Matthew 18:20 states, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” That is exactly how Saint Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church began. A few gathered in Jesus’ name under a bush harbor, or outdoor sanctuary made of trees. This group of believers had no building and no mission statement, but they were on a mission to come together to uplift the name of Jesus.

The group did not have a minister either, so they later joined together with a nearby community church, St. John United Methodist Church. For some time, St. Luke’s “earliest members” held combined services with St. John UMC. As the group increased in number and gained some stability, they looked to branch out on their own. The trustees consulted local landowners about buying property. John and Sarah Haynesworth agreed to sell a tract of land for the sum of $50.00 to be paid by the trustees and congregation of St. Luke A.M.E. Church. The two acres of land, situated in Stateburg Township, were described as an oblong shaped lot.

The land was sold with a deed restriction stating that the lot be used exclusively for a church, no house except the church building could be placed on the property. The trustees and congregation came together and agreed to purchase the land and abide by Sarah’s request. The agreement was drawn up by Sarah on December 13, 1890 and on January 12, 1891, the deed was sworn in and recorded in Sumter County court records.


Shortly afterwards, St. Luke Church was erected under the pastorate of Rev. J. Jackson. Succeeding Rev. J. Jackson were the following ministers: Reverends Gordy, Martin, Broughington, Chisholm, S.A. Robinson, J.B. Hamilton, Richardson, Heyward, E.A. Parker, Ambrew, S.S. Burroughs, W.M. Gant, H.B. Andrews, T.E. Shields, H.H. Hatten, C.K. Brown, C.C. Burgress, R.L. Washington, R.R. Hooper, E.R. Thomas and currently Rev. Dr. Orlando M. McCauley, Jr. Rev. H.B. Andrews was the longest serving minister with a tenure of twenty years.

St. Luke Church was destroyed by fire three times. First, during the late 1920’s while Rev. Chisholm was minister. A second time, during Rev. Parker’s pastorate and again while Rev. Burroughs was pastor.

In the early 1940’s, the church was moved from its original location in Stateburg Township to its present site off US Highway 76/378 for governmental purposes. A second building was also situated on this property. In September 1948, church trustees agreed to lease the building to Stateburg School District No. II of Sumter County for school purposes. A school was established which served many community children.

On January 2, 1987, Douglas M. Allen through love and affection deeded St. Luke Church 20.25 acres of land adjacent to the current location.

Due to Hurricane Hugo the church was renovated in l989-1990 with a new addition to include a fellowship hall and Sunday School rooms. Financial obligations were completed and the mortgage burning celebration was held May 25, 1996.

The first parsonage, located off McCray’s Mill Road in Sumter, was purchased January 8, 2001. The 15-year mortgage was paid in full after only five years. God is truly good all the time.

In March 2015, St. Luke welcomed its current Pastor, Rev. Dr. Orlando M. McCauley, Jr. His ministerial experience in retrospect began in 1989 from his native land Liberia, West Africa. He strongly believes that Calvary covers it all!

This is not the end of the story. Let us continue to sow seeds of gratitude, of joy and of faith for future generations.



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