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This is a brief history of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
There are many details and events not included in this brief but significant history,
but know that the people of Good Shepherd are willing to share their story
with everyone who visits or asks.
The story may be long, however, all the events are Spirit-filled
with wonderful people who love the Lord.
We hope you are filled with the same Spirit
as you read the brief record of the history and ministry
of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
In May of 1945, 24 persons started meeting for bible study in Whittier School, Royal Oak under the leadership of Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Milarch of Truth Lutheran Church, Detroit.
In 1946 the Michigan District Mission committee of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) sought a loan from the ALC to purchase 320 feet of frontage on North Campbell Rd., the present location of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and in the Spring of 1947 Good Shepherd was organized and a call extended to Pastor Robert Wietelmann. He was installed as Good Shepherd's first pastor.
November 2, 1947 was Good Shepherd's charter worship with 40 members present with the name "Good Shepherd" being submitted as the churches name and the ministry of Good Shepherd was on its way.
In 1949 building plans were approved and ground
was broken in May 1950 on a first unit church building with construction starting in June with a construction crew of "Mission Builders" - six Lutheran men who dedicate their time to helping congregations build church buildings.
By 1952 the congregation had grown to 180 people with 2 worship services and 2 Sunday School session weekly and another addition in the planning stages. In addition to the growth, a parish assistant was hired and the congregation's first intern, Mr. Eldor Panning arrived in 1958. A second intern, Mr. Jack McCollister arived the following year.
Pr. Wietelmann left Good Shepherd in 1961 after serving 14 years, to become an assistant to the president of the Michigan District ALC, serving in that capacity until he was elected president of the district in 1967.
Since that time the congregation saw
significant growth and the calling of
Pr. Roland Troike... 1960-1966
Pr. Donald Little Associate... 1962-1966
Pr. Donald Kearns... 1967-1975
Pr. Donald Blake Associate... 1967-1972
Pr. Timoth Keeler Associate... 1975-1980
Pr. Walter Schmidt... 1980-1989
Pr. Garnet Haase Associate... 1985-1994
Pr. E. David Spencer... 1989-1993
Pr. William Heil... 1994-1997
Pr. Thomas Scherger... 1998-2015
Pr. Dennis Meyette...2015-2016
Pr. Michael Walters...2016-current
The 1980's saw many changes. The congregation baptised its' 1000th member, called its' first woman pastor, celebrated its' 40th anniversary, and saw the merger of 3 Lutheran denominations, Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, Lutheran Church in America, and American Lutheran Church to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987.
In 2004, under the leadership of Pr. Thomas Scherger, Good Shepherd entered another chapter of her ministry with Our Savior Lutheran Church merge with Good Shepherd. The churches were separated by only a mile.
Our Savior Lutheran was dwindling in attendance when the State of Michigan approached the congregation in purchasing their property for I-75 expansion. The congregation sought out Good Shepherd for merger. All agreed this was a positive move for the ministry and community.
In 2016, Good Shepherd found itself in transition once again. With the retirement of Pr. Thomas Scherger and the appointment of Pr. Dennis Meyette as its Transition Pastor in 2015, Good Shepherd's appointed Call Team called an excellent new pastoral leader to become a part of its legacy, who began September 1, 2016, to facilitate moving forward, God willing, for many years to come.
Along with the calling of a wonderful new leader, Pastor Michael Eugene Walters, Good Shepherd is also moving forward in technology with an upcoming new LED sign to be installed as soon as permission is granted from the city of Royal Oak. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is an icon in our community, and with a newly elected Council, plans to move in a more modern direction while still holding on to traditional values.
For 70 years, Good Shepherd has been Spirit-filled and has done wonderful ministry in the Royal Oak community. The future remains bright as passionate and Spirit-led people continue to serve this community faithfully. We see how the love of Christ is being shared in the wonderful work being done at Good Shepherd, and with the help of God, we will continue to be a beacon of light shining in the darkness, sharing the love of Jesus to a broken world for years to come.