Who We Are
75 Years of The Episcopal Church of
the Good Shepherd: 1944 – Today
On a rare snowy Austin evening in 1944, The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd was founded with the faith, love, and hope of 59 people gathered in a vacant section of a shopping center across the street from our current Windsor campus. Since then, thousands have followed in their footsteps: worshiping, serving, studying, and finding love in Christ through Good Shepherd.
The physical foundation for this community of faith began with the completion of the original Parish Hall in 1945, the church building in 1950, and the Good Shepherd Episcopal School building in 1955. From early traditions – the festival of lights, Friday night dances, youth ringing the church bell, the Christmas Bazaar – to newer ones – daily Lenten worship, the Giving Tree, crawfish boils, Shepherd bags to entertain little ones – the Windsor campus echoes with 75 years of faithful memories.
The successful Build the Beloved Community campaign of 2013-2016 was a landmark in the life of Good Shepherd. Described in detail later in this profile, the BBC came along at a critical juncture: The Windsor congregation was vibrant and growing, but grappling with declining infrastructure. Today, the parish enjoys a modernized Education Center, the flexible Parish Life Center, and a much-improved church building, while Good Shepherd Episcopal School provides an excellent early childhood education in equally excellent facilities – sometimes welcoming second-and even third-generation GSES students to their classrooms.
The BBC campaign would also build a metaphorical bridge across Austin to the Woodland campus, laying the foundation for what would become our second campus, in 2016. Three years later, Hillside Early Childhood Center would open its doors to those needing full-time, high-quality early childhood education. The genesis of Woodland campus and HECC has been a defining and exciting moment in the history of our parish, offering opportunities for service and growth and challenging our parish to reach beyond the Tarrytown campus both physically and in spirit.
The rich history of Good Shepherd invites its parishioners to share in traditions built over the past 75 years and to create their own. We receive communion on kneelers needlepointed by parishioners decades ago; we worship at the altar hand-built by our current facilities manager only recently. While the congregation has experienced seasons of joy and seasons of sorrow, our commitment to an honest and heartfelt faith continues to carry our community forward. As we begin the search for our sixth rector, we seek to engage the best of the past, current, and future iterations of Good Shepherd in our shared walk with Christ.