St. Lucas Lutheran Church
Before 1880, the first settlers in this rural area worshipped in the Yellow Medicine Lutheran Church, west of Hanley Falls, which was organized in 1868 to fill the longing and desire to hear God's word. In 1874, the Yellow Medicine Lutheran parish was divided into three districts: the Western district, middle district, and the Eastern District. St. Lucas became a member of the Western district together with Spring Creek and possibly the Hazel Run congregation.
The first service of the western district was held on October 18th, 1874, at the home of Halvor Gullickson with Reverend K. Thorstenson as the pastor. In March of 1880, the Western district approved to form their own congregation. On May 24, 1880, at the home of Ole Brusven, in section 29 of Normania Township, the organization as a congregation took place and was then known as the “St. Lucas Norsk Evangeliske Lutherske Menighed” (translated: St. Lucas Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation).
At a meeting held on November 27, 1882, the congregation decided that the cemetery should be placed on the southwest corner of Frederick Benson’s land which is the present location. In 1883, it was decided to build the church building near the cemetery and a building committee was elected. The dedication of the cemetery was held on September 16, 1883. Also, in 1883 Spring Creek Lutheran Church was approved to organize and form their own congregation.
The cornerstone of the first church building was laid September 11, 1887, and the church was dedicated on June 2, 1889. On March 16, 1893, at a church meeting it was agreed to form a parish with the Silo congregation at Cottonwood (now Christ Lutheran) and sever connections with Yellow Medicine Lutheran Church. This was accomplished on May 22nd, 1893.
By 1911, the church building was too small, and it was agreed to build an addition to the old church and excavate for a basement. They remodeled the old church; the entrance was on the West but after remodeling the entrance faced the South and a basement was added. There were many improvements in this church and as the years passed many were added, including gas lights. It had a seating capacity of about 300 people as it had a balcony in the back.
On February 4, 1922, the church and all its contents were destroyed by fire. Immediately plans were made at a special meeting of the congregation to erect a new church. The building plans were approved in April of 1922 and the committee was authorized to issue a call for bids. Isaac Koltweit from Dawson made the pulpit, altar and baptismal font. This cornerstone was laid September 15, 1923.
A new insulating wallcovering called Nu Wood was used to decorate the interior in 1941. St. Lucas had two church barns that were used until 1946 when the last barn was sold and removed as automobiles were used exclusively by this time. The church grounds were landscaped in 1949 with the laying of new sidewalks, the planting of American Elms, evergreens, shrubs, lilacs, and honeysuckles. In 1950, oil furnaces were installed replacing the coal furnaces. In 1954, a narthex was added to the church, and the following year a complete water and sewer system was installed.
St. Lucas congregation belonged to the Norwegian Synod of America until November 24, 1887 when the congregation became a part of the Anti-Missourians. In 1890, they joined the United Lutheran Church of America and continued with them until 1917 when they Norwegian Lutheran Church of America was organized as a result of the merging of Hauge’s Synod, Norwegian Synod, and the United Lutheran Church.
The Norwegian Lutheran Church of America changed this name at the biennial convention in Minneapolis in 1950 to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1960, the merger of the Evangelical Lutheran Church with two other synods formed the American Lutheran Church.
St. Lucas Lutheran Church had been a two-point parish with Christ Lutheran in Cottonwood but in September of 1961, formed a parish with Israel Lutheran Church located in Section 4 of Swede Prairie Township.
In 1963, the parsonage was built, funded by the St. Lucas congregation on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Benson.
In 1980, it was voted to change the name from St. Lucas Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Town of Normania to St. Lucas Lutheran Church.
Currently (in 2023), the members are updating the sanctuary with paint, carpet, and love.