St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Sayville dates to 1866 when it began as St. Barnabas Chapel, served by Rev. Charles Douglas, the pastor of St. John's Church in Oakdale. In 1873, Episcopal Bishop Littlejohn assigned Rev. John Prescott to missionary work in Suffolk County and as rector of the Sayville chapel. In May, he had the mission declared a parish and renamed St. Ann's. Before 1884, Rev. Prescott had made visits to Bohemia for baptisms, weddings and church services. The first services were held in the home of Jan Nohowec (1822-1892). On Nov. 26, 1879 in Bohemia, Rev. Prescott officiated at the marriage of a Nohowec son, Winnie (1857-1920) to Katie Soucek. Over the years, Rev. Prescott married almost 600 couples. He used to say he was not only the minister but the best man as well. A newspaper item noted that the little church in Bohemia, which seated only 30 people, had had more marriages than any church around and the knots were tied by Rev. Prescott
mean the church would have a priest of its own. In June, 1948, Rev. Harold T. Bienz was assigned to the mission. Through his efforts, the growth was such that the tiny church could no longer hold the congregation. Services were moved to the adjoining parish house. The congregation eventually outgrew even the parish house.
In 1949, a large notice in the Sayville newspaper requested support for a building fund for the church, now named St. Luke's. The notice, signed by Rev. Bienz, the pastor, and William Stochl, Jr., the church treasurer, was paid for by Benedict Lumber Company, Stejskal's Hotel and Long Island Floor Service, all of Bohemia, and Sayville Fur Shop, owned by Edward Krepela, another resident of Bohemia. By 1952, the congregation had raised $15,000 toward the new building. The East New York Savings Bank was providing a mortgage for $15,000 at 4 1/2% over five years. The estimated cost for the new church was $35,000. This meant that the members of the congregation would have to raise another $5,000. With this accomplished by another fund drive, the ground breaking for the new church, which was to seat 120, took place on Sunday May, 11, 1952. Work progressed quickly, assisted by the volunteer labor of parishioners. In this picture the new priest in charge, Rev. William T. Shoemaker, Joseph Balsanek and Winnie Benedict, builder and owner of the local lumber yard and chairman of the building committee, square up some studs. Mr Benedict was the grandson of Jan Vavra, one of the first settlers in Bohemia in 1855. Other church members shared in painting, carpentry, cabinet work, grading, landscaping, cement walks and the painting of the parish house. The actual cost of the church was somewhat above budget at $40,000. In the meantime, the original church had been added to the parish house. It is still recognizable as the addition running perpendicular to the front part of the parish house. The big day for the dedication was October 18, 1953. October 18 is the feast day
of St. Luke. Dignitaries of the Long Island
Diocese, led by Bishop James P. DeWolfe, participated in the ceremony, recorded in the picture below. The contributions, large and small, of many people over sixty years had resulted in this new and devotional place of worship for the people of Bohemia.
The church celebrated its centennial in 1992. (There is a descrepancy from those documents that record the church being built in 1886.) However, there were difficulties emerging. In 1995, Rev. Bayard Carmiencke was the priest in charge. A letter sent to church members in October, 1995 by The Bishop's Committee of St. Luke's Episcopal Church carried sad news. It
explained that the church had had difficulty for some years in trying to support a full-time ministry in Bohemia. The congregation had been unable to pay the costs of such a ministry.
The Committee had hoped that there could be some arrangement with another congregation for a shared ministry so that the church could continue. However, even this turned out to be more than the congregation could afford. Because of this, the final celebration of the Holy Eucharist would take place on November 26, 1995. The members were encouraged to find other parishes in which to worship. After being vacant for some years, the church building is now home to an Orthodox Presbyterian congregation.