‘Jesus inaugurated an upside-down community. A community that believes that loving is more important than winning, that doing what is right is more important than doing what is safe, and that setting people free is more important than trying to control their lives. It is a community marked by justice and peace.’
The Community of Saint Luke seeks to be a nurturing, challenging community which values continuity as well as change, exploration and creative opportunities
- A place where all who come are accepted and respected
- A community ready to use the skills and experience of all its people
- A community which values everyone’s freedom to search for God, or a meaningful spirituality, to make their own response, and to find a fulfilling life.
St Luke’s Presbyterian parish was formed in 1875 to serve Remuera, Epsom, and Newmarket. A wooden church which had originally been a Congregational church on the corner of Remuera and Orakei Roads was purchased and moved to the current site in the same year. The present church was built in 1931-32 using the plans of a church built in 1904 in the Scottish village of Twechar, near Glasgow. A complex of halls behind the church served the parish and the community in a variety of ways for over a hundred years. In 1984, the renovated and refurbished halls were reopened as a community centre.
The community centre and church interior were extensively redeveloped in 1998.
The parish currently has around 180 members, coming from Remuera, Epsom, and Newmarket and from as far as Warkworth and Takanini, Henderson and Howick, to share in the particular style of worship and progressive theological emphasis that characterises St Luke’s.
The 1996 annual meeting declared St Luke’s to be a “reconciling and inclusive community where all who come to worship, to celebrate or to explore with us are accepted and respected”. The meeting affirmed that gay men and lesbian women have a full place as members and leaders in this church and community.
Many St Luke’s parishioners are deeply involved in civic, political, professional, commercial, social service and cultural activities around Auckland, taking into the communities of their daily lives the open, creative, and caring spirit which is a hallmark of St Luke’s. We care about our city!
The St Luke’s church community is the heart of a greater community – the Community of Saint Luke. This is a lively community consisting of many different groups and individuals who gather for a wide variety of reasons in the St Luke’s buildings. Around 1200 people a week can be involved in the diverse activities of the Community of Saint Luke.
Through its activities, the Community of Saint Luke is actively involved in community-building and seeking community and personal well-being. In this we work in partnership with the Community Facilities Division of Auckland Council.
We recognise and value the diversity of those who make up this broad Community of Saint Luke. As a church, we want to stand alongside other belief systems and journeys of exploration, with our own unique insights and experience.
For many decades St Luke’s has identified itself and been identified by others as standing in the liberal tradition. In the last decade the term “progressive Christianity” has emerged to embrace the older term “liberal” and the emerging understanding of Christian faith as reflected in the writings of such people as Marcus Borg, Bishop John Spong, Lloyd Geering, John Dominic Crossan, Karen Armstrong, and others.
Our minister, Glynn, writes, “Progressive theology is to my mind simply walking outside the theological nest we were nurtured in, noticing how large the spiritual world is, finding anew the place of that nest in it, and discovering new friends. It is about expanding the mind, the heart, and the imagination into the vastness of the Divine. “
In 2005 the St Luke’s Parish Council resolved that St Luke’s would become a member of The Centre for Progressive Christianity and adopt the eight points of the Centre as reflecting the position St Luke’s takes. The eight points are:
By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who…
- Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus;
- Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us;
- Understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’ name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God’s feast for all peoples;
- Invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to):
- believers and agnostics,
conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
- women and men,
- those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- those of all races and cultures,
- those of all classes and abilities,
- those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope;
- believers and agnostics,
- Know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe;
- Find more grace in the search for understanding than we do in dogmatic certainty – more value in questioning than in absolutes;
- Form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God’s creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers; and
- Recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.
The Progressive Movement in Aoteaora New Zealand is still in its infancy – see http://progressivespirituality.co.nz/. We are committed to it being a broad movement encompassing the biblical insights and theological exploration of those scholars mentioned above, the mystical spirituality of Maori, Celtic, and Evolutionary Christians, and the social justice concerns around poverty, violence, and economics. In this Movement we are closely aligned to the Common Dreams network in Australia.