History & Grounds
"I instantly felt God's presence and a sense of serenity."
At Good Shepherd, we believe that God's love is made manifest throughout all of creation, but especially in the beauty of nature. Our church's surroundings are part of our ministry to the neighborhood and the entire Asheboro community, offering a quiet place of retreat and solace away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Anyone is welcome to come by any time of day for a peaceful walk across the bridge, to sit by the creek and listen to the birds, to pray and meditate at our outdoor chapel, or to spend some quiet time with Jesus in our columbarium courtyard. Our grounds are always open!
In March 1935, a small group of citizens from Asheboro came together to form the first (and still the only) Episcopal congregation in Randolph County. There was no church building in the first two years, and the group met and worshipped at Pugh Funeral Home. The annual church operating budget was $300, which included the monthly salary for the priest, which was $16.50.
Shortly after their initial meeting, a land developer named Henry P. Corwith offered to donate a lot that was located in a new land development known as Dogwood Acres. By August of 1935, the deed was finalized and the group began fundraising efforts for a new church building. It was the midst of the Great Depression, and by April of 1937 the church had only raised $600, still needing $1400 more. Nevertheless, the congregation decided to move forward in faith.
It was deemed that the church should be modeled after a "solid English Mediaeval structure." The bishop at that time, The Right Rev. Edwin A. Pennick, offered his opinion that, "A building should be exactly what it appears to be - not of cinder block, but an honest material such as stone or brick." The stonework demanded the expertise of master masons. Mr. Clyde Wood quarried the chapel stone on the farm of Frank and Charles McCrary. S.E. Trogdon was hired to build the structure, and it was completed a year later.
"If a person cannot find God in such a beautiful setting,
I doubt if he can find God anywhere."
-The Rt. Rev. Edwin A. Pennick, 6th Bishop of North Carolina
A large crowd was present in 1937 for the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone. One woman was overhead asking why anyone would want to build a church way out here "in the middle of nowhere." The Bishop responded that "if a person cannot find God in such a beautiful setting, I doubt that he can find God anywhere."
Services began as soon as the roof was put on. Simple boards supported by nail kegs were the first pews, and the altar and pulpit were piles of stone that would later go into the walls of the building. There was initially no furnace to heat the building, as this was considered an extravagance by the vestry of the day. However, the Episcopal Church Women raised money by operating a thrift shop out of the furnace room at the Standard Drug store in downtown Asheboro, and they were able to purchase a furnace to heat the church in just nine months.
Good Shepherd was fortunate to receive a generous loan of items from the Church of the Ascension in China Grove, NC including the altar, baptismal font, pulpit Bible, and pews that still furnish the chapel.
The Parish Hall was added in 1951 to provide the church with a kitchen, gathering space, and meeting rooms, but by 1971, the congregation had outgrown the original chapel. And so, construction began on a new sanctuary and education building. The new nave could seat approximately 300 people. Col. Croft once again provided the design, and S.E. Trogdon was hired to complete the construction.
Stained glass windows were later added to both sides of the room, and a beautiful rose window was installed at the rear of the church, given by J.B. Davis in honor of his wife, Claire. The needlepoint kneeler cushions at the altar rail were donated by the women of the ECW and their friends, and many of the other appointments on the church were also presented as memorials.
Dominating the space is the Christus Rex, an almost life-sized figure of Jesus depicted as "Christ the King" suspended on the cross above the altar. The cross was presented to the church as a memorial to Laura Parker Lisk who died in childhood, by her parents Jane Isely Lisk and Tyler Lisk. Hand-carved in Switzerland, it represents the resurrected and ascended Jesus, with the symbols of the four Evangelists marking the four extremities of the cross.
We are currently in need of financial support to help with some major renovations and updates to our building and grounds. We want to ensure that this beautiful and holy space will remain intact for many years to come! If you would like to make a donation towards this effort, please visit our Giving page.
You can also find information about our Memorial Endowment Fund on our Giving page.
For information about our columbarium, please email our Parish Administrator or call 336-625-5234.