Our History

In The Beginning…

The first Episcopal service in Darien was held at the Union Chapel on the Boston Post Road on December 10, 1854. The chapel, used by residents for religious services of several denominations, was a small frame building set in a field on the road between Stamford and Norwalk.

Saint Luke’s itself was established in August 1855 when ten local men met in the home of Ira Scofield on Rings End Road to organize a new Episcopal parish in Darien. The cornerstone was laid in August 1856 and the church opened for services in August 1857. The land on which the church sits had been donated by Charlotte Fitch in her will, and her son Benjamin Fitch was instrumental in building the first church.

As the town grew beyond its small farming, fishing, and commercial roots, so did Saint Luke’s. Saint Luke’s dynamic character began to take shape in the 1950’s, reflecting the dramatic growth of the American suburb. Darien’s population exploded after World War II, and Saint Luke’s found itself in a period of rapid expansion. The Church itself was expanded, including new stained glass windows by the mid-century French artist, Robert Pinart. To accommodate the growing number of families, the Education Building, Narthex, and Cloister were added, and the Parish School for preschoolers was founded in 1966.

The parish was then, and is now, committed to faith-in-action ministries.​ In 1968, a small group of volunteers started Person-to-Person, providing food and clothing out of a closet in the parish offices. Today, this wholly owned subsidiary of the parish continues as an on-site social service agency supporting the region’s needy with food, clothing, counseling and scholarship aid. The current budget is over $13 million, operating in 7 communities with both professional and volunteer staff.

In recent years, the parish continued to reach out to its local community. A “Come As You Are” service on Sunday evenings was created in 2005 to provide a more contemporary option and reach new parishioners. We began a weekly Community Supper, open to all parishioners and neighbors from surrounding communities who might need a meal and, more importantly, connection to those they may not get to know otherwise.

From humble beginnings, our campus has grown over time to seven acres. It now includes the Church and Chapel, Education Building, Anderson Youth and Community Center, Parish Offices, Franklin House, food pantry, playground, columbarium, outdoor labyrinth, community garden, and three residences for clergy and staff.

Rectors of Saint Luke’s

W.H.C. Robertson (1855-1859)

George D. Johnson (1861-1863)

Louis French (1863-1912)

Hiram Van Kirk (1913-1920)

Howard Murray Dumbell (1921-1925)

Floyd S. Leach (1925-1949)

T. Chester “Ted” Baxter (1949-1960)

Robert “Bob” N. Back (1960-1977)

Walter Taylor (1977-1992)

James A. Kowalski (1993-2001)

David R. Anderson (2003-2018)

Ryan C. Fleenor (2020- )