A BRIEF HISTORY
In July, 1875, it is recorded an Episcopal Sunday School met at the Ohio University Chapel. Shortly thereafter the Episcopal Mite Society was organized, and the Rev. Mr. Haskins of Brooklyn, New York, preached at a 10:30 a.m. service at the same college chapel, presumably the first Episcopal service held in Athens. That year, 1875, also marked the beginning of the Diocese of Southern Ohio under the Episcopate of Bishop Augustus Jaggar. Regular services were held at different intervals until 1881, and then suspended until after the turn of the century.
On April 16, 1907, the Hocking Valley Mission was formed. Athens at that time was the smallest of three small metropolitan centers in the Hocking Valley; the others being Logan and Nelsonville. The Episcopal mission, along with Good Shepherd, included St. Paul's Logan; Epiphany, Nelsonville; Trinity, McArthur; and St. David's, Jackson (now defunct). The worshipping Episcopal community in Wellston elected to join with the mission in Jackson since it seemed to have more of a future than the Athens Church.
For the following fifty years Good Shepherd mission was served by priests-in-charge, some staying for brief periods of a year or two, others for longer spans of time. Eleven different clergy (men) were responsible for the spiritual leadership of the mission until it assumed parish status in 1958.
After meeting in various locales such as the Presbyterian Church; the basement of Carnegie Hall, now the School of Journalism; and the Ohio University Fine Arts Building, later known as "Music Hall," the first church building was constructed at East State and Carpenter Streets (subsequently the Kenney Wesleyan Church for many years, now Prokos rental apartments). Purchase of the land, at a cost of $2000, was made on June 5, 1913, but the cornerstone was not placed until four years later on May 27, 1917. The church was officially dedicated in October, 1920, by Bishops Vincent and Reese. The Athens Messenger reported "the church was beautifully decorated with colorful fall flowers for the occasion, and a quartet closed the service with an appropriate vocal selection." Good Shepherd was said to be "one of the finest small structures in the city."
In the early 1950s with the support of Bishop Henry Hobson and the assistance of a diocesan-wide college building fund, money was raised to relocate the church and construct the present building on University Terrace in order to develop a parish-based ministry. Bishop Hobson laid the cornerstone of the "new church" on November 2, 1952, and six years later Good Shepherd was admitted as a parish into union with the Diocese of Southern Ohio. The Rev. Phil Porter thus became the first rector that year. Other rectors who have served the church since then include The Rev. William Black, VII Bishop of Southern Ohio, who had tenure from 1962 to 1973; The Rev. E. F. Michael Morgan, who served from 1979 to 2002; The Rev. R. William Carroll, who served from 2006 to 2012, and The Rev. Wesley Hills, who served as Priest-in-Charge from 2012 to 2013. In January 2015, The Rev. Deborah Woolsey was called as Priest-in-Charge and from 2018 has served as Rector. Please see tables below for complete listings.
In recent years, we have claimed our identity as a Christian community rooted and grounded in the Holy Eucharist and Common Prayer. Good Shepherd has also fostered many vocations to the ordained ministry. Two deacons and several seminarians have been sponsored by the parish within the past decade, including A. J. Stack, who was ordained as a transitional deacon this year. In addition, several curates, assistants, and associated clergy have been thoroughly integrated into the on-going life of the parish.
Today, we offer an excellent music ministry, we represent a spiritual presence on the Ohio University campus, and we fulfill important community outreach, especially in feeding the hungry. Campus ministry has been a long commitment, with the Music Program the most consistent over the years, and a broader commitment reached a high point in collaboration with the Good Earth Farm (2006 - 2014). Upon the arrival of the Rev. Deborah Woolsey we are renewing our strong commitment to campus ministry with several initiatives such as the CrossRoads Café.
As we continue our journey into the second century of God’s mission for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, much is changing; however, the Good News has not. Building on the faithful ministry of generations who have gone before, let us pray for the grace to move forward in mission. May we put our trust in God and be filled with hope and love.
|For more reading: Please consult the following two books, the latter in particular. These can be found in the Church's library collection, or found in the University's Alden Library.
- Peckham, Harry Houston: The Good Shepherd, Athens, Ohio : first half century, 1907- 1957 (Athens, Ohio: Church of the Good Shepherd, 1959)
- Robert L. Daniel & Harry H. Peckham: The Good Shepherd of Athens, 1907-1987 (Athens, Ohio: The Church of the Good Shepherd, c1987)
CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD MILESTONES
First Prayerbook Service - July 1875
Established April 16, 1907,
as the Hocking Valley Mission Parish:
Diocese of Southern Ohio - 1958
Parish building constructed in 1952
View historic documents of ceremonies
Member: Hocking Valley Deanery - January, 1992
PRAYERBOOK SERVICES IN ATHENS
|The Rev. Mr. Haskins
The Rev. J. N. Lee
The Rev. Charles D. Barbour
The Rev. Mr. Rambo
|PRIESTS IN CHARGE|
(Hocking Valley Mission until 1958)
|The Rev. Alfred W. Buckland
The Rev. Alfred J. Wilder
The Rev. Willard D. Stires
The Rev. C. B. Plummer
The Rev. Arthur H. Marshall
The Rev. Brinley Abbott
The Rev. E. B. Pielow
The Rev. Lloyd Willis Clarke
The Rev. Robert G. Purrington
The Rev. Sydney G. Browne (photo)
The Rev. Phil Porter, Jr. (photo)
The Rev. Michael Jupin, Interim (photo)
The Rev. Wesley Hills (photo)
The Rev. Deborah Woolsey (photo)
|The Rev. Phil Porter, Jr. (photo)
The Rev. Pitt Sawyer Willand (photo)
The Rev. William Grant Black (photo)
The Rev. Phillip Edward McNairy (photo)
The Rev. E. F. Michael Morgan (photo)
The Rev. R. William Carroll (photo)
The Rev. Deborah Woolsey (photo)
|The Rev. Rollin Polk
The Rev. Fredrick Wells
The Rev. Roma Alvah King, Jr. (photo)
The Rev. Edward Archer Daugherty
The Rev. Robert Hughes (photo)
The Rev. Arthur L. Savage, Jr. (photo)
The Rev. Felix Obayan
The Rev. Canon John Ogundimite (photo)
The Rev. Katharin L. Foster (photo)
The Rev. David A. duPlantier (photo)
The Rev. Steve Domienik (photo)
The Rev. David McCoy (photo)