In the late 1950’s, the residential development explosion that began at the close of World War II was in full swing in north St. Louis County. Because of the population shift to the suburbs, it became necessary to establish new church homes for the many people moving into the area.
In order to help meet this need, the Board of Missions of the Western District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod extended a call to Pastor Arthur H. Strege to begin the work of organizing a congregation in north St. Louis County. Pastor Strege began his work in the Hazelwood area on July 1, 1958. He was commissioned as Missionary of the Western District in the Hazelwood area in a service held at the Lutheran Church of the Atonement, Florissant, on September 7, 1958.
The fledgling Hazelwood congregation’s first worship service was held on October 5, 1958, with 131 people in attendance. The text for Pastor Strege’s sermon was John 10: 14- 16, “I am the Good Shepherd…” from which the congregation later took its official name. The first worship services and Sunday School were held in the board meeting room of the Hazelwood Village Hall for a year and a half, moving to Russell School auditorium for the next year and a quarter.
Charter Membership Sunday was observed on February 9, 1959. A total of 73 communicants and 61 children were received into membership that day, the congregation’s first communion service. One year after the first church service, on October 4, 1959, Pastor Strege was installed as Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
Work was underway on the first church building with the groundbreaking services held on Sunday, October 18, 1959. The cornerstone was laid on December 6, 1959. The congregation moved into its new building on June 4, 1961, and the dedication of the first unit was held on September 24, 1961. (See pictures below)
Continuing need for educational space led to the design and construction of an educational wing, providing classroom space and overflow for church services. The addition was dedicated on June 12, 1966.
A Weekday School program of religious education for children in Grades 4-8 was begun in September 1972. A Preschool for three year olds was begun in September 1977, and a class for four year olds was added in 1978.
A third unit of the building was dedicated on May 4, 1975. It consisted of offices, two studies, a new narthex and entry, tower, choir practice and meeting room, sacristy, and choir alcove in front of the church. Also included were twelve classrooms and two multipurpose rooms at the rear of the church.
During the summer of 1976, Marcus C. Lohrmann was engaged as a part-time assistant for one year. The need for full-time help with pastoral work led the congregation to call Pastor Lohrmann as Assistant Pastor in 1977, later designated as Associate Pastor.
The congregation withdrew from membership in – The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in 1979, and affiliated with the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches that same year. Good Shepherd joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America upon its establishment in 1988.
In December 1998, the members of Calvary Lutheran Church transferred their membership to Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd upon Calvary’s closure. In addition to the members, Calvary brought many other things with them to Good Shepherd. Some of them include the organ, piano, synthesizer, paraments, chasubles, banners, choir music, communion ware, stained glass wall, chancel tables, tractor and more. The Good Shepherd family was further enhanced when several congregants transferred their memberships to us after the closure of Christ the King Lutheran Church in October 2005.
Pastor Arthur Strege retired after 41 years of faithful service to our congregation in February 1999. We called Pastor David Swan to be our new pastor. He was installed as pastor of our congregation on Sunday, May 23, 1999, and led Good Shepherd into the 21st Century. Pastor Swan retired in 2008. After two interim Pastors, Pastor Linda Daniels-Block was called to take the helm in 2010.
Over these 60+ years, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd has been blessed with lay leaders who have enhanced the congregation’s ministry and fostered the church’s mission through service and worship. Shirley Woods’ talented leadership as organist and Minister of Music since the beginning, helped to shape one of Good Shepherd’s most beautiful ministries
A number of Youth Directors have seen to the continual development of a vibrant and dynamic youth ministry for children of all ages. There have been so many volunteers and lay leaders that have served as officers; board chairs; board members; Sunday School and Bible Class teachers and administrators; Vacation Bible School leaders, teachers, and helpers; choir and hand bell members; youth counselors; members of all the building committees; evaluations committees; and many more. The day-to-day operation of this congregation could not have been carried out without the untiring and dedicated services of our church secretaries.
Following Christ’s example, we look forward to the future, inviting God’s Holy Spirit to lead us through another 50 years and beyond. “Make the trumpet sound throughout your land. And ye shall hallow the 50th year. For it is a Jubilee; it shall be holy to you.” (adapted from Leviticus 25:9-12)
Members of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd have welcomed many into the fold as one family to praise our Lord, spread God’s Word, and make this congregation what it is today living out the mission of: