Our History

The Church of the Good Shepherd was formed as the first free Episcopal Church in Raleigh in 1874.

Prior to that date Christ Church was the only general house of worship in Raleigh of the Episcopal communion, and that parish then labored under the disadvantage of the pews being owned by the various families composing its congregation.

The Reverend Edward Rich wrote, "The population of Raleigh having increased rapidly, and the City itself growing in commercial importance, it was deemed wise and expedient to establish a new congregation of the Protestant Episcopal Church." After one consultation with the Bishop of the Diocese who most cordially approved of the movement, a committee called upon the Rev. R. S. Mason, D.D., Rector of Christ Church Parish on the evening of Dec. 19, 1873, who gave his consent in writing to the "Formation of a new congregation in the City of Raleigh."

The Rev. Edward R. RichThe Rev. Edward R. RichIn January of 1874, the Reverend Edward R. Rich of St. Paul's Church, Clinton, was called as rector of the new church. He conducted the first service in Tucker Hall, February of 1874, assisted by the Rt. Rev. T. B. Lyman D. D.

Formal organization was Feb. 25, 1874. The 31 original members elected a vestry and formed a building committee. In the spring, a site at the corner of Hillsborough and McDowell Streets was purchased and construction was begun. The new parish was admitted to tile Diocese at the annual convention held in Wilmington on May 21, 1874.

Services were often held in the Hall of the House of Representatives of the Capitol while the church, a frame structure, was being built.

On Thursday, September 24, 1874, ground was broken for The Church of the Good Shepherd and on Easter Day, March 28th, 1875, the congregation held its first service.

The Rev. Isaac McKendree Pittenger, D. D.The Rev. Isaac McKendree Pittenger, D. D.The original frame wood church was moved to its present location from the corner of Hillsborough and McDowell in order to provide proper space for the present building. In 1896, the Reverend Isaac McKendree Pittenger, D. D., fourth rector of the church, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. While there, he close a block of marble quarried near Jerusalem and shipped it home as the cornerstone for a new and larger Church building. It was laid in October of 1899, but the building was not completed until 1914. The original church then became the Parish House and was used for that purpose until 1954 when the existing Parish House building was completed. While the construction on the existing church structure was completed in 1914, the construction of the stained glass windows took place over the next 60 years.

The Altar, depicting the Last Supper, and wainscoting and the paving are made from Italian marble and are typical of churches in Northern Italy. It is said that the work was done in Italy and the masons came from there to install it.

In 1913, Dr. Pittenger submitted the revised plans for the large stained glass windows. This was adopted by the vestry and is as seen today.