The beginnings of the Church of the Good Shepherd date back to 1952. Recognizing that the communities around Lyndhurst needed an Episcopal parish, lay person Ralph Noblett organized a petition drive to establish a mission. The congregation soon began to worship in the chapel of Hawken School. Services moved to the Hillcrest YMCA on Mayfield Road in 1956.
In the winter of 1957, the members broke ground for a building of their own on Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. The architecture was almost avant-garde for the time, with an altar in the center and pews around it on three sides. The first services in this building were held on Christmas Eve, 1958. The Rev. Robert Dean was rector for 23 years until he was called elsewhere in 1976.
While the parish thrived in the 60s, membership fell in the 70s, and in 1977 the parish was on diocesan aid. During the following fifteen years, the parish grew and the Naumann Hall wing was added. Under the leadership of the Rev. Graham Smith, the parish changed in many visible ways as it experienced renewal in preaching, teaching and worship. For example, the Shepherdfolk drama ministry performed inspirational plays in our region and around the state.
During the 1990’s, the emphasis on renewal combined with Anglican tradition continued. Many parishioners studied using the Alpha Course. The HeavenBound youth program became one of the most energized in the diocese. Rector David Chalk led the youth on annual mission trips to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
In the early years of the 2000’s, events in the national Episcopal Church caused repercussions in local parishes. The Church of the Good Shepherd maintains adherence to the Biblical standards it has had since it opened its doors. These are our cornerstone principles. Jesus is the head of the Church. All baptized Christians are ministers. The Church is the body of Christ. Our primary purpose is to serve those outside us.
In the 2000’s in order to serve others, with the rector the Rev. Brad Purdom, members ran a booth for children at Lyndhurst Home Days and marched with a float in the parade. The parish launched a pet blessing and initiated a community meal for lunch and companionship, which still continues on the last Saturday of the month.
Creative ministry continued under the leadership of the Rev. Steven Sedgewick and then with our current rector, the Rev. Paul Collins. Inventive and dedicated volunteers lead Christian education for children and youth. Adult Bible study meets on Tuesdays with Fr. Paul, who is nearly finished with his Ph.D. Weekly worship is highlighted by a comfortable atmosphere, by earnest prayer and preaching, and by varied and spirit-filled music.
At the Church of the Good Shepherd there is a lively sense of the Holy Spirit acting in our lives. Our love of Jesus is deep, and our calling to serve God is strong. During Good Shepherd’s tenure, four members have gone on to become ordained priests, some left home to become long-term missionaries, and several people served on short-term mission trips.
The building is also used for additional ministry. The University Heights Montessori School meets here during the school year. Many self-help groups meet throughout the week. Good Shepherd’s congregation is expecting to continue to reach out to the community in new ways and to grow in faith and friendship as well. We seek to make a difference and invite you to join us.