Our History

1951 Historic Photo

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 more than 75 years of faithful memories.

The successful Build the Beloved Community campaign of 2013-2016 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, a 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 its classrooms.

In 2016 the BBC campaign also built a metaphorical bridge across Austin to the Woodland campus, laying the foundation for what would become our second campus. In 2018 Hillside Early Childhood Center would open its doors to those needing full-time, high-quality early childhood education. The genesis of the Hill and Hillside 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 Windsor campus both physically and in spirit.

In 2020 we welcomed the Rev. Channing Smith as our sixth rector. As we emerged from the pandemic, we continued to grow and welcome new members on both campuses. 

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, and in our contemporary service, we worship at an altar hand-built only recently with care by our current facilities manager. 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. 

1951 Historic Photo


1944 The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd (GS) organized.
First worship services prayed.

1945 Parish Hall completed.
First Good Shepherd Episcopal School (GSES) classes held.

1950 Church Building completed.

1955 GSES Building completed.

1979 Baxter Hall completed.

1990s Adjacent Moffett Street properties purchased and incorporated Windsor campus footprint.

2002 Master Plan developed for Windsor campus.

2003 Moffett Street purchased from city and on-campus parking provided.

2004 Underground infrastructure repaired and improved for Plan’s completion.

2005 Current Administration Building and Plan’s first-phase completed.

2011 First-phase debt retired.

2012 Building, Capital Campaign, GSES, Outreach, and Worship Task Forces convened. 

Campaign to Build the Beloved Community Begins.

2013 Second campus at 1700 Woodland Avenue acquired from Diocese.

2014 Redevelopment of Woodland campus completed.

GSES moved to Woodland campus for the 2014-2015 academic year.

2015 Education Center and Parish Life Center completed.

GSES returns to Windsor Campus.
 Renewal and expansion of Church Building begins.

2016 First Sunday of worship prayed at second campus, Good Shepherd on Woodland.

Strategic plan completed for outreach-focused, early-childhood center at Woodland campus.

2018 Hillside Early Childhood Center enrolls first students.

2020 The Rev. Channing Smith welcomed as our sixth rector. First online worship services offered.