In the beginning there were 17 sheep and one shepherd. On Palm Sunday in 1959, Good Shepherd’s first worship service was held in the auditorium of the Friendswood School. In July 1959 a ground-breaking ceremony was held on a five-acre tract in Galveston County on the outskirts of Friendswood. The Rev. Boesser served as priest-in-charge until 1963 when the Rev. J. Raper was appointed as the church’s vicar.
The Rev. Bill Sterling served Good Shepherd from 1966 to 1989. For the first years, Good Shepherd continued to hold services at Friendswood High School. It was an exciting time - NASA was developing its space program. Many people moving to the area to work for NASA or its contractors found their way to Friendswood and to Good Shepherd. They worked together and prayed together. Our first building, a multi-purpose building designed for worship and community services, was dedicated in June 1969.
Friendswood, originally founded by Quakers, still prohibited dancing. Good Shepherd soon broke with the tradition and held the first high school dances in Friendswood. From the beginning, Good Shepherd had a reputation for offering sanctuary to those seeking it. The church doors were never locked, allowing entry to those who wanted to pray or who needed a place to escape or spend the night. Several people have shared with us that our church was a haven for them when they had nowhere else to go.
In 1980, a new worship space was completed. The Rev. Robert Wareing served Good Shepherd from 1991 to 1999. On Palm Sunday, 1999, we dedicated our parish hall, Sterling Hall, named in honor of former rector Bill Sterling and his wife Evelyn. The Rev. James Nelson served Good Shepherd from 2000 to 2011. We significantly remodeled our worship space and celebrated the grand re-dedication on Pentecost Sunday, 2004.The Rev. Geoffery Gwynne joined us in May of 2012 and served as Rector until September 2019. God continues to bless us. Our average Sunday attendance has almost doubled in the last decade, multiplying our capacity to provide sanctuary in an atmosphere of love, security and support.
This message from Good Shepherd’s 20-year anniversary pamphlet still holds true today: “Good Shepherd has continued to earn praise for the friendliness of its people and its worship environment. It is not a pretentious church. It is an active, worshipping community of people who are dedicated to their church and the Lord’s charge to be a servant to others. A caring church community begins with the leadership of the clergy and extends outward through the entire congregation. This atmosphere of caring appropriately explains the environment at Good Shepherd. People care about one another in a special kind of relationship that is difficult to describe but impossible not to notice and cherish. This pastoral relationship spreads outward to the community.”
This is the DNA of Good Shepherd, our story.