Who Are We?
A History of St Luke Lutheran Church
In 1962, the Division of American Missions of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) decided to start a mission in northwest Atlanta. The Rev. Jerry L. Straszheim was called from Columbus, Ohio at the conclusion of his senior year in seminary to become the first pastor. In starting what would be only the second ALC congregation in the state of Georgia, the former sports announcer knocked on over 3500 doors seeking the unchurched, the inactive and any Lutherans. The first worship service was held on September 8, 1963 in Birney Elementary School. Construction on the present site began in October 1963. The Congregation was officially established on January 18, 1964 with 37 confirmed members and first worshiped in the newly completed church on May 31, 1964, with the building officially dedicated on November 15, 1964.
Notable building additions to St. Luke include our Fellowship Hall, our kitchen, rest rooms, and several classrooms in November of 1988. In March of 1998, the remodeling of our sanctuary which was completed. At that time 11 stained glass windows were added, including the "Crucifixion Window", a large stained glass window (click here for photos on the artist's website) of the crucifixion behind the altar. Additional stained glass windows of the creation story were added to the church entry in 2000. These windows are featured throughout our website.
Today the facility of St. Luke serves as a center for education and worship for the congregation and for many community groups.
Former Intern Pastors
Pastor Beth Birkholz
shared her gifts with St. Luke for a time too brief in 2017 from March 22 through June 11 during our transition. Prior to joining us she served as Associate Pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Marietta. She is married to Pastor Scott Seeke who had been serving at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Lawrenceville. Together they have accepted a call to be co-pastors of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Livonia, Michigan where they will undoubtedly be moved by her down-to-earth sermons relating her everyday experiences with those of people described in the Bible.
came to St. Luke in August 2015 having recently graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology of Emory University. She has been a Lutheran almost all her life and a member of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Marietta for the past 30 years. In her previous life, she worked as a director in customer support for Hewlett Packard. While serving here until April 24, 2016, Vicar Karen brought us fresh ways to connect with God and our fellows: the "Gods Work, Our Hands" mobile, Lenten Prayer Flags, and many timely Facebook posts thanks to the photographic talents of her husband Alan. And she sang in our choir! She was ordained October 15, 2016 and is now serving as Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Clay, Alabama.
became St Luke's first intern pastor on July 25, 2014, completing her time with us in July 2015, one step closer to ordination as an ELCA Lutheran Pastor. She brought many fresh ideas such as Blessing of the Animals, Beer and Hymns Fellowships and Ministry by Facebook. Anna was born and raised in Alabama in a Southern Baptist tradition. She earned a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory in 2011, served as chaplain at Emory Hospital in Midtown and has been a member of St John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta. She received a call to be pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in South Hadley, Massachusetts and was ordained January 31, 2016 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta.