Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
In the late 1950’s, the residential development explosion that began at the close of World War II was in full swing in north St. Louis County. Because of the population shift to the suburbs, it became necessary to establish new church homes for the many people moving into the area.
In order to help meet this need, the Board of Missions of the Western District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod extended a call to Pastor Arthur H. Strege to begin the work of organizing a congregation in north St. Louis County. Pastor Strege began his work in the Hazelwood area on July 1, 1958.
One of the first tasks undertaken was a door-to-door religious survey of the residents living in the area, and following up on all those who indicated that they were Lutherans or had no church affiliation. Pastor Strege was commissioned as Missionary of the Western District in the Hazelwood area in a service held at the Lutheran Church of the Atonement, Florissant, on September 7, 1958.
The fledgling Hazelwood congregation’s first worship service was held on October 5, 1958, with 131 people in attendance. The text for Pastor Strege’s sermon was John 10: 14- 16, ‘I am the Good Shepherd,’ from which the congregation later took its official name. The first worship services and Sunday School were held in the board meeting room of the Hazelwood Village Hall. Other meetings and activities were held in the basement of the parsonage. Hazelwood Village Hall was used for services and Sunday School for a year and a half; Russell School auditorium was used after that for a year and a quarter.
Charter Membership Sunday was observed on February 9, 1959. A total of 73 communicants and 61 children were received into membership that day, the congregation’s first communion service. One year after the first church service, on October 4, 1959, Pastor Strege was installed as Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. Work was underway on the first church building with the groundbreaking services held on Sunday, October 18, 1959. The cornerstone was laid on December 6, 1959.
The congregation was able to move into its new building on June 4, 1961, and the dedication of the first unit was held on September 24, 1961. Continuing need for educational space led to the design and construction of an educational wing to provide classroom space and overflow for church services on the first floor and classroom space on the ground floor. The addition was dedicated on June 12, 1966.
In the spring of 1967, Good Shepherd called Mr. James Glander to be Teacher for Good Shepherd at Atonement School and to serve as Youth Counselor. In 1977, his title was changed to Director of Christian Education. He continued to serve the congregation until 1980, when Mr. James Luedtke was called as Teacher for Good Shepherd at Atonement School in the fall of 1980.
A Weekday School program of religious education for children in Grades 4-8 was begun in September 1972. A Preschool for three year olds was begun in September 1977, and a class for four year olds was added in 1978. The need for additional assistance for the pastoral work in the congregation led to the engaging of a vicar. In 1973, Andrew C. (Jack) Diehl began his year of vicarage at Good Shepherd. He was followed by Vicar Kenneth Hintz in 1974 and by Vicar Donald Hinkel in 1975. A third unit of the building was dedicated on May 4, 1975. It consisted of offices, two studies, a new narthex and entry, tower, choir practice and meeting room, sacristy, and choir alcove in front of the church. Also included were twelve classrooms and two multipurpose rooms at the rear of the church.
During the summer of 1976, Marcus C. Lohrmann was engaged as a part-time assistant for one year. The need for full-time help with pastoral work led the congregation to call Pastor Lohrmann as Assistant Pastor in 1977. He was later designated as Associate Pastor. The congregation withdrew from membership in – The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in 1979, and affiliated with the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches that same year. Good Shepherd joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America upon its establishment in 1988.
In 1989, Pastor Lohrmann accepted a call to Hicksville, Ohio. In 1990 Good Shepherd called Pastor Paul E. Judson, who was installed as Associate Pastor on September 9, 1990. In June 1997, he accepted a call to Wayne, Nebraska.
In December 1998, the members of Calvary Lutheran Church transferred their membership to LCGS upon Calvary’s closure. Pastor Arthur Strege retired after 41 years of faithful service to our congregation in February 1999. We called Pastor David Swan to be our new pastor, and he was installed as pastor of our congregation on Sunday, May 23, 1999. The Good Shepherd family was further enhanced when several congregants transferred their memberships to us after the closure of Christ the King Lutheran Church in October 2005.
Over these 50+ years, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd has been blessed with lay leaders who have enhanced the congregation’s ministry and fostered the church’s mission through service and worship. Shirley Woods’ talented leadership as organist and music director since the beginning, volunteer and paid, has helped to shape one of Good Shepherd’s most beautiful ministries. She followed in the footsteps of our first paid organist, Lindy Miller. We must also thank the women who have assisted Shirley with our music program through the years, Carol Ruppar, Kathy Carter and Lynda Christian. Melanie Robison’s 7 years as Director of Youth Ministry and Barb Collins’ 3 years as Asst. Director have seen the continued development of a vibrant and dynamic youth ministry for children of all ages. There have been so many volunteers and lay leaders that have served as officers; board chairs; board members; Sunday School and Bible Class teachers and administrators; Vacation Bible School leaders, teachers, and helpers; choir & hand bell members; youth counselors; members of all the building committees; evaluations committees; and many more. The day-to-day operation of this congregation could not have been carried out without the untiring and dedicated services of our church secretaries: Rose Mary Tempe, Michele Pattison, Diana Masters, Deb Murrish, Mary Unverferth, and Angie Kemper. As of August 2008, the present membership stands at 735 baptized members. Following Christ’s example we look forward to the future, inviting God’s Holy Spirit to lead us through another 50 years and beyond. “Make the trumpet sound throughout your land. And ye shall hallow the 50th year. For it is a Jubilee; it shall be holy to you.” Leviticus 25:9-10, 12
In December, 1998, 57 members of Calvary Lutheran Church, Florissant were accepted by transfer to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Hazelwood. This came about because of the closing of Calvary’s congregation due to decreasing membership. In it’s last 10 years, the congregation underwent a lot of changes. In 1989, the church and grounds were sold to a developer to build a Wal-Mart and strip center and in turn the congregation built a new building about a mile away. The new building was dedicated in April, 1991 after worshipping at Florissant Valley Community College for almost two years. Within the last few years, a new pastor was called, Pastor Terry Graunke who was with the church until it’s closing. Calvary held its closing service on January 3, 1999 (in the snow & ice!) with the members of Good Shepherd’s choir joining Calvary’s choir as a big part of the service.
In addition to the members, Calvary brought many other things with them to Good Shepherd. Some of them include the organ, piano, synthesizer, paraments, chasubles, banners, choir music, communion ware, stained glass wall, chancel tables, tractor and many other things. Also, coming with the members was a check from Calvary’s memorial fund, a check from part of the sale proceeds of the church building and a check for the youth of North County Churches. The memorial fund money was used to help defray the cost of installing the organ. The check from the sale proceeds was used to complete installation of new windows, install the garage, install sound system and lighting controls and replace wooden exterior doors. The check for the North County youth was used to set up a North County Youth Ministry fund.
Members of Calvary and Good Shepherd have joined as one family to praise our Lord, spread God’s Word and make this congregation what it is today!
PRAISE BE TO GOD!