St. Luke United Methodist Church was created on June 11, 1961. It began with 41 members, not including the children of the parents who joined.
Reverend Roy Ryan was appointed as the first minister and Reverend J.T. Humphries was appointed Host Minister. Reverend J.E. Long was the Superintendent in the Cleveland area.
St. Luke opened as a full church with Sunday School and worship services being held in the Pearman Elementry School. The charter members closed on Sunday, April 15, 1962, with 162 members enrolled.
When school opened in September, the St. Luke members began meeting on the second floor of the Bolivar County Courthouse, where they continued to meet until they were able to move into their own sanctuary at Tenth and Deering Street.
A groundbreaking service was held on June 3, 1962, and the first service in the present building was January 20, 1963. The formal opening was held January 27, 1963, with Bishop Marvin Franklin presiding.
The Women's Society of Christian Service, now known as United Methodist Women, met for the first time on Monday, July 25, 1961. July 30, 1961, was the first meeting of the Methodist Men. The Methodist Youth Fellowship began their meeting January 7, 1962, with 13 youth present.
Today St. Luke is an active, caring church. Its membership has always been involved in community activities and is noted for its leadership in worthwhile endeavors in Cleveland and Bolivar County. St. Luke was Cleveland's first church to covenant with Habitat for Humanity to build a home, setting an example that other local churches have followed.
We established our after-school and children's summer camp programs, not just as a community outreach program, but also as an example we hope other churches will follow.