Welcome to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
Welcome to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd is the oldest black Episcopal Congregation in the State of Alabama. It was fostered in Trinity Church by the Rector, Dr. A. J. Massey, when freed men and slaves were worshiping for some time in Trinityís gallery. On May 26, 1854, seven Negroes were confirmed in Trinity Church. These were the nuclei for the new congregation.
In the beginning, services were held in the "Love and Charity Hall" (Dearborn and St. Michael Streets). Later, another site was purchased on the southeast corner of Cedar and St. Michael Streets. On this property, the first Church was built. Members of both Trinity and Christ Churches assisted the new mission of Good Shepherd with funds. In 1884, the congregation moved to a new location in the area of the northeast corner of Warren and State Street.
In 1896, the church was served by its first black priest, the Reverend L.N. Thompson. The school was renamed the Duncan Industrial School and a Womenís Auxiliary was organized during his tenure.
In 1908, the Church was incorporated under State laws followed by acceptance as a parish of the Diocese of Alabama during 1913-1914. In 1926, Mr. F.H. Threat was ordained Deacon and then a priest. He was the first black to receive ordination in the Diocese of Alabama..
During the period of 1934 - 1939, the Reverend J.W. Fulford served as Rector. He was instrumental in recruiting a number of parishioners from the old First Congregational Church that was closed. These members came to Good Shepherd and were confirmed. A mission was also established which stood under the leadership on the corner of Dearborn and Savannah Streets. This church was known as the Church without a Priest and was served by Lay readers. During this time, the Church reverted to mission status.
From 1949-1958, under the leadership of the Reverend J.H. Cole, a Parochial School and Day Care Nursery were established and the Church was re-established as a Parish.
From 1958-1961, the Church was ministered by lay readers and visiting ministers of the Mobile Convention.
In 1963, the Church property at Warren and State Streets was sold to the City of Mobile for the expansion of the Dunbar School. Three Groundbreaking Ceremonies were held by the Reverend J.W.B. Thompson, Rector (1961-1969), and Bishop C.J. Carpenter, for the new Church facilities.
From 1969-1979, the Reverend Malcolm H. Prouty served as Rector. He was instrumental with the financial backing of the Women of St. Paulís inner city children at Camp Beckwith. A very active "EYC" group developed during this period.
In 1971, the new Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast was established with Bishop George M. Murray our new Bishop.
In 1973, Mr. Mayer Mitchell and his family conveyed to the Church the two acres of property adjoining that property
already owned by the Church. From the years, 1981-1987, Good Shepherd was served by the Reverend T. Mark
Dunnam. During these years, the Church continued to grow. Perhaps the greatest has been in becoming a viable and visible part in the development of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast under Bishop Charles Duvall. From 1987 until December 1988, Good Shepherd was without a priest until the vestry called Father Calvin R. Griffin as the pastor. Father Griffin was rector until 1994. In 1996, Father Ken Cumbie joined the Good Shepherd family as Pastor and Priest in Charge. During the time, the church was blessed to have the membership of a retired Priest and his wife,
The Reverend Rus and Julie Ford. In 2000, Rev. Cumbie was called to serve at another parish. In 2002, The Reverend Jacquelyn Gilbert Rowe was called as the Rector by the Vestry to lead the church and was installed
by Bishop Phillip Duncan II. Mother Jacquelyn was the eleventh
Rector, the twelfth African American Clergy in Charge and the
first female to serve as Rector. Mother Jacquelyn resign as
Rector due to a health problem in January of 2005 On
September 15, 2008, the Reverend Nancy Threadgill was
called as the Rector by the Vestry to lead the church and was
installed by Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II on Nov. 21, 2008.
Mother Nancy is the twelfth Rector and second female to serve
as Rector. She left to be near her family in November 2014.
On January 24, 2016 The Rev. John C. George joined Good
Shepherd as its 13th Rector. He is a graduate of Virginia
Theological Seminary. He has served as a Transitional Deacon at
Trinity Episcopal in Washington DC. Was the Curate at the
Anglican/Episcopal Cathedral Church of All Saints in the United
States Virgin Islands. A cradle Episcopalian, he was baptized,
confirmed, confirmed, married and ordained to the diaconate and
priesthood at All Saints Cathedral Church. Rev. George was
installed by the Rt. Rev. J Russell Kendrick on April 24, 2016.
In collaboration with his ministry Good Shepherd hopes to revive
the outreach tradition of serving God in our immediate community,
and being a good neighbor. Our present goal is to establish the
"Good Shepherd Center for the Arts."
Ministries of the Church
There are several ministries in the Church of the Good Shepherd in which parishioners can be a part of to increase their Christian Discipleship. The groups range from young members to your more seasoned parishioners but involvement is encouraged for all to participate in some form or fashion. The ministries include:
Acolytes Altar Guild
Cheerio Club Men of the Church
EYC Rectors Guild
Women of the Church Outreach Committee
The Historic Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd is situated on 4.08 beautiful acres of land, With room to dream and make our dreams come true. The church sanctuary is 6,355 square feet and is situated in the round making for a very unique worship experience. There is a rectory also on the property which is 1,920 square feet and is home to our office and meeting rooms