Church of the Good Shepherd

Church of the Good Shepherd

In the 1850's The Rev. Ralph Hoyt, priest of the Diocese of New York, vacationed in Fort Lee and wanted to start a church. He was also a poet, and sold copies of his books to raise money for his mission in Fort Lee. The first worship service was held on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1853.  Here are images of the first church building on Main Street, demolished in 1925, and  an edition of "Echoes of Memory and Emotion" "to aid in the rebuilding of the Good Shepherd Free Church."

In 1887 the Diocese of Newark purchased a small Congregational church in Fort Lee, built in 1867,  for $2000; the congregation repaid the diocese in 1891.  

In 1929 significant renovations moved the front door from Parker Avenue to Palisade Avenue, built the bell tower, enlarged the Parish Hall, and installed stained glass windows from Payne Glass Studios in Paterson.

A parish hall was added in the early 20th century--here's a postcard of Good Shepherd circa 1920.

Good Shepherd was a mission first of the Diocese of New Jersey, then the Diocese of Newark when that Diocese was created in 1874.  It became a parish in 1953, when it paid off the mortgage.  Highlights include serving as an Emergency Center during WWII, offering its parish hall to the newly formed Jewish Community Center of Fort Lee in 1951for High Holiday services, and serving as home to Friends for Life, an HIV/AIDS support program, from 1992 until 2009.