St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Simeon is located near Charlottesville, Virginia, east of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. It was one of six missions chapels established in the late nineteenth century by Christ Episcopal Church, Charlottesville, in the rural areas of Albemarle County. Henry L. Lyman and Caroline Williams owned the chapel site and, on November 27, 1891, sold 1.125 acres to Henry L. Lyman, Henry C. Marchant, and George Oliver, Trustees of Colle Mission and Christ Church for one dollar and the stipulation that said tract of land shall be held and used for the purpose of erecting thereon a church or chapel building for the worship of God after the manner of the Protestant Episcopal faith and to use the residue of the land as a church lot and burying ground. The Colle Mission Chapel was built in 1892, named in reference to the Colle estate, located the east of the chapel. The earliest reference to St Luke's Chapel is found in the Vestry Minutes of Christ Church in 1894. County records still refer to it as Colle Mission. The building is said to be a fine example of the carpenter gothic style of the late nineteenth century.
Within memory of some present parishioners, families walked from their farms to the Sunday services and to the adjoining farm where youth meetings and holiday celebrations were held. Until the paving of the road and the coming of electricity in 1947, the church was the center of this close community life. On July 12, 1992, the One-hundredth Anniversary festivities were attended by many members, former members, and visitors from Christ Church. In 1993, a sacristy and a small Sunday School room were designed and constructed. A well was also drilled to provide indoor plumbing. By the late 1990s the one room Sunday School was regularly attended by ten to fifteen children.
The Church is situated against a background of green hills and the Jefferson Winery, on a sharp bend in the old road between Monticello and Palmyra. Monticello, and Ashlawn, home of James Monroe, are just off this winding road. Many of the original farmhouses and estates surrounding St Luke's are to this day inhabited by congregation members. While there have been changes in the area in the past 120 years, St Luke's remains the spiritual center for those who worship there.
The main focus of our church remains gathering every Sunday to celebrate Holy Eucharist. Morning Prayer is celebrated on occasion. Special services are conducted on All Saints, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter and for the blessing of the animals. The diverse backgrounds of members enrich their interactions with one another, and the common faith and belief in Jesus Christ makes the weekly worship services a true community experience. A sense of family is a great part of the life of St Luke's .
St. Lukes Simeon Ahlborn H5 Orgelklavier
When St. Luke’s mission at Simeon opened her doors for worship, the Chapel was heated with 2 small wood-coal stoves, located in the rear near the narthex.
The pump reed organ that was used to accompany congregational hymns was located in the front, left of the pulpit which at that time was to the right of the Altar. From time to time, there have been other instruments used in the services.
In November, 2001, for our annual Bishop visitation, Michael Latsko and Babs Fickes rented an H5 portable keyboard to accompany the guest choir. The versatility of the keyboard was such an improvement to supporting the choir and the sound filled our space and aided the congregation in hymn singing. In January 2002, Michael and Babs proposed to the vestry that such a keyboard would be a great asset to our Chapel. The vestry agreed to the proposal but would not agree to it’s installation in our present organ cabinet. That organ remains in the rear of the Chapel and is still used today when the power is out.
On May 20, 2002 an agreement was made between Sound / Organ Design and St. Lukes at Simeon to install and maintain one Ahlborn H5 Orgelklavier and two Walker custom TP-3 speaker cabinets. With a ten year warranty, the H5 keyboard was purchased and installed in a Walker Pump Reed Organ enclosure donated by Don and Babs Fickes. [The organ was a family heirloom and was the last non-electric organ used in Blue Ridge Chapel, Church of the Brethren, Waynesboro, VA. This was the chapel that Babs parents, Hollis and Estelle Smith Harlow founded in 1939 on land that was homesteaded by Wilbur and Hettie McDaniel Harlow in 1904.
The contract was signed by our Senior Warden, E. Donald Fickes and Treasurer, John V. Berberich, and installation completed on June 30, 2002. A dedicatory service was held in October with selections played by Michael Latsko and Babs Fickes, co-organists and student parishioners played selections from the Flute, Clarinet, etc. Organ Program Designer, Ralph Spoettle, finished the program playing selections that demonstrated the organs capabilities. The voicing of the Orgelklavier was digitally recorded using variations from the Westminster Canterbury Cathralal that was chosen for our space and needs.