history

OUR PAST
Written for the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Good Shepherd (2005)

Twenty-six years ago, Bill and Ann Katibah stood in an open field at the corner of Rea and Swan Run roads and could only imagine with anticipation and excitement at what God had in store for them and for the Presbyterian Church that they had been called to organize. In the late fall of 1979, a group of dedicated church members from 10 sister Presbyterian churches canvassed the neighboring communities and the Katibahs' set out to visit prospective members in their homes. On January 6, 1980 a group of about 115 people gathered in a little white house on Rea Road to worship and have fellowship with one another. There was an immediate sense of unification and purpose among those that were present. A congregational bonding of care and concern for one another was established that has lasted throughout all of these years. In April 1980, Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church was formally established as a Presbyterian congregation with the Rev. Dr. William G. Katibah, Jr. called as pastor and the rest is… HISTORY.

The first challenge for this newly formed congregation was space. In March 1980, with a small investment of around $20,000 and a great amount of hard work by church members of all ages, a metal storage building located on the property was renovated. In June 1980, it was dedicated and named Norton Hall in honor of a faithful supporter, Ran Norton, Moderator of New Church Development and Elder from Sardis Church. The multi-purpose facility was used for worship, Sunday school, and fellowship events. The white house and small garage located on the property continued to be used for additional Sunday school classrooms, Vacation Bible School, and a pastor's study. In 1981, the white house also provided space for a newly formed Child Development Program under the direction of Judy Plough. The Child Development Program continues to thrive today, led by its director, Sharon Bullard.

In 1982, a growth in membership and expansion of church programs and activities led the Good Shepherd congregation to undertake its first building program. A building campaign was established, an interest free loan in the amount of $365,000 was secured from Mecklenburg Presbytery, and construction began. Through the unshaken faith and energy of the congregation, pastor, and church leaders, the main worship facility was dedicated in September 1983.

The new worship facility offered the opportunity for church ministries and programs to move to a new level. The music program was enhanced by the gift of a new organ by Sardis Church and church gifts including hymnbooks, choir robes and handbells. The music ministry today, under the direction of Cathy Youngblood, has grown to be one of the most diversified and vital ministries at GSPC. The blended worship music provides a variety through the use of children's choir, a worship praise team, adult choir, and handbell choirs.

The education ministry expanded with additional classroom space, weekly congregational Bible study, youth ministry and women's bible study groups. In 1986, the congregation purchased the land and house adjacent to the Good Shepherd property for the purpose of strengthening the youth ministry. In 1987, Mark Stanley came to GSPC as the first Youth Ministry intern. Today, under the leadership of Kathy Larson, the youth are actively involved in local mission projects, weekly bible study and fellowship, leadership in worship through music and drama, summer mission trips and a coffeehouse ministry to community youth called Café Café.

In the midst of all the growing ministries and outreach, space again became a challenge. In 1989, a second building program began to construct the education wing and worship expansion area. The beloved white house was sold and moved to another site in order to provide land for the new facility.

As the GSPC congregation continued to grow in ministry and facilities, it also grew in spirit and fellowship. The organization of share groups, congregational socials, Wednesday night suppers, Primetimers older adult group, and church retreats contributed to building close relationships with one another. Men and women's softball teams offered recreation and fellowship with fellow Christians from other congregations. Today the congregation is still marked by its "family feel," love of fellowship, and warm welcome of newcomers.

Over the years the care and concern for others has grown into the community and the world. Good Shepherd has had the opportunity locally to sponsor a refugee family, participate in the Red Cross blood drive, support Loaves and Fishes, Crisis Assistance, Two Cents A Meal, White Gift and many more ministries of compassion. Our global outreach has included several mission projects in Guatemala and Kikuyu (Africa), support of missionaries, youth mission trips, Samaritan's Purse and hurricane relief programs.

In Nov of 2000, Dr. William G. Katibah, Jr. retired as minister after 20 years of faithful service. The Session and congregation and Interim Pastors carried on the ministry of GSPC during the time of transition. The Rev. Robert M. Austell, Jr. accepted a call to Good Shepherd, preached his first sermon on Palm Sunday, March 24, 2002, and was installed as the second pastor of GSPC on April 7, 2002. His leadership has brought new opportunities for growth as a congregation in ministry, mission, worship, and outreach.

It is because the congregation of GSPC set high goals, took steps in faith, and followed the Lord's leading that two building programs have been completed successfully while continuing to enhance the Sessional ministries and providing outreach to the community. As GSPC celebrates its 25th Anniversary, it is a time to reflect upon and give thanks for where we have come from and follow the Lord in faith as He leads and holds our future.

Linda Jenkins
Charter member of Good Shepherd Presbyterian


OUR FUTURE...
By Pastor Robert Austell, 25th Anniversary Celebration, 2005

What is in our future? Only the Lord knows for sure. But we are determined to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, our spirits attuned to the Holy Spirit, our ears and hearts open to God's Word, and our prayers grounded in the humility of "Thy will be done." We trust that the Lord has wonderful plans for us, for blessing and for a future. We sense that the Lord is using us to be the compassionate arm of Christ in our nearby neighborhood and the proclaimers of the Good News to all within range of our voices. We believe that God calls us together for worship and sends us out for evangelism and mission. We desire to be faithful and obedient disciples - followers whose hearts beat in time with God's. We see growth among our young families and 20-somethings, vitality in our older adults, increasing numbers of visitors who are new to the faith and the Church, and a thriving ministry of worship and music. What is in our future? Only the Lord knows for sure - but we are determined to follow Him wherever He leads, with His help and His blessing!