History of the Church Building

A church history is a story of sacrifices. It is difficult to imagine the sacrifices the pioneers who built the first St. Lucas Church had to make. That first church was a 20 x 30 building north of the present facility. It was built and dedicated in 1865. Unfortunately, no cost figures are available for this church.

The present facility was built and dedicated in 1881. The cost of this church was $1,700.00.

In 1899, our present parsonage was built at a cost of $1,058.13. The first parsonage was torn down and the salvaged material used to construct the old school house.

All of these buildings were constructed with much volunteer labor donated by members of the congregation. Members were almost exclusively farmers, and very little money was available for construction. For reference, in 1894, the pastor’s salary was $357.50. In 1904, it had increased to $368.00 and in 1908 to $500.00. Members regularly donated meat and produce raised on their farms to the pastor and his family.

Records indicate that in 1926 the total church expenses were $1,900.00.

After the World War II, the economy improved. Many returning veterans left the farm as new machinery and equipment required less manpower. The membership cross-section of the church changed with more members working at other occupations.

Although times had improved, the returning veterans and other members were building homes and raising families. Families were larger, wages had not kept up with inflation, and times were difficult. Remodeling required establishing priorities and making sacrifices.

In 1956, the first remodeling project involved raising the church and digging a basement. The basement area was enlarged to provide one classroom, the kitchen, and restrooms. The new area had a flat roof. This expansion cost about $13,000.00. The expenses for the church in 1956 had increased to $8,120.00. Annual salaries for workers at this time were between five and seven thousand dollars a year.

In 1969, the next remodeling project began. The sanctuary was rotated with the altar moved to the north end of the church, instead of in the area now occupied by the narthex. Additions to the church enlarged the facility, adding classrooms and the area now used as the nursery. After the addition, Sunday School classes had sufficient rooms so curtain dividers were no longer needed in Koch Hall. The cost of this remodeling and addition was about $50,000.00. A good salary in 1969 was between twelve and fifteen thousand dollars per year.

In 1970, total church expenses were about $10,000.00.

In 1972, after all remodeling and the additions were complete, church expenses were approximately $25,000.00. That year, about two acres (the top of the hill and land to the south) were purchased for $2,500.00.

In 2004, the congregation of St. Lucas was called again to expand in order to meet the needs of a growing congregation, including thriving youth programs. The church’s facilities were tripled in size with an addition that included a fellowship hall, kitchen, narthex reception area, elevator, six new classrooms, several new offices, and new modern restrooms. At the completion of the addition, the second phase of the project began. The sanctuary was again turned 90 degrees with the altar placed in its third location at the west end of the church. Additional seating, a library, and an expanded music area were also part of this remodel. In 2004, average saleries were between $30,000 and $45,000 and the annual budget for the church was $90,000. Total cost for the expansion and remodel was approximately $1,100,000.