By Susan Bentley
For 110 years the little church of St. Luke the Evangelist has served not only the neighbourhood of Broughdale in which it stands, but also the ever growing communities to the north. From having been a parish where everyone walked to the church we now have the majority of our parishioners travelling to us by car.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church was built in 1906 on land donated by William Bernard, a local farmer. The rapid development of the village of Brough at that time meant that there were enough Anglicans in the community to warrant building a new church. The parish extended as far north as Arva and that is where the first Rector, Archdeacon James Banning Richardson, was based.
The decision to build the church was taken by a committee in February 1906, the Foundation Stone was laid on July 2 and the Church was dedicated at a service on All Saints Day (Nov 1) later that year. Financial contributions came from people of all denominations in the community.
Built of local yellow brick, the church was designed by John M. Moore in a style that shows some influence of the Gothic Revival. This style used the English mediaeval parish church as its model and it is appropriate, for this charming small church still has the feel of a village building.
The Gothic Revival features of St. Luke’s can be seen in the steep gable roof, pointed arch windows, pier buttressing accented by stone cappings, and the asymmetric front elevation. Lancet windows in the tower and the string course above are also indicative of this style. One of the curious and unique features of St. Luke’s is the half sized pointed arch windows which appear to float over the basement windows. The flood plain levels would have restricted the depth of the foundation, thus raising the basement and nave considerably above the ground.
Inside the church round wood arched beams supported by carved stone brackets define each interior bay of the nave, while the stained glass windows with their symbols celebrating Christ, the Four evangelists,(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), as well as the Alpha and Omega, illuminate it with soft light.
St. Luke’s has benefited over the years from many gifts which enhance the interior of the building. The three large chandeliers in the nave once graced the Huron and Erie building (since TD Canada Trust) at Dundas and Clarence. The brass pulpit was donated by Mrs. Arthur Houseman, and Mrs. Caleb Stockwell, whose husband was the first Rector’s Warden, donated the altar cross in 1926.
The east window which depicts the story of The Road to Emmaus, is dedicated to the Second Bishop of Huron, Isaac Hellmuth (founder of Huron College).
The large west window is dedicated to Archdeacon Richardson, and its restoration in 1981 by the Sunrise Stained Glass Company, was sponsored by the Archdeacon’s grandchildren.
St. Luke’s was enlarged in 1954, and in a nice quirk of history this extension was designed by Roy Moore, the son of the original architect. To the east, the choir and chancel were extended, with ten new pews and three new choir stalls added. The beautiful and unique stencil work on the ceilings and walls were the work of Thomas Browne and Sons of Markham. These copyrighted stencils define the corners and edges of the windows and arches. The religious symbols on the wall of each bay of the nave were, however, freehanded in pastels of blue and gold.
At midnight on December 31, 1960, led by the Rector of the day, Canon Maurice Farr, the bells of St. Luke’s were tolled to mourn the passing of the village of Broughdale into the hands of the City of London.
In 2006 led by Archdeacon Jane Humphreys, the parish spent a happy year celebrating its centennial. From the banner decorating the front of the church which read “Celebrating 100 Years Thanks be to God” we went on to have a series of concerts, dinners, picnics and we produced a photographic exhibition of our history. On St. Luke’s Day in October the culmination of the year was a Thanksgiving Service presided over by Bishop of Huron the Right Reverend Bruce Howe, and attended by the Mayor, Anne Marie de Cicco-Best, and many dignitaries.
Having given a home to the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish for several years in Bill Craven’s day, we now share our space with the London Antioch Presbyterian Church, a primarily Korean congregation.