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Church of the Good Shepherd (Rosemont, Pennsylvania)

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, is an American Episcopal parish church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. It is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania and is located in Lower Merion Township[1] and the Philadelphia Main Line.

Church of the Good Shepherd
Bell Tower, Church of the Good Shepherd (Rosemont, Pennsylvania).jpg
40°1′28″N 75°19′29″W / 40.02444°N 75.32472°W / 40.02444; -75.32472Coordinates: 40°1′28″N 75°19′29″W / 40.02444°N 75.32472°W / 40.02444; -75.32472
Location1116 E Lancaster Avenue, Rosemont, Pennsylvania
CountryUnited States
ChurchmanshipHigh Church
WebsiteThe Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Pennsylvania
Statusactive parish
Architect(s)Baily & Truscott (Philadelphia)
Architectural typeGothic Revival
StyleEnglish Gothic
Years built1893-1894
ParishChurch of the Good Shepherd
DioceseEpiscopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
Priest in chargeNazareno Javier
Organist(s)Matthew Glandorf


The parish was founded in 1869 as part of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement revival in the Anglican Church,[2] and was admitted to the Diocese of Pennsylvania in 1871. Its original church building was on the North side of Lancaster Avenue, just east of the present football stadium of Villanova University. Through a donation of $27,000 (approximately $748,000 in 2018 dollars) from parishioner Harry Banks French of the Smith, Kline & French company,[3] the present church building was designed by the Philadelphia architectural firm of Baily & Truscott,[4] and constructed between 1893 and 1894 in the Gothic Revival style of a 14th-Century English country church. The first services were held in 1894, and the building was consecrated in 1910.[5]

Original Church of the Good Shepherd, Radnor, Pennsylvania

Good Shepherd HospitalEdit

The parish set up Good Shepherd Hospital in the 1870s, originally to care for children whose parents could not afford to give them medical services. In 1903 the name was changed to the Home and Hospital of the Good Shepherd, and in 1915 admissions were restricted to boys between 7 and 14. The Hospital was conducted as a parochial institution until June 1922 when it merged with the Church Farm School, an Episcopal Church institution farther west in the Philadelphia suburbs.[6]

St. Gregory the Great window at Good Shepherd

Disputes and litigationEdit

Good Shepherd has been part of legal disputes at various times during its history.

Move from Radnor to RosemontEdit

The original church building near Villanova was in use for about 20 years. It had been informally intended to be, in part, a memorial to two distinguished Episcopal bishops (Jackson Kemper and Samuel Bowman). A window honoring the bishops was installed in the church. In the 1890's, the vestry decided to move to a more spacious location in neighboring Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and received the donation from Harry Banks French to erect what is today the church building. Although the memorial windows were to be removed and used in the new church, some members of the congregation objected, arguing that they had donated funds for the original church with the understanding that it alone would be a memorial to the two bishops, and that a charitable trust existed for that purpose, prohibiting the move to Rosemont. Years of litigation followed, including two decisions by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, finally permitting the move. The supreme court ultimately ruled that the parish's 1870 articles of incorporation described it as existing for the purposes of worship, but not as a vehicle for memorializing persons, and that the vestry had control of the property subject to the Canon Law of the Episcopal Church.[7][8] [a]

Dispute with the Episcopal Church and Diocese of PennsylvaniaEdit

In 2002 David Moyer, rector (1989–2002) of Good Shepherd, refused to allow diocesan bishop Charles E. Bennison to make a required canonical visitation to Good Shepherd, Moyer saying the bishop "was too liberal and could not be trusted in the pulpit".[9] Bennison deposed Moyer as rector in September 2002. Bishop Bennison explained, "I deposed him because he had over a decade shown a pattern of a series of canonical failures, one after another. Under his leadership, [the Church of the Good Shepherd] has become increasingly alienated from his diocese."[9]

After Moyer's deposition, the Diocese of Pennsylvania attempted to regain control of the parish and property at Good Shepherd, which was by then considered in schism from the Episcopal Church. After years of unsuccessful attempts to do so without involving the secular courts, in 2009 the diocese sued Moyer and the vestry at Good Shepherd for control of the church and property.[10] After two years of litigation, a judge ordered Moyer and those who had left the Episcopal Church to vacate the property and return control to the diocese.[11] Moyer and a portion of the congregation left Good Shepherd and the diocese reconstituted the parish.

Since 2011, the wardens, vestry, and congregation have been an integral part of the Episcopal Church and the Pennsylvania diocese.

Good Shepherd votive shrine


Name Years
I Henry Palethorp Hay 1869 - 1883
II Arthur B. Conger 1883 - 1912
III Charles Townsend Jr. 1912 - 1930
IV Thomas A. Sparks 1930 - 1932
V William P.S. Lander 1933 - 1962
VI James H. Cupit, Jr. 1963 - 1971
VII George William Rutler 1971 - 1978
VIII Andrew Craig Mead 1978 - 1985
IX Jeffrey N. Steenson 1986 - 1989
X David Moyer 1989 - 2002
inter Rectores[b] 2002 - 2012
XI Richard C. Alton 2012 - 2014
XII Ian Montgomery 2014 - 2018
inter Rectores 2018–present

As of October 2018, the priest-in-charge is Fr. Nazareno Javier.

Art and architectureEdit

The chancel has a richly-decorated coffered ceiling. The nave comprises five bays and a clerestory with stained glass, but without a triforium. A large carved wooden rood screen surmounted with a crucifixion separates the chancel and the nave. There is a separate Lady Chapel entered at the top of the south aisle. In 1929 artist and parishioner George Fort Gibbs created seven paintings for the church's high altar reredos as a memorial to his parents. The center panel is a Virgin and Child, flanked by panels depicting other biblical figures from the Old Testament and New Testament.[5] An octagonal baptistry with carved font and stained glass was added off the south side of the church in 1932. Above the main (north) entrance to the church is a polychrome statue depicting the boy Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The crenellated tower contains bells playing the Cambridge Quarters each quarter of the hour, as well as ringing the Angelus and chiming during the eucharistic consecration.


Good Shepherd holds services on Sunday at 8:00 am (Low Mass) and at 10:30 am (Sung High Mass). On Wednesdays the church holds a Low Mass at 12:00 noon in the Lady Chapel, and evening prayer is held Monday through Friday at 5:30 pm.

Our Lady of Walsingham shrine at Good Shepherd

As at other High Church, Anglo-Catholic churches, worship at Good Shepherd incorporates the later Catholic Revival's devotional and eucharistic practices:

Madonna and Child, Lady Chapel

Anglican Service BookEdit

Good Shepherd is the publisher of the Anglican Service Book, which it uses in its worship services. The book is an Anglo-Catholic version of the Book of Common Prayer used in the Episcopal Church.

Music programEdit

The organist and choirmaster is Matthew Glandorf, a graduate of and faculty member at the Curtis Institute of Music.[13]

The choir comprises a professional core with auditioned volunteer singers. The choir sings weekly at the 10:30 High Mass on Sunday, and at special liturgies throughout the year, including Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, the solemn liturgies of Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. The choir offers a sung setting of the Mass on most Sundays and feast days ranging from Palestrina and Victoria to Stanford and Parry and the great English cathedral repertoire, as well as sacred music being written for the church today such as James MacMillan, Eriks Esenvalds and local Philadelphia composers. The music program has a Choral Scholar Program for talented students from nearby colleges, including male and female choral scholars from, e.g., Bryn Mawr College, Villanova University, and Haverford College, to support them in their studies.[14]


The organ at Good Shepherd is an Austin, Op. 2613 (1977), with these divisions:

GREAT 16′ Violone, 8′ Principal, 8′ Violone, 8′ Hohlflöte, 4′ Octave, 4′ Rohrflöte, 2′ Super Octave, IV Fourniture, III Cymbale, 16′ Bombarde, 8′ Trompette, 4′ Clairon, 16′ Bombarde, 8′ Trompette, 8′ Hautbois, 4′ Hautbois Clairon, Tremulant.

SWELL 16′ Bourdon Doux, 8′ Principal, 8′ Flûte à Cheminée, 8′ Viole de Gambe, 8′ Voix Céleste, 4′ Prestant, 4′ Flûte à Fuseau, 2 2/3′ Nasard, 2′ Quarte de Nasard, 1 3/5′ Tierce, IV Plein Jeu, II Cymbale.

PEDAL 32′ Bourdon Resultant, 16′ Contra Bass, 16′ Bourdon, 16′ Violone, 16′ Bourdon Doux, 8′ Octave, 8′ Bourdon, 8′ Violone, 8′ Bourdon Doux, 4′ Choralbass, 4′ Koppelflöte, IV Fourniture, 32′ Contre Bombarde, 16′ Bombarde, 16′ Bombarde SW, 8′ Trompette, 8′ Rohrschalmei, 4′ Rohrschalmei, 4′ Festival Clarion.

POSITIV 8′ Principal, 8′ Melodia, 4′ Octave, 4′ Koppelflöte, 2′ Superoctave, 1 1/3′ Larigot, III Scharf, II Cymbel, 8′ Clarinet, Tremulant, Zymbelstern, 8′ Festival Trumpet.



  1. ^ In the first case, Cushman v. Rector etc. of Church of Good Shepherd of Radnor, 162 Pa. 280, 29 A. 872 (1894), the supreme court imposed an injunction on the vestry, forbidding the move from Radnor. In the final case, Cushman v. Rector etc. of Church of Good Shepherd of Radnor, 188 Pa. 438, 41 A. 616 (1898), the supreme court reversed itself and allowed the move.
  2. ^ David Moyer continued to function as rector at Good Shepherd after his deposition in 2002 until he was required to vacate the premises by court order in 2011, but he was acting outside the canon law of the Episcopal Church and so was the rector only de facto and not de jure.


  1. ^ "Ward Map". Lower Merion Township. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  2. ^ It is Pennsylvania non-profit corporation entity number 66578, incorporated 23 May 1870 (Records of the Pennsylvania Secretary of State),
  3. ^ "An Historical Sermon Delivered in the Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd Rosemont Pa. By the Rector the Rev. Arthur B. Conger A.M. On the Third Sunday After Trinity June 12th, 1910". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Baily & Truscott (fl. 1890-1904)". Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b Coates, Edward Osborne. An historical sketch of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, 1869-1934 (unknown publisher, 1935).
  6. ^ "Church of the Good Shepherd". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Cushman v. Rector etc. of Church of Good Shepherd of Radnor, 162 Pa. 280, 29 A. 872 (1894)". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Cushman v. Rector etc. of Church of Good Shepherd of Radnor, 188 Pa. 438, 41 A. 616 (1898)". Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  9. ^ a b Donovan, Gill. "Anglican leader offers job to ousted U.S. priest". National Catholic Reporter, September 20, 2002, Vol. 38, Iss. 40, p. 17.
  10. ^ "PENNSYLVANIA: Diocese asks court to force return of Rosemont property". March 3, 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2018..
  11. ^ "Judge tells Rosemont congregation it must vacate property". September 1, 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  12. ^ "d'Ogries, Good Shepherd". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Matthew Glandorf, Curtis Institute Faculty". Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Choir at Good Shepherd". Retrieved 10 December 2018.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • The Anglican Service Book, 1991, ISBN 0-9629955-0-9
  • Brown, Stewart J. & Nockles, Peter B. ed. The Oxford Movement: Europe and the Wider World 1830–1930, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Chadwick, Owen. Mind of the Oxford Movement, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960.
  • Faught, C. Brad. The Oxford Movement: a thematic history of the Tractarians and their times, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-271-02249-9
  • Rzeznik, Thomas F. Church and Estate: Religion and Wealth in Industrial Era Philadelphia. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-271-05967-9
  • Walworth, Clarence A. The Oxford Movement in America. New York: United States Catholic Historical Society, 1974 (Reprint of the 1895 ed. published by the Catholic Book Exchange, New York).

External linksEdit