The Foundation of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church (Est. 1894)
The following recorded account has been handed down through the ages as the history of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church. It is not only our history, but also "His Story" as the Lord Jesus Christ worked in times past through the lives of His people - ordinary men and women – for the purpose of preserving and progressing His Church.
In 1894, thirty-six members of the Union Baptist Church, located on 11th Avenue and Avenue K, requested and received letters of dismissal. Some of these original members were Mr. and Mrs. George Williams; Mr. and Mrs. James Prater; Mrs. Bess and her two daughters (one of which was Florence Bell); and Mr. Lew Jones. These members met from house to house to hold services for a period of approximately two months. Rev. Blair served as the first Pastor. Rev. E. M. Terrell succeeded him. Suggested names for the church were submitted by several members. The name submitted by Sis. Bess received a majority vote and the St. Luke Church came into existence. St. Luke was organized under the late Rev. E. M. Wright, Pastor of Mt Olive Baptist Church; Rev. Code, Pastor of Avenue L Baptist Church; and Rev. Coff. After a month of operation, the legality of this organization was questioned and, in response, a reorganization was held.
These faithful members saved nickels, pennies and dimes to purchase property where they could assemble together for worship. Over a period of time, a lot and two buildings were purchased at 15th Avenue and Avenue N. One building served as the house of worship; the other was used as the parsonage. In 1900, a storm destroyed both buildings. Many members scattered, but the few that remained were not discouraged. As a result, the Holiner Hall was rented as a meeting place in which to hold services.
In 1903, services were moved to a building on 9th Avenue and Broadway. Rev. DeBlair, who was a free mission minister, was called as the Pastor. The members sought to secure letters for the purpose of establishing a Missionary Baptist Church in the East End. Members consulted with Rev. B. J. Preacher for his recommendation of a Pastor, and he suggested Rev. J. C. Curtis, who was completing his theological studies in Austin, Texas, at that time. In 1909, Rev. Curtis was elected as Pastor. The church location later moved to a house on 13th Avenue and Avenue M ½.
In 1911, the present site on the corner of 13th Street and Avenue L was purchased and services were held on the alley corner in a small frame building which was then a drugstore. Eventually, a stucco building at 13th and Avenue L was erected. Later, the stucco building was replaced with a brick veneer building. During this time, the church was without a Pastor and Rev. B. J. Preacher, who worked in Bolivia during the week, would return to Galveston to minister on Sunday.
Former Pastors of St. Luke are Rev. Curtis, Rev. J. L Lampley, Rev. J. J. James, Jr. Rev. Peter H. Preacher, Sr., Rev. Earvin Johns, and Rev. Charles E. Wheat. Rev. Charles E. Wheat served as Pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church from July 1995 to October 26, 2016 when he was called to his heavenly home.
In July 2018, the current Pastor, Rev. James E. Pate, Jr. was called to the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church. He began his pastoral duties on July 28, 2018, and was officially installed on September 30, 2018.