Old Stone Church
Saint Luke's is the oldest parish in Western Massachusetts and was founded in 1767. A little group of Church of England people met for worship in a private home, then in a school house, about 1769, in a small church built opposite the present Old Stone Church. In 1779 St. Luke’s became one of four stations of a new mission centered at Great Barrington under Gideon Bostwick. In 1785 a second wooden church was erected on the present site of the Old Stone Church.
The present Old Stone Church was built in 1836 at a cost of nearly $3,700. The interior was redecorated in 1862 and a hand-pumped Johnson organ of 450 pipes, costing $800, was installed. By the mid-nineteenth century the center of Lanesboro’s population had shifted to the south, and in 1898 a wooden parish house nearer the center of town was given to St. Luke’s. This was later converted and is now the Village Church.
In November of 1995 St Luke’s became a member of Central Berkshire Episcopal Community (CBEC), an area regional ministry. The other members included St. Steven’s, Pittsfield, St. Martin’s, Pittsfield, and Grace Church, Dalton. The churches shared a priest and had some combined services and other activities. This successful association continued for about 12 years then the Bishop dissolved it.
The Old Stone Church continues to be used as a summer chapel, after a major renovation effort in the mid-1980’s saved it from collapse. In 1999 it’s steeple had to be completely restored. With the generous help of the Massachusetts Historical Society, work began in 2001 and was finished the next year.
Having a priest only at infrequent intervals, St Luke’s relied heavily on lay readers in it’s early years. This was not entirely regrettable for family prayer was greatly encouraged, the laity were trained to greater responsibility, and many developed a greater commitment to the church. Over the years St. Luke’s has had many dedicated vicars and is now delighted to have Noreen Suriner as priest and pastor.