Needlepoint and photo courtesy of Janine Hand
How We Came to Be
Shepherd of the Desert, ELCA, and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, are two congregations worshipping as one in the desert community of Barstow, California.
A trailer came to town. It was St. Christopher’s Chapel trailer, and it was 1941. Seventeen times that trailer visited the towns of Barstow and Daggett California, for the sole purpose of ministering to Episcopalians who were off the beaten path, and just a little too far from church. Captain Charles L. Condor from the Church Army ministered to the mountain and desert areas from that trailer. He even served as the guest preacher on Palm Sunday. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Torrance invited him and after church he proudly displayed the trailer church all day.
A year later monthly services were organized when the mobile unit set up shop on a corner in Barstow. The necessary funds were raised to start a building, land was donated, and on November 18, 1945 the mission church St. Paul’s, was officially organized.
Between then and now we've had anniversaries, built Sunday schools on a church in Mexico, raised and donated money to charities far and wide, all the while honoring our vision of being two churches, one mission, one family.
Ordained years later, the Rev. Charles Condor celebrated Holy Communion in the new building in March of 1948, and in 1949 St. Paul’s was officially made a congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
Shepherd of the Desert had its beginnings in February of 1960 by five couples meeting at the original Barstow Fire Hall. Led by Lewis and Betty Rowe, they wrote a letter to the Pacific Southwest Synod of the United Lutheran Church in America detailing their desires to start a mission church in Barstow, and asking for help. October of that year found them holding the first worship service then a few weeks later they were able to start Sunday school. That November, church moved into the USO building.
In 1961, the Rev. Harold Price was called to serve the congregation, and he accepted his call as a mission developer pastor. The Lutheran Board of American Missions approved Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church on January 16, 1962. A constitution was approved, a council elected, a charter signed, and on February 11, 1962, they became an official congregation of the American Lutheran Church (ALC). Two and a half acres of land was purchased at the corners of Yucca and Ada, what’s now known as Mountain View.
1963 found the start of a fundraising campaign entitled “Doorways to Opportunities”. Plans for a new building were drawn and approved as well as a loan. It took until 1965 for the groundbreaking, but in November of that year the current church building was dedicated.
On a lighter note, not only do we work together to build great things, celebrate wonderful events, and worship as one family, we join time, treasures, and talent, even when the hot water heater is broken and fix it together!
Shepherd of the Desert, ELCA, and St. Paul's Episcopal Church + P O Box 726, Barstow CA 92311 + # 760-256-1624 + The Rev. Mary Toroeiy, Pastor and Vicar
Most web photos courtesy of Lili Bush, Debbie Luna, Dennis J. Malloy, Ken Nyborg, Frank Stewart, and Janine Hand.
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