A BRIEF HISTORY OF GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH
The Good Shepherd congregation was officially started in 1962. But the roots of the UCC go directly back to the 1600’s with the coming of the Pilgrims and Puritans who first settled New England and then later to German immigrants migrating to Pennsylvania in the 1700's, and to the middle United States in the 1800's, looking for farm land and to start communities.
In the St. Charles area, the church known as Friedens was started in 1834. This congregation helped start St. John Church in downtown St. Charles in 1868. In 1962, St. John saw a need to help start a church in the expanding western part of St. Charles, and Good Shepherd was born.
At first, we started with 62 charter members and the church met in the Emmaus Home Chapel located on Randolph Street. During those first four years, the church grew from 62 to 162 and St. John purchased the three acres of land that is still our present site on Elm Street.
The first meeting started at Emmaus on April 29, 1962 and the congregation met there until June 26, 1966. Members of the parent church, St. John UCC of St. Charles, were commissioned to begin the new congregation and were "sent as pioneers" on Reformation Sunday, October 28th. The church was formally organized with a constitution and bylaws and with officers on Veteran's Day, November 11th. The following Sunday the congregation, still at the Emmaus Chapel, was welcomed into the newly-formed Missouri Conference of the United Church of Christ (organized also in 1962), as its second new congregation, just a few months after Grace Church was chartered in O'Fallon.
Martha Allrich Kluesner, a charter member and member of the constitution committee, made initial contact with Rev. Paul Stock, asking that he consider a call to be our first pastor. Pastor Stock preached a trial sermon on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, and his first sermon as pastor on January 20, 1963. He served faithfully until he retired in December of 1968.
The first unit, now the fellowship hall, office, kitchen, and classrooms, started building in August 1965 and was finished in July 3, 1966. The name "Good Shepherd" was chosen by ballot from a list of suggestions by congregation members. The ground breaking was held for the first unit on August 15, 1965. It was finished and occupied by July 3, 1966. The dedication service was held July 10, 1966. Pastor Stock guided the congregation through the building process.
By 1971 the church outgrew its building, which is the present Fellowship Hall, and started a fund drive to add a second building that would serve as the sanctuary and additional class rooms. By September 1974, the second unit was completed and the church completed as it stands today. The membership grew to 450. Like many churches, Good Shepherd has had its ups and downs over the years, but each test just made us stronger of spirit.
Since the founding of Good Shepherd, the church has been served by six called pastors and several short-term interims. The Reverend Mauri Peaco is now our pastor and teacher. We are looking forward to several years of redevelopment and increased growth and community outreach. Good Shepherd is a small family-friendly church with a feeling of openness and a welcome for everyone. We invite you to come and become a part of a church that feels like a caring extended family. Come, worship, learn, share, and grow together.