The Church of the Good Shepherd is located at 1130 Webster Rd. in Webster, NY. The church held its first service in 1949. Services were held in the American Legion Hall on Main St. in the village before moving to the Webster Grange in 1952. In 1953, ground was broken for a new church building on the corner of State Rd. and Webster Rd. where the church is located today.
In 1960, the chapel at St. Andrew’s by the Lake was placed under the care of the Church of the Good Shepherd by Bishop Dudley S. Stark.
Over the years, many changes have taken place within the church including the role of women in the church. These changes were not without controversy. It took several years for the Episcopal Church to define the role of women in the church. In 1965, the Church of the Good Shepherd selected Dorothee Martin to be a vestry member, the first woman in the Diocese of Rochester to be selected as such. The Church of the Good Shepherd was the first parish to have a woman deacon when Merrill Bittner joined the church in 1973; she went on to become one of the first women clergy in the Episcopal Church. Rev. Bittner and ten other women were ordained in Philadelphia in 1974.
Rev. Bittner resigned from the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1975; however, she returned in 1976 to celebrate the Eucharist after her ordination had been regularized in the General Convention of the church in 1976. Jane Richardson was the first female warden at the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1976.
The Church of the Good Shepherd was one of the first to accept the new Book of Common Prayer which was made the official prayer book of the Episcopal Church. This move also caused debate within the church with some members choosing to leave the Episcopal church to form Holy Cross Anglican Church on Bay Rd.
In 1979 the church celebrated the 25th anniversary of the construction of the church building. The celebration included a “Homecoming ‘79” service and dinner. During the Sunday service a special anthem was sung by the combined junior and senior choirs to honor the occasion. More than 100 current and former members attended the special dinner at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Jackson Rd.
In 1984 the church held a mortgage-burning ceremony to celebrate the final payment of the 30-year mortgage on the church building. The Rev. George Anderson, pastor, was assisted by Rudy and Alma Burkhardt, Peter Burkhardt, Doreen and Harry Montgomery, Bess and Barbara Fanning, all of whom had been members of the church for 30 years.
In 1990, Rev. George Anderson retired after 28 years of service to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Rev. Denton Derland was the interim pastor during the 12-month search for a new pastor. In August of 1992, Rev. Lance Robbins assumed the duties of pastor.
1997 saw the beginning of a new ministry at Church of the Good Shepherd. The Stephen Ministry began operation in the Fall of 1997. The Stephen Ministry is a national non-profit organization of lay persons, pastors and staff members who provide a caring ministry in and around their churches. After completing training, volunteers are assigned to a member of the community in need. Volunteers are trained to minister to people who may have experienced hospitalization, loss of a loved one, divorce, childbirth or need someone to listen to their concerns.
In 1999, Rev. Robbins and the congregation began plans for a $1 million expansion to the church. Plans were made to rebuild the sanctuary and add new classrooms, restrooms, and a conference room. The new sanctuary was designed to hold about 300 people with pews in a wrap-around design. The general contractor for the project was Russell LaFrots. A dedication ceremony was held on September 17, 2000 with a reception that followed the service.
During this time it was noted that the church’s Morey pipe organ was no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the congregation. A two-year search was begun to find a new organ. A Moller organ was obtained from Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Atlanta GA. On September 29, 2000 the Church of the Good Shepherd celebrated the new organ with a concert. Organist Jonathan Biggers, a professor at Binghamton University, performed.
During the summer of 2000, members of the church worked with a coalition of 22 Episcopal churches in Rochester to complete Episcopal House 2000 – a Habitat for Humanity home. In 2004 and in 2006 the church joined several other Webster Churches to build two Habitat for Humanity houses. The goal was to provide low-income housing for families who would have a hard time obtaining a home on their own. The church members supported fundraising events for the Habitat homes as well as worked on the homes being built.
A new stained-glass window was installed in honor of Bette Weller, wife of Don Weller after her death in 2004. Don Weller and his daughter Patti worked with Rev Robbins to work on the details of the project. Valerie O’Hara of Rochester Pike Stained Glass
Studio created the window which depicted the three Marys at Jesus’ tomb and is called the Resurrection Window. The angel in the stained glass window is the likeness of Bette Weller, the three Mary’s images resemble her daughter Patti and her two granddaughters Corrina and Brittney.
About 2006, Valerie O’Hara of Rochester Pike Stained Glass Studio again worked with Rev Robbins and the Bastian family on the details of another stained glass window, the Education and Music window. This window was donated in memory of Everett and Evelyn Bastian by their daughters Harriet and Ellen. The window depicts Jesus teaching a crowd and pointing upward. Above an angelic trio is the message “Sing praises to your name”.
On September 25, 2016, the church celebrated the 25 years of service of Rev Lance Robbins to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Rev. Robbins, a well respected and loved pastor, was honored with a two-hour service at the church. Steve Robb composed and conducted a new song for the occasion, “Be the Good Shepherd”. Retired Bishop Jack McKelvey delivered the homily. The service was followed by a reception held at Eagle Vale Country Club with 182 parishioners and friends attended.
A piano was donated to the choir room by Richard and Doris Orbaker in October of 2016. Money from the piano fund covered the cost of the moving the piano and the maintenance and tuning required.
January of 2017 began with a Capital Campaign. One item to be addressed was the need for a new roof on the church building. The campaign was expected to last 3 years.
In June of 2017, parishioner Dr. Steve Robb was ordained as a Deacon at the Church of the Good Shepherd. After the ordination, a reception was held in the Parish Hall.
The Church of the Good Shepherd’s Meal Ministry reaches out to church members and families who are ill or dealing with the loss of a loved one by providing a meal. In addition, the congregation participates in a wide variety of fellowship opportunities.
The Church of the Good Shepherd has been involved with many community outreach programs such as: REACH-Rochester Emergency Action Committee for the Homeless, Back Pack Program in partnership with Immanuel Lutheran Church to help local needy students, RAIHN-Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network to help host homeless families at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Grace House Ministry, A Meal & More, The
Webster Food Cupboard, Sanctuary Village, Crop Walk, Webster Council of Churches, Adopt-A-Classroom (School #9 & School #8), Zion Episcopal Church in Avon NY, Zion House (transitional housing for female vets), Big Brother, Big Sister Programs, Hope Hall, Rochester NY, Sanctuary Village Dinner in Rochester NY in April ‘15, House of Mercy in Rochester NY, Cameron Community Ministries in Rochester NY, Judicial Process Ministries in Rochester NY, Webster Comfort Care Home, Hearts in Motion (Guatemalan Mission), Pines of Peace Hospice Home, Wayne County Rural Ministry, Come Unity Center in Williamson NY and Honor Flight Rochester.
|Rev. John Scobell
|Rev. Bruce E. Hanson
|Rev. George W. Anderson
|Rev Denton Derland [interim]
|Rev. Lance Robbins
- Dunn, Esther, Webster Through the Years, Webster Town Board, Webster, NY 1971, p94-97.
- Webster Church Box, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd file, Webster Historian’s office, Webster Museum, 2017.
- “Episcopal Church in Exile T Meet Here”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, September 17, 1975, p2.
- “Episcopalians Mark 25th Year of Worship at Good Shepherd”, Webster, Herald, Webster, NY, November 7, 1979, p 6A.
- “Good Shepherd welcomes rector”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, August 21, 1991, p 8.
- “Good Shepherd launches Stephen Ministry care”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, September 24, 1997, p 3.
- “Good Shepherd honors secretary of 30 years”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, July 8, 1998, p 10.
- “Good Shepherd plans $1 million expansion”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, May 12, 1999, p5.
- “Good Shepherd celebrates expansion”, Webster Herald, Webster, NY, September 6, 2000, p 2.