This Sunday we celebrate St. Luke the Evangelist, patron of our parish. In 1929 Seminarians from Virginia Theological Seminary offered to lead worship for a Sunday school organized by the local Snowden school teacher Mildred "Aggie" Finks. That October in a Bible Study the young people chose St. Luke as their patron, perhaps because Luke alone tells something about Jesus as a boy growing up in God's strength and favor.
For several years St. Luke's was a mission congregation comprised mostly of high school students, children and young adults. Seminarian students raised money to build a chapel and provided consistent leadership for Sunday services. Aggie was the faithful mother hen of the young congregation feeding, clothing, teaching, loving, and gathering the mostly poor rural youth into social activities, like picnics down by the river.
By 1940 youth were young adults with their own families and ready to take on the responsibility for electing a vestry, calling a rector, and managing the affairs of the church. They elected Alexander Robertson, a former Seminarian as our first rector and were admitted by the Diocese of Virginia into full church status. Therefore this St. Luke's Day marks our 85th anniversary as a community worshipping in the Episcopal tradition and our 74th anniversary as a Church.
Many things have changed since 1940! Post war building and baby booms radically changed the neighborhood to suburban upwardly mobile. New church buildings were built in 1950 and again in 1970. St. Luke's founded St. James in 1958 and St. Aidan's in 1963 for members living south of Collingwood Road.
These days, thanks to God's many and continuing blessings, as well as to the faithfulness and sacrificial love of our forbears, St. Luke's is giving more than receiving. Troop 654 started around 1955, St. Luke's Day School Kindergarten begun in 1958, and our own Sunday school and J2A programs flourish as living expressions of our care and concern for the Christian formation of young people. We mentor Virginia Seminary students; tutor, clothe, and feed countless local children and families in our community; provide space for Pastoral Counseling, AA, Fairfax County Parenting programs; generously support the work of our Diocese so that other mission congregations can prosper and grow into full churches; and offer our facilities for use by immigrant congregations.
Thanks be to God for St. Luke the Evangelist by whose Gospel so many have come to a deeper walk with our Lord! Thanks be to God for St. Luke's Wellington and for all who worship, work, and grow within these walls. With God's never failing help may we ever strive to strengthen and enlarge the membership, ministry, and witness of this congregation through prayer, friendliness, and unceasing labor through, with, and in Christ.