In 2013, Good Shepherd embarked upon a nearly $22 million capital campaign entitled Build the Beloved Community to renovate our worship, community, and educational spaces.
A facilities assessment prior to the campaign had identified an urgent need to address both the deteriorating state of the parish’s buildings and the creation of new spaces that could support a community that had grown significantly in recent years.
The parish has received nearly $19 million to support this expansion of the ministries that we share. You can help by pledging a gift to the campaign so that we can fully fund the $22 million project.
In the discernment period preceding the campaign, parishioners at Good Shepherd repeatedly emphasized a desire to reach beyond themselves in the service of the greater Austin community. Honoring that hope, the leadership of both the parish and Good Shepherd Episcopal School determined that Good Shepherd would commit a tithe of 10% of the BBC campaign’s total cost toward the development of a long-term, ongoing outreach ministry. Our parish acknowledged the difficultly of diversifying the congregation and broadening its impact from its Tarrytown location, and we imagined with hope the possibility of a second location of Good Shepherd nearer to those with needs the parish might effectively serve – perhaps near downtown Austin.
As fundraising began at the Windsor campus, the parish remained mindful of this commitment to service. In November of 2013, the parish negotiated with the Diocese of Texas a transfer of the land at 1700 Woodland Avenue, the former site of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, to
the care of Good Shepherd. The parish covenanted that the site, christened Good Shepherd on the Hill or simply The Hill, would become a permanent Episcopal presence on Woodland Avenue as an “outreach of faith service.”
In its first year, however, the campus would serve as a temporary home for Good Shepherd Episcopal School as the Windsor campus underwent renovation. To ready the site for both the permanent worshipping community at The Hill and for GSES’s temporary home, Good Shepherd invested over $2 million – as promised, 10% of the BBC campaign – into renewing the Woodland campus.
The improvements to the educational space in preparation for GSES’s temporary year would enable a smooth transition for Hillside Early Childhood Center’s opening in 2018. The Hill additionally received a three-year grant from the Great Commission Foundation to support its ministry in its early years. In 2015, the parish installed a founding vicar as head of the worshipping community.
The parish discerned a call to offer high-quality early childhood education at The Hill, recognizing the importance of Kindergarten readiness for success later in school, the disparity in Kindergarten readiness in the neighborhoods surrounding the Woodland and Windsor campuses, and the parish’s history of excellence in providing early childhood education. Hillside opened its doors in May of 2018 and offers a full-day, year-round developmental program for children ages six weeks to four years. The school ended its first year with 30 students – meeting its enrollment goal for the first year. Hillside seeks to provide the southeast Austin area with excellent, whole-child education aimed at expanding opportunities for Kindergarten readiness in the area. As enrollment increases, Hillside plans for a significant number of its students to receive financial assistance to attend the school.
In Tarrytown, construction began in May 2014 and saw the creation of the Parish Life Center (PLC), the Education Center, and the parking garage; and the renovation of the worship building. (Primary worship service moved to the recently completed PLC during this time.) Good Shepherd Episcopal School returned to the Windsor campus in August 2016, and on Christmas Eve 2016, the congregation joyfully returned to the worship building, marking the completion of construction. Today, the congregation at Windsor enjoys facilities supporting many expressions of fellowship, worship and education – facilities that reflect the significant growth of the congregation and that will support its continued growth.
Good Shepherd Episcopal School returned to the Windsor campus in the fall of 2016 to begin classes in the new Education Center. The new purpose-built facilities complement the school’s play-based curriculum and have allowed for continued enhancement of the school’s outstanding program. GSES serves approximately 145 children ages two through Kindergarten in a half-day, play-based program.
Now with roots on both sides of Interstate 35, Good Shepherd is a bridge in its home city. In renewed facilities, the Windsor congregation continues to grow, its size and energy enabling a wide breadth of worship services and formation and fellowship opportunities. The Hill, still young, serves a community often in transition and seeks to remain committed to expressions of Episcopal faith while meeting its neighbors where they are in a spirit of generosity and love. Good Shepherd Episcopal School and Hillside Early Childhood Center represent the best of the Episcopal educational tradition and our hopes to offer that tradition more broadly – preparing children across our city for success in school. We believe that this breadth of ministry is our call.
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