calendar August 19, 2019 in Communications, Faith in action

Holy Closure of Good Shepherd, Mayfair on Aug. 25

Remembering in prayer the saints at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Mayfair.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, a congregation in the NE/nW Philadelphia Conference, will hold their final worship service on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 3 pm with Bishop Davenport presiding.

Rostered leaders and members of the SEPA Synod are welcome to attend the final service at Good Shepherd, Mayfair as we celebrate the life, witness and service of this congregation to the Northeast Philadelphia community since 1928. Rostered leaders not participating in worship leadership are invited to sit in the congregation.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is located at 7234 Erdrick St, Philadelphia, PA 19135 (click for map and directions).


History of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Mayfair

Main entrance at Cottman Avenue.

Main entrance at Cottman Avenue.

The territory of Tacony, Mayfair, and Holmesburg was canvassed by theological students of the Lutheran Theological Seminary under the direction of the Rev. A. C. Schenck, superintendent of the Board of Home Missions of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, during the months of March and April 1928. After requests to the Board of Home Missions by several Lutheran families who later became charter members of the congregation, the first meeting of interested persons was held at the home of Mrs. Frank Senseman, 3549 Tudor Street, on August 3, 1928, for the purpose of organizing a mission congregation. The meeting was presided over by the Rev. A. C. Schenck. A committee, consisting of Mr. Hugh E. McCurdy, Mr. Charles Dreher, and Mr. Christian Goll was appointed to locate a suitable meeting place and this committee secured the present temporary location in the store front at Tyson and Walker Streets. There the first service was held on Sunday, September 16, 1928. There were thirty-two people present at the first service. After service and sermon by the Rev. Mr. Schenck, a meeting was held at which it was decided to start a Sunday School on the following Sunday, September 23, at 2 :30 P. M.

The congregation found permanent organization on November 22, 1928, with the adoption of a constitution.

On December 6, 1928 the first meeting of the newly formed church council was held according to the handwritten records of the new secretary, Christian W. Goll. The Reverend Archibald C. Schenck, mission developer, conducted the meeting as President. Other officers were: Vice President, C. Harry Latham, Financial Secretary, Nelson A. Peters, and Treasurer, Hugh E. Mccurdy.

The first Every Member Visitation was held on January 20, 1929.

[ Download this article as a PDF: History of Good Shepherd, Mayfair ]

The membership of the congregation stood at 103 when council designated that on March 31, 1929 the charter membership should be closed. Regular Services, a Sunday School, Men’s and Women’s and Youth Organizations were conducted under the guidance of Pastor A.C. Schenck.

The mission was formally admitted to the Ministerium of Pennsylvania at its convention in June 1929. The congregation was granted a charter of incorporation under the laws of Pennsylvania on June 24, 1929. The services were conducted by Superintendent Schenck and various supply preachers and seminary students until the summer of 1929 when the Rev. William E. Eisenberg served as stated supply.

At the annual meeting January 14, 1930, the Rev. C. Lippard, D.D., was called to become the first regular pastor and the call was accepted to become effective February 1, 1930.

On August 12, 1930, settlement was made for the purchase of a lot 120 x 150 feet at the S. W. corner of Cottman and Erdrick Streets, and plans looking forward to the erection of a church building were laid.

Receiving a call to return to his beloved mission work in Japan, the Rev. C. K. Lippard resigned his ministry at Good Shepherd on June 30, 1932, after serving faithfully and fruitfully, leaving behind him many friends.

The Rev. John W. Doberstein, was called to become pastor on August 1, 1932, and on September 18 was formally installed by the Rev. H. Offerman, professor of the New Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, acting for the president of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania. In that year the Parish numbered 200.

On July 1, 1934 ground was broken on Cottman Avenue for the white frame Church building.

Pastor Doberstein guided the Good Shepherd Family of God until February of 1938 by which time the membership had grown to about 400.

During the next 11 years The Rev. C.H. Moyer shepherded the Parish and by 1949 over 1,000 confirmed members were witnessing to God’s faithfulness and love. During these years the Sunday School was greatly expanded.

This membership growth forced the decision to expand the physical facilities and the present Parish House was erected and dedicated in time for the 20th Anniversary of the Congregation in 1948.
In 1949 the Rev. G.M. Ruoss assumed the role of Pastor for Good Shepherd Church. Under his leadership the Sunday School work continued to expand with the result that a second Sunday School was sponsored in Academy Gardens. This evangelical venture resulted in the present Parish of St. David’s Lutheran Church standing on the corners of Academy Rd. and Linden Ave.

With the economic crisis of the 30’s and the tragic years of World War II past, the Congregation with vision, courage and dedicated lay leaders, faced the needs of a now established Mayfair Community. Guided by The Rev. T.L. Fischer who came to Good Shepherd in 1952, an inspiring, new sanctuary was dedicated to God’s service and glory on September 8, 1957 thereby completing the present complex of Church facilities.

With the building needs attended to, another major step forward was undertaken in the calling of the Rev. R. D. Stephens as the Congregation’s Assistant Pastor in 1960. With two pastors the Church continued to grow in numbers and God’s grace. The ministries of Christian Education and Youth were especially intensified.

Good Shepherd, Mayfair.

Good Shepherd, Mayfair.

In 1963, upon the call of Pastor Fischer to an executive responsibility in the Synod, Pastor Stephens was elected to be the Senior Pastor and within a few months The Rev. Dr. I.S. Fritz became the Parish Assistant. Thus the extension of the Pastoral ministry continued to benefit the many needs of God’s Family in the Good Shepherd Parish.

During the Fall and Spring of 1968 – 69 Seminarian Albert Douglass, a son of the Congregation, also assisted in the Parish ministry specifically with the Youth. He also prepared himself for the ministry by choosing from the Congregation Miss Carol McClay to be his wife. “Al” in 1971 entered the full time ministry of the Lutheran Church in America as did two other sons of the Congregation in prior years – The Rev. K.H. Smith in 1962 and the Rev. E.C. Schmidt in 1966.

Family illness finally necessitated that Pastor Fritz give up his pastoral duties in 1969 and later that year The Rev. D. F. Atcheson answered the Congregation’s call for an Associate Pastor.

After three years of creative ministry together in response to the challenges of a changing community, Pastor Stephens responded to a call from Christ Lutheran Church. January of 1973 brought Pastor Atcheson into a new relationship with the Parish as the Senior Pastor and later in the year The Rev. J.A. Hulihan joined him as Assistant Pastor.

Pastor Hulihan chose a wife from the Congregation, Miss Linda Auman, and they celebrated their wedding vows on May 10, 1975. Pastor Hulihan accepted a call to be Pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Chester Springs, Pa. and began his ministry there during February of 1977. A first in the Congregation’s life was providing an educational ministry training for Mrs. Jeanette Rapp-Smith, a student at Mt. Airy Seminary, Philadelphia. As Vicar-intern she was a vibrant channel of God’s grace to the Congregation, especially in her ministry of music with the youth choirs. She assisted Pastor Atcheson from the mid-summer of 1977 through the mid-summer of 1978. Pastor Lester W. Stoneback, retired mission developer and pastor of St. David’s Church, aforementioned, assumed the duties of Parish Visitor in June of this Anniversary year. Mrs. Edith Roberts, senior seminarian and Robert Bolz, middler seminarian from Mt. Airy Seminary assisted Pastor Atcheson in the Congregation’s ministry in the fall of 1978 and the spring months of 1979.

In recent years congregational records were damaged, due to a pipe breaking in the school’s ceiling, which has made it difficult to provide detail information after 1979.

The congregational is grateful to the following pastors who served Good Shepherd – Mayfair between 1979 and 2008: the Rev. Dr. Clair Hoifjeld, the Rev. Hess, the Rev. Jesse W. Brown. Jr. the Rev. Margaret Holden, the Rev. Robert R. Kilby, II, and the Rev. David Knodel.

An aerial view of Good Shepherd, Mayfair, in it's neighborhood at Cottman and Erdrick streets (Google Maps).

An aerial view of Good Shepherd, Mayfair, in it’s neighborhood at Cottman and Erdrick streets (Google Maps).

The congregation’s rich history to youth and families led the saints at Good Shepherd to develop a week day educational program to the Mayfair community. A preschool and kindergarten program in recent years served families of the community by providing a quality weekday program. A Coffee House ministry provided a monthly fellowship that brought in Praise Bands and welcomed members of the community.

A seniors ministry provided opportunities for outreach and fellowship were lasting friendships have been nurtured.

The Rev. Dwight Mason was called to Good Shepherd on September 1, 2008 and installed as the pastor on November 1, 2009. The congregation is grateful to Pastor Mason for his faithful leadership and pastoral care in this final season of congregational life.