Church of the Shepherd was founded in 1982 when a small group of people felt the call to start a church in the neighborhood. They called themselves Hyde Park Alliance Church and originally met in a hotel conference room but were able, with the help of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, to buy the large house at 52nd and Dorchester, where the church has met ever since. They converted the third-floor ballroom into a sanctuary and used the bottom two floors as a parsonage and offices. On Sun., June 30, 1985, the church held its Formal Organization and Charter Member Sunday with 25 members.
The first pastor was Rev. Ed Shuck, who stayed from 1982 to 1988. In the church’s first decade, it grew from a couple dozen to almost seventy people, with a lively mix of neighborhood residents and university grad students. That balance of folk from the neighborhood and students from the university has been a hallmark of the church throughout its history. Indeed, one of the church’s distinctive characteristics is how frequently student leaders from Graduate Christian Fellowship and other Christian organizations on campus have worshiped with us.
Given that we’re in a university neighborhood, one of our core ministries has always been to reach out to and support the students in our midst. But we’ve also felt a strong call to minister to the needy and to work with local organizations such as Encore and Sunshine Gospel Ministries. We’ve been closely connected with the local chapter of Young Life for many years.
In the early years of the church, Hyde Park Alliance was one of only two or three evangelical churches in the neighborhood. But as more churches were planted here in the last fifteen years, Hyde Park Alliance has been able to welcome them and provide both guidance and resources. As one of the few churches in the neighborhood that owns its own building, we’ve provided office and meeting space on numerous occasions.
While the church has ministered consistently over the last 30+ years, its numbers dwindled in the first decade of the 2000s. In 2010 David Whited, dean of the chapel at Trinity International University felt led to leave that position and come pastor here in Hyde Park. He arrived in 2010 and brought a commitment to a bi-vocational model where the church would have multiple pastors with different gifts who would minister while also holding other jobs, and we still continue with this model. It was at this time that the church’s name was changed to Church of the Shepherd, though we are still part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.
We’re a relatively small congregation that is seeking to develop deep community with each other and our neighborhood. We endeavor to equip people so that they’re prepared to be sent out for God’s mission and kingdom. We are grateful to be a part of the long history of this church and the opportunity to work in what God has planned for Hyde Park.