HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Church of the Good Shepherd has been in existence for 100 years, since its inception as a preaching station on a Sunday in November, 1909. The original first six charter members met and worshipped in the homes of interested people, and then a stable on East 235th Street, east of White Plains Road. In 1913, the members used a vacant real estate office on the corner of Richardson Avenue and East 238th Street (now called Nereid Avenue). Today the real estate building is now the Optimum Health Clinic.
Herbert McCallion was the founder of Good Shepherd serving as its first lay reader. Mr. McCallion was succeeded by Harry C. Evans, Herbert Hawkins, Harry Robey, and Francis A. Sanborn.
1915-marked the climax of the beginning period in the Church's history.
The cornerstone of our present building was laid in September 1915. The Reverend James A. Skinner officiated at the first service on December 25, 1915 in the newly completed chapel and the church then became an organized mission.
In 1918, the large Good Shepherd stain glass window was installed in the nave of the church. This was a gift from the Women of the Church. This year, we celebrated having the window for one hundred years. Rev. Joanne made sure we did not forget by having special blessings in front of the window!
In 1922, sixteen Tiffany windows were added while the remaining windows were installed later. The altar is said to have been designed by John Updyke and was a gift from Christ Church, in Riverdale. The pulpit is a memorial to David Graham, the Bishop's chair memorializes the mother of Edwin G. Stern, while the alms basin was given in memory of Margaret Homes. There were many other memorials including a fine Baldwin organ.
There were several accomplishments during the years 1924-1931.
The Reverend Francis A. Sanborn was called as the first rector.
February 8, 1924, Good Shepherd was incorporated and in May, The Church of the Good Shepherd was received by the Convention of the Diocese of New York as a parish. The Church of The Good Shepherd was then fully self-supporting and the first parish meeting was held later that year on December 1, 1924.
The foundation of the rectory was laid along with the basement which has served as the Sunday school room ever since. The nave of the church was also lengthened to its present dimensions in 1924.
Rev. Sanborn served tirelessly for 17 years. First as a lay reader and subsequently as a deacon and finally as a priest. Under his leadership the parish grew to over 250 members. Rev. Sanborn left the Church of The Good Shepherd for Grace Church in 1931, where he finished out his ministry.
After Rev. Sanborn left in 1931, there were replacements in Rev. Chester Alexander Porteus, he served for a year. He was succeeded by Rev. Herbert R. Stevenson who served Good Shepherd for nineteen years (1933 thru 1952). He was also elected as the first Dean of the Bronx Convocation. It was during his tenure the church was able to pay off its building debts. Some of those years were war years (1939-1945 WWII + Korean War 1950-1953). Many young men from the church served in the armed forces during this time. In 1953, Rev. Roger Geffen came to The Church of The Good Shepherd and left in 1959.
Rev. Geffen was followed by Rev. William Maloney IV and his wife. Spiritual growth returned to The Church of The Good Shepherd after twenty years. During Rev. Maloney's tenure, Good Shepherd was linked with another Bronx parish, St. George's. St George's doors closed and many of its congregants joined Good Shepherd. Sadly, Rev. Maloney died tragically in an accident in 1971. Rev. John Bray Chapter then became the next priest for Good Shepherd. Followed by Rev. Carlos Jose Caguiat who was then followed byRev. Richard Ruedger.
During the mid 70s and into the 80s, as neighborhood conditions continued to change, Church of The Good Shepherd experienced probably the worst period of decline in its history. By 1984, there were about 35 registered members. The attendance at that time consisted mostly of the choristers. Good Shepherd could have only afforded a priest for 20 hours per week.
By 1985, a second period of growth was on the horizon. The changes in the neighborhood created an ethnically diverse population in the Northeast Bronx, and this made a major contribution to the growth of The Church of The Good Shepherd.
In 1986, a warm and friendly Rev. Alfred Montalto accepted a call to be the rector of a dying parish, ready to close its doors. In 1986, 91 registered members gave a little over $22,000.00. Under Rev. Montalto's strong leadership, Good Shepherd became the fastest growing parish in the Bronx and in the Diocese. Upon Rev. Montalto's departure, average Sunday attendance was up to 204. He had introduced two celebrations of the mass on Palm Sunday and Easter Day to accommodate the large number of visitors and members. Rev. Montalto served The Church of The Good Shepherd faithfully for over nine years. He resigned January 31, 1997 to accept a call to St. Bartholomew, White Plains, NY.
Rev. Montalto's successor was Rev. Calvin C. McIntyre in 1998 as rector of the Church of The Good Shepherd. Since 1998, with the arrival of the Reverend Canon Calvin C. McIntyre, the church experienced tremendous growth and revitalization. Resulting in increased membership and attendance of over 275 congregants. Rev. McIntyre and his wife Camille had brought a new life to the church with their warm, connection to the neighborhood and their increasing compassion to its members. Additionally, Canon McIntyre had strengthened the connections of the church with the Diocese of New York through his leadership.