St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Red Deer is one of the more recent additions to the Alberta Register of Historic Places. St. Luke’s is significant due to its Gothic Revival style of architecture and the use of sandstone in its construction. The Government of Alberta previously designated the church as a Registered Historic Resource in 1978. The designation was revaluated and upgraded to a Provincial Historic Resource on August 27, 2012. St. Luke’s was also designated as a Municipal Historic Resource by the City of Red Deer in 2009.
The parish of St. Luke’s was formed in 1893. In 1899, Reverend Joshua Hinchliffe became the parish priest and proposed the construction of a new church at a central location in Red Deer. Construction, which was done in stages, began in the summer of 1899. The chancel and sanctuary were completed in 1900, followed by the nave in 1904 and vestry and tower in 1906. The church was built by an Edmonton-based firm, but it is very likely that Rev. Hinchliffe played a large role in the design. Hinchliffe had trained for the priesthood in England where he would undoubtedly have been influenced by architectural theories of the Ecclesiological Society. This group of Anglican theorists developed architectural guidelines for Anglican cathedrals and churches. Amongst other things, they strongly mandated the use of the Gothic Revival style, a clear definition between areas of the church and the use of natural materials, particularly stone walls with wood interiors and roofs.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church incorporates many of the design and construction elements characteristic of the principles mandated by the Ecclesiological Society. It is constructed of locally-acquired sandstone and features Gothic arches throughout. There is a clear demarcation between the sanctuary and nave and it is oriented on an east-west axis, with the altar to the east and the main entrance and tower to the west. Somewhat unusual in a province where most early churches were built of wood, St. Luke’s is a wonderful, if smaller than typical, example of an Ecclesiological Society-influenced church in Western Canada.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church remains in use as an active church and is the oldest actively-used church in Red Deer. More information on St. Luke’s can be found on the Alberta Register of Historic Places.
Written by: Ron Kelland, Historic Places Research Officer and Geographical Names Program Coordinator