The History of The Church of the Good Shepherd
The First Free Episcopal Church in Raleigh
The Church of the Good Shepherd was formed as the first free Episcopal Church in Raleigh in 1874. Until then, the only general house of worship in Raleigh for Episcopalians was Christ Church, where pews were owned by the various families composing its congregation. At Good Shepherd, all pews were open to whomever wished to sit in them. For its time, this was an act of radical hospitality in the Episcopal Church, and firmly established Good Shepherd as an inclusive community of faith: a reputation we strive to uphold still to this day in all its expansive truth.
Our First Rector and Our First Church Building
In January of 1874, the Rev. Edward R. Rich was called as rector of the newly formed church. He conducted the first service in February of 1874, assisted by the Rt. Rev. T. B. Lyman D. D.
By spring, a site at the corner of Hillsborough and McDowell streets was purchased and construction of the church began on Sept. 24, 1874. Services were often held in the Hall of the House of Representatives of the Capitol while the church was being built.
On Easter Day, March 28, 1875, the congregation held its first service in the church's present location. The new parish was admitted to the Diocese at the annual convention held in Wilmington on May 21, 1874.
Our Current Church Building Is Constructed
In 1896, the Rev. Isaac McKendree Pittenger, D. D., fourth rector of the church, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. While there, he chose a block of marble quarried near Jerusalem and shipped it home as the cornerstone for a new and larger church building.
The cornerstone was laid in October 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 a new 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.