Miracle on 86th Street: A History of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

Miracle on 86th Street: A History of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

It was only a country road with no idea of its destiny as a major thoroughfare running through the heart of Indianapolis. They were simply hardworking men and women looking for a new place to live out their faith. In the midst of the cornfields and woodlands a miracle was destined to take place. Because of their vision to see into the future, their passion to create for their families a new church in that “wild” land, and their tremendous faith to trust where God would lead, a miracle took place on what would eventually be known as 86th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. That miracle is called St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. A church building alone, however, is no miracle. The miracle of St. Luke’s began with those founding members whose pioneering spirit, incredible passion and inspired vision continued for over fifty years. St. Luke’s has experienced unprecedented growth, and its impact has been felt throughout the world. By embracing the St. Luke’s mission statement to be “An open community of Christians gathering to seek, celebrate, live and share the love of God for all creation,” the people of St. Luke’s have been able to live out the church’s vision statement as well: “To transform our world into a compassionate, inclusive and Christ-like community.” Policies written on paper don’t accomplish these things. People of faith, vision and passion accomplish these things. The stories of those people are recounted in these pages; to read these stories is to intimately understand how St. Luke’s came to be one of the premiere United Methodist Churches in the country. There is no one better situated to tell that story than Dr. Carver McGriff. Carver served as St. Luke’s senior pastor for 26 years – a length of time virtually unheard of in the Methodist church. Carver offers insights into the early history of St. Luke’s, delves deeply into his own time, and brings us to the current life of St. Luke’s. Carver’s journey and the St. Luke’s journey are inextricably linked. The story will appeal to St. Luke’s members new and old as they relive favorite memories and learn about the behind-the-scenes workings of their church. Carver’s open discussion of pastoral issues will be of interest to ministers as well, providing insight and letting pastors know that they are not alone in their struggles and joys. It is ultimately a story for anyone interested in how a community – through turmoil, joy, disagreement, change and celebration – created and continues to create miracles.

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