The History of St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church emerged from the descendants of slaves who were worshipping with McKendree Methodist Church in the downtown area of Nashville, TN during slavery. McKendree’s membership listed 550 whites and 810 blacks according to Rev. Henry T. Tipps, in his book, The History of McKendree United Methodist Church. So that blacks might have a place of worship of their own a brick house was built for them. Years later, after the creation of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, this structure became known Capers Chapel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. The name was changed for a period of time to Jackson Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and was located under the viaduct on 12th Avenue North. The name was later changed back to Capers.
Walter Raleigh Potter, who brought his family to Nashville from Mt. Pleasant, TN and began, preaching while at Jackson Temple, was among those members who settled in Northwest Nashville. It was Rev. Potter, who in 1915 led a small group of members who desired a place of worship closer to their neighborhood. Communicating with Bishop Charles Henry Phillips, Rev. Potter was given approval to search for a new site and thus the history of St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church had its humble beginning.
The group found a storefront building on Booker Street that rented for $1.50 per month. This became mission church where Sunday school was the main, if not the only service for several months during the fall of 1915. In 1916, the mission church bought a facility on Heffernan Street (Now Meharry Blvd.) and named it St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and Rev. Walter R. Potter was appointed its first pastor by Bishop Phillips. Rev. Potter served as pastor until 1920. Between 1920 and 1958 twenty three ministers served as pastor of St. Luke. Most served from one to two years, a few served for four years and some for only a few months. In 1958, this pattern changed with the arrival of Rev. John L. Glenn from Ida Bell, OK. His tenure lasted for twenty Seven years. During Rev. Glenn’s tenure as pastor, the church grew and because of urban renewal the church was forced to move to its current location on Ed Temple Blvd. On Sunday, October 13, 1968, the New St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church held its first Sunday service.
Rev. Glenn was transferred in 1985 to the Kentucky Conference and Rev. Alfred Miller was appointed pastor of St. Luke. His tenure was cut short by his untimely death on April 7, 1989 and Rev. Geoffrey D. Nealy was appointed pastor.
Rev. Nealy served as pastor until he was transferred to Mother Liberty Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1994. Rev. Dr. Ronald Powe was appointed pastor of St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1994 by Bishop William H. Graves. Rev. Dr. Ronald Powe served this faith community for 20 years and in 2014 was elevated to the position of Presiding Elder of the Southeast District of the East Tennessee region.
In 2015, Rev. Charles E. Winfrey, Jr. was appointed pastor of St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church by Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr. In July 2017 Rev. Leon Parker was then appointed to serve as the spiritual leader of this dynamic congregation. In July 2021, Rev. Dr. Ronald M. Powe was appointed pastor of St. Luke Christian Methodist Episcopal Church by Bishop Henry M. Williamson, Sr.
The History Committee is responsible for records keeping, files, documents, photographs and other related information for the preservation of historical and heritage of our church.
Angela Bonner - President
Bernice Campbell- Emeritus