Good Shepherd
  Episcopal Church

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Our History

Good Shepherd originated from a school that was established by Mabel Plaisted in the 1890ís to educate the African-American children of the Tryon area.  Deacon Milnor Jones, who founded the Episcopal church in Polk County, constructed a log chapel near Holy Cross Episcopal Church to accommodate the students as well as to serve as a place for worship for their families.   In 1905, the log building was sold and a new school and chapel, called the Tryon Industrial Colored School, were built at the current location on Markham Road.  The land and the new building were generously funded by Edmund Embury, a member of Holy Cross.  By 1907, the school was serving more than 100 students, and in 1908, it was officially received as a missionary chapel of the Episcopal Missionary District of Asheville (Diocese of Western North Carolina).  It was re-named Good Shepherd Mission School. 

In the 1920ís, the school began to board students that lived too far away to commute each day.  It housed the principalís home, dormitory, classrooms, sewing room, science room and chapel.  Children were taught the skills needed for them to be employable.  Boys were taught trades, such as bricklaying, farming and carpentry while girls were taught sewing and cooking.  The school was closed in 1936 as African-American children were then permitted to attend public schools, however the members of the church still used the facilities for worship. 

By the late 1940ís, the building was falling into disrepair, and the congregation needed to find a new chapel.  It just so happened that there was an empty chapel built by Franklin Coxe for slaves who lived in the Green River area.  This chapel, St. Andrews, was on the Coxe Plantation in Green Creek, and was built around the turn of the century.  The members of Good Shepherd began discussing with the diocese the idea of bringing St. Andrews to Tryon as a replacement for the dilapidated building.  It was a perfect match since the members of Good Shepherd didnít have a building, and St. Andrews had a building but no members.  

In 1955, the abandoned chapel was moved in four sections to its present location.  The first worship service in the ďnewĒ Good Shepherd was held in June of that year.  Being a missionary church, it was subsidized by the diocese and was lead by several different priests-in-charge over the years.  The church became a full parish in 2003, meaning it became a self-supporting entity.  As a result, Good Shepherd rejoiced when it welcomed its first Rector (a priest in charge of a parish), Father Walter Bryan, in October of that year. 

As the church evolved, so did the congregation.  Although the original church was comprised solely of African-Americans, today you will find a church with members from many different ethnic backgrounds, of differing ages, and from all corners of the world.  The parishioners of Good Shepherd are very friendly and the warmth they exude to visitors and each other is contagious.  It is a place where all of Godís children can come together to worship Him in a warm and welcoming environment.


Good Shepherd Episcopal Church

P. O. Box 893 ~ 814 Markham Rd.

Tryon,  NC  28782

(at the corner of Markham Rd. and Jackson St.)

Church Phone/Fax: 828-859-9961

Rectory Phone: 828-894-2092

Handicapped parking is available