From humble beginnings
The Church of the Good Shepherd was opened in 1950 as a daughter church of St Peter's Farnbrough due to the growth of the local Hawley Lane Housing Estate. On 26th April 1950, the Bishop of Guildford at that time, Right Revd H C M Campbell, lay the foundation stone and then returned again on 8th November to dedicate the new building.
The Church then employed Captain Walker of the Church Army as its first full time member of staff. A new Parsonage, now referred to as the Vicarage, was then built in 1954 and soon became home to Revd Noel Palmer and his wife, who had recently arrived from Canada.
The Church grows from the ground up
By 1956, the Church of the Good Shepherd began to blossom in numbers, attracting a varied congregation of all ages. There was a particular growth in the children and young people's ministry which led to the arrival of the 'Green Hall' for the competitive price of £100! Later referred to as the 'Green Hut', it became the base for over 200 young people where they were able to take part in all sorts of social activities.
These early years saw relationships with the local community develop and grow; even the church field was in use by a local horse owner from 1957-1961! Over the next decade, many additions and improvements were made to the church building and a major milestone was reached in 1977, when the Good Shepherd were licensed to solemnise marriages. This came as great news to its attendees who could now marry in 'their Church'.
Growing old gracefully
Hindsight is a great thing! There were some early warning signs of the subsidence problems to come, which perhaps should have set the alarm bells ringing. Firstly, there was a crack in the floor of the chancel which was hidden by carpeting for years and secondly, during the building of an extension, the building inspector insisted on extra foundation work.
As a result of these issues, in 1985 the Diocesan Architect proncounced our lovely Church was unsafe. Major decisions by the Church family then took place to decide the fate of the Church and its building. In August 1986, the entire congregation were presented with the options and in November the day was spent together where it was felt that the current building should be demolished in order to make way of a new complex.
A new building rises up from the ground
On 14th February 1988, the first appeal was launched to raise funds to build a new Church and a second gift day took place in May 1990. The total amount raised was an absolutely amazing £650,000! Following this, the Church of the Good Shepherd held its final service in the original building - a time of very mixed feeling for many people including those who had been married there, those who had their children baptised or those had been at the Church from the beginning.
Family life continues
During the building of the new church building, the church family continued to meet at the Sixth Form College in Farnborough located next to the church. They were very kind in allowing the use of the hall amongst other rooms under the leadership of Revd Evelyn Hughes. The new church started to take shape with only the stained glass window kept from the former church building. On 8th December 1990, Bishop Michael Adie laid the foundation stone and returned later on 14th September 1991 in order to dedicate the new church building. The Church of the Good Shepherd family quickly settled into the new building, making full use of all its facilities.
The Good Shepherd officially became its own parish in July 1997 and broke away from under the protective wing of St Peter's who had helped nurture and support it up until this point. Today we are the Parish Church of the Good Shepherd in a group ministry with St Peter's and we feel very blessed to have the church building and family that we have now.
The Staff History
1948 - Revd FB (Ben) Hutchinson
1978 - Revd Peter Renouf
1985 - Revd Alan Boddington
2002 - Revd David Willey
1948 - Captain Walker (Church Army)
1950 - Revd Trevor C Thorpe
1954 - Revd Noel Palmer
1954 - Revd Barry MacKay
1956 - Revd Peter P Ball
1958 - Revd Donald TM Service
1961 - Revd Bill H Andrew
1964 - Revd Harold WJ Harland
1968 - Revd Bernard Cotter
1972 - Revd Ernest Pettingell
1975 - Revd Tom Johns
1976 - Revd Brian Baxter
1979 - Revd Richard Hall
1984 - Revd Richard Crew
1988 - Revd Evelyn Hughes
1991 - Revd Steve Paynter
1997 - Consecrated Parish Church 31st July by the Bishop of Dorking
1997 - Revd Steve Paynter
1999 - Revd Nick Sharp
2006 - Revd Rachel Bennetts
2018 - Revd Russell Smart (also Associate Vicar from 2015)