The Church of the Good Shepherd closing its doors

For more than 70 years, the Church of the Good Shepherd has served the Anglican community in Woodstock.

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By Bruce Chessell

For more than 70 years, the Church of the Good Shepherd has served the Anglican community in Woodstock.

But a dwindling congregation has prompted a difficult decision.

The church building itself is going to be sold, and the Woodstock congregation will join its sister Christ Church in Huntingford.

Father Chris Travers, the priest at both churches, said the declining numbers prompted the congregation to make the choice. “It was a decision of the congregation,” Travers said. “Numbers were falling, so we wanted to pool our resources to be able to do better ministry.” There is an average of 40 churchgoers who attend the Woodstock location each Sunday. When they combine with the Huntingford location, the congregations number should rise to between 50 and 70, the priest said.

“We are sad to see this time come upon the congregation,” Travers said. “We’re moving forward in the future with great hope … The final service is April 30, and we will join with our sister congregation for our first service together on May 7.” The first Good Shepherd church was built in Woodstock in 1851, and originally was an army hut that had been moved from London.


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The Right Rev. George N. Luxton, Lord Bishop of Huron, with eight clergy and a congregation of 174 present, dedicated the church on May 2 of that year.

Plans to build a new church started as early as 1957 and, in 1964, the old church was moved to the new site on Devonshire Avenue and incorporated in the existing structure.

The first service of the new church took place on Christmas Eve, with a congregation of 198 people.

In recent years, the church has been noteworthy for allowing Muslims in Woodstock to use the Good Shepherd basement as their mosque in 2015.

In an interview with the Sentinel-Review in 2015, Travers said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to provide a safe space for another faith group and to be a welcoming community.” Travers will continue to be the minister at Christ Church when his Good Shepherd congregation moves to Huntingford next month. He said he wanted to thank the community for their support and ask for their prayers as they move forward.

-with files from Megan Stacey, Postmedia News