The history of St. Luke's congregation is closely intertwined with the history of Greendale. Like the village, we marked our 80th anniversary in 2018. 

          Shortly after the first residents began moving into the Depression-era government-planned community, the American Lutheran Church sent the Rev. L.M. Morhoff to organize a new Lutheran congregation here. He was able to interest about 100 people to attend the first worship service on August 7, 1938, which was held in the Mercantile Building on Broad St. because the Community building wasn't ready to use. (After much remodeling, the Mercantile Building is now the site of the Greendale Community Learning Center and library.) The following week, our Sunday School began in the same building.

          With the completion of the school and Community Building later in the month, we shifted our worship location and for many more years met in the Recreation Room of the Community Building. (The area is now part of the Greendale Middle School.) St. Alphonsus Catholic Church also used the room and another Protestant group that met in the building evolved into the Greendale Community Church. Each Sunday various church furnishings had to be brought out of storage for each congregation. The men of St. Luke's constructed an altar for our use. 


          At the end of World War II, the federal government decided to sell all of the Greendale homes and undeveloped property. In 1945, St. Luke's purchased a one-acre lot along Northway that had been designated in the original village plans as a site for a church. Members began planning for a new church building, but that didn't happen for another five years.

          Groundbreaking ceremonies were held October 15, 1950. Construction work continued over winter and by Easter Sunday of 1951 the basement was completed and we were able to begin holding services in our own facility. By Christmas Eve of 1951, the sanctuary was completed and we were able to move upstairs. What became known in Greendale as "The Little White Church" was dedicated on January 20, 1952. Later that year we purchased an adjacent vacant lot for needed parking and possible expansion.  


          With the greenbelt area that once surrounded the village now being actively developed, our congregation grew and better Sunday School classroom space was needed. On December 3, 1961, the cornerstone was laid for an education building. It was connected to the Little White Church by a tunnel on the lower level. When the building was completed, the three crosses at the front entrance became a prominent fixture on Northway for many years. 


          The congregation was also outgrowing the little church and by August of 1970 financial arrangements had been completed to move ahead and build a larger sanctuary. A farewell service was held for the Little White Church on October 18 and the building that had served us so well for 18 years was demolished. The cornerstone for the current sanctuary was laid on May 2, 1971. Our beautiful new sanctuary was finally completed and dedicated September 12, 1972. 

          Over the years, the appearance of many things has changed. In the 1980s we had a stained glass window installed in what was then the front hallway. It continued the rainbow theme of God's promises that worshippers see in our sanctuary when morning sunlight shines through the clerestory windows. Several years later we added four stained glass Gospel windows to the east side of the sanctuary, flanking a rainbow river flowing from the cross. 

          With congregational needs changing as we continued to serve the greater Greendale community in the 21st Century, a major remodeling project was begun. That include creating new offices and gathering spaces and adding an elevator. 

          Of course our story is not just about buildings - it's about people and their passions and commitments to Christianity. Members have come and gone over the years and services to the community have changed, but we remain as committed to our mission as was the first group that met at the old Mercantile Building at the beginning of Greendale.