Church of the Good Shepherd, Arcadia, CA
The Church of the Good Shepherd, United Methodist, held its first service in May of 1945, on a National Day of Prayer proclaimed by President Harry Truman at Holly Ave. School Auditorium.
Our first minister was the Reverend Doctor Will Hildebrand, for whom the Chapel was named. A charter membership of 97 souls accepted Dr. Hildebrand’s invitation to join the church that month. When the church was barely 10 weeks old, a Sanctuary Crusade was held to begin saving money to erect a chapel in the rural English style. In 1947 the chapel and offices were opened at 400 W. Duarte Road, Arcadia. In 1949, the Reverend Doctor Thatcher Jordan began his 15 years of leadership. The church continued to grow, adding a new sanctuary and Sunday School building in 1957. Total seating capacity, including the balcony and choir, is 754. After Dr. Jordan’s tenure, the Rev. Dr. Stanley S. McKee lead the congregation from 1964 to 1967. He was followed by Rev. Dr. Chilton C. McPheeters, and Rev. Fred H. Coots, who presided over Good Shepherd’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
The church has been the local affiliate of the Methodist Hospital of Southern California since its opening in 1957.
The Methodist Church
In 1729 England, a small group of Oxford University students were ridiculed as “Bible Bigots,” the “Holy Club” and “Methodists” because they spent so much time in methodical prayer and Bible reading. Led by John and Charles Wesley, the students held their ground against jeering students and went out to preach and pray with those considered to be the underbelly of English society.
The United Methodist Church is the result of a 1939 merger of three Methodist bodies (Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South and Methodist Protestant churches), and a 1968 union of the Evangelical United Brethren and The Methodist churches.
The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is part of a Wesleyan movement that now claims a total of 18 million members of various Methodist churches around the world. There are 8.5 million Methodists in the United States and one million members of the denomination outside of the United States.
The United Methodist Church is part of the Church Universal. All persons, regardless of race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition are welcome to attend its services, receive Holy Communion, and, after taking vows, be baptized and admitted into membership.
Denominational practices and standards are set by General Conferences that meet once every four years. Delegates to that conference are elected by clergy and lay representatives from local churches gathered in regional annual conferences.