Saint Luke’s ~ San Lucas Church is the historical church of the Oregon Territory, tracing the presence of Anglican worship back to the period of the Hudson Bay Company’s settlement of Fort Vancouver, located north of the Columbia River. From 1836-1838, the Anglican presence was a chaplaincy in the fort.
St. Luke’s has held onto a sense of awareness and care for the downtown area, where it is still located. Through programs of food and clothing, financial gifts, and by joining with other churches in the downtown area, the Church has strived to live out the mission of God through his people by caring for our neighbors. St. Luke’s hosts the Columbia Counseling Center, and provides space to AA, NA, GA groups, including one for the deaf, and one in Spanish.
St. Luke’s launched Spanish worship in 1999, recognizing the new population arriving in Vancouver. The current Rector, Jaime Case, is fluent in Spanish and ministers to both languages. In recognition of this ministry, the church refers to itself as “St. Luke’s ~ San Lucas.”
Our prayers and services are in a book called The Book of Common Prayer. The BCP illustrates our faith, since we pray what we believe, and believe as we pray. It has the readings from the Bible for every day. It has Morning and Evening prayer, and other forms of devotion for daily prayer. It is also available in Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Baptism is celebrated at a Sunday Eucharist. Baptism makes us part of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, and we are adopted by baptism into the family of God. It is the whole gathered people of God who say “We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.” [BCP. 309]. We do not re-baptize any Christians.
Governance of the Church includes a great involvement from elected, lay (non-ordained), leaders at the local level (the Vestry), at the regional level (The Delegates to Diocesan Council) and nationally (The General Convention Delegates). We have a bicameral legislature at the national level (Bishops and Delegates). We are an American church, despite roots going back to the British Isles.
The Episcopal Church came from the Church of England during the colonization of the Americas. Christianity arrived in Britain arrived in the first or second century, when it was still an “illegal” religion in the Roman empire. Its independent identity predates the creation of centralized Christianity in Europe under Rome. The church was reconciled to Roman catholicism from around 600 a.D. to the Reformation.
During the Reformation the English church separated from Roman catholicism again. It was a reformation that took some years to define. The Church of England kept the traditional forms of worship, as well as the orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. Yet theologically they were more like the Lutheran reformation. We tended to be in the middle, what we call “Via Media.”
Responding to God’s call to welcome all people, The Episcopal Church is inclusive. The national body is acting on the issue of fully including all qualified persons, including GLBTQ people, among the ranks of clergy, and on blessing all sorts of family relationships. At St. Luke’s ~ San Lucas, we also seek to live into our baptismal vows (see BCP pp. 304-305) and be a blessing to all people inside and outside the Church.