Chicago, the manufacturers of the stained glass). The Altar,  with Cross, Vases, and Candlesticks were saved from the old church and we believe with all its appointments.   The pews were saved and many hymnals and prayer books. [St. Luke’s clergy record book.]
Sept, 1882: The Young Ladies Guild presented the Bishop's Chair when The Rt. Rev. H. B. Whipple confirmed a class of 10 at St Luke’s.
Other Dates of significance include:
1887-At annual meeting, treasurer reported the church was fully paid for.  The Easter offerings being enough for that purpose.

1902 - The new pulpit was given by parishioners.
1906 - “The Last Supper” etching (in the gathering space) was given in memory of Mary Lemen Johns.
1912 - The windows on each side of the front doors were placed in memory of Mr. & Mrs. E. Vose.
1959 - A new parish hall was completed at the cost of $75,000 and is named Todd Hall in recognition of the generosity of Irving Todd.

1968 - A pipe organ was installed.
1969 - Chimes were given.
1980 - The lounge/library room in Todd Hall was completed.
1987 - The original church pews were repaired and refinished.
1990 - The sanctuary was remodeled including new flooring and new carpeting.
1992 - Completion of new meeting/gathering space and elevator added thanks to the generosity of Carroll Simmons.