The building of the Church of the Good Shepherd was begun at a time of neighborhood growth, when social ministry and the quality of life for young people were big concerns. The overall plan included a gymnasium, recreational facilities, and a social gathering hall. The church was conceived to be a place for Christian fellowship and community service seven days a week; where work, play, and worship could exist side by side.
The present location of the church – on the corner bounded by Park, Stockton, and Forbes streets – is the third site in the church’s history. The lot was purchased in 1916; plans were made to build the complex in three units. In 1918, the first unit, the gymnasium, was completed and used as a temporary worship site until the completion of the second unit, the Parish House, now called Worsham Hall. Before the third unit – the Sanctuary itself – was begun, the indoor swimming pool was added as a gift to the community.
In planning the focal point of the complex, the guiding principle was to use nothing but the best. The building was designed by world-renowned Gothisist J.W.C. Corbusier of Cleveland, Ohio, working with local architect Mellen C. Greely. The wood carving was done by Alois Lang of Oberannergau, Germany. The stonework is hand-carved limestone. The floor tiles were handmade from wax impressions of tiles in the British Museum, London, England. And the windows, which were completed during the 1950’s, were designed by Per Bergethon and crafted in the George L. Payne Studios of Patterson, New Jersey, using only imported, hand-blown glass from England, Belgium, Holland, and France.
The first worship service celebrated in the Sanctuary was on Easter Sunday, 1929. Since then, additions – such as the courtyard cloister and the day school annex – and repurposings – such as the gymnasium’s transformation to a social hall – have augmented the use of the complex in the many roles it plays within the congregation and the community. Historically, culturally, socially, artistically, and spiritually, Good Shepherd was and remains a central feature of the Riverside area.
Today, Good Shepherd is home to a diverse, fascinating, and inspirational array of people and events.
WORSHIP SERVICES Good Shepherd offers worship services through the Episcopal tradition and liturgy. With its magnificent Skinner organ and the acoustical excellence derived from its soaring Gothic architecture, plus an outstanding choral program, the Sunday 10 o’clock service follows the mandate of the Biblical Psalms to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” A small chapel area also provides an intimate setting for smaller, simpler services.
SWIMMING POOL Open year-round, the temperature-controlled indoor pool offers lap-swimming, community classes, multi-level instruction for all ages, water aerobics, and more. The pool is available for private parties and community outreach purposes. Memberships are available. The pool is recognized as a Silver Sneakers provider.
FACILITIES FOR SPECIAL EVENTS The social halls, kitchen, and courtyard offer several rental choices for private and organization-sponsored events.
HOME TO MANY COMMUNITY SERVICES Riverside Fine Arts Association offices and concerts, Young Life offices, Episcopal Children’s Services day care and school for pre-schoolers, Children’s Enrichment Workshops classes – these are among the programs that can be found within Good Shepherd’s complex.
As a Riverside institution for over a century, Good Shepherd cherishes the community it calls home and is called to serve. We invite you to consider Good Shepherd when assessing your needs for work, play, and worship. The doors and the altar at Good Shepherd are open to all.