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History - Page 2
Pastor Robert E. Banken from Grants Pass, OR, was installed as the
fifth pastor on August 22, 1982. Pastor Banken, his wife Gloria, and their four children were warmly
January 17, 1996, Pastor Banken accepted a Call and was commissioned to serve as Pastor of the Congregation
of the Good Shepherd in Beijing, China and to serve as a “Missionary at Large” to the expatriates living
On September 9,
1984 Pastor Virgil R.
White was installed as Associate
Pastor. He and his wife, Marsha, had three
Pastor White accepted a Call to
Abbotsford, B.C., leaving in January of 1994.
November 1985, our “Operation Thanks-Giving” program was started. Operation Thanks-Giving is a FREE hot meal program which reaches out
into the community providing food, clothing, and spiritual direction to many.
of 2015 celebrated the 30th anniversary of Operation Thanks-Giving which is still serving hot
delicious meals all year round, every Tuesday at
Richard D. Johnson was
called to serve as Minister of Education, Youth and Families in the fall of 1994. He was installed in
November of that year. This position was retitled Director of Christian Education (DCE). He joined us with
his wife, Tierney, and their two daughters.
In 2003, Richard resigned his position in order to enter
the Seminary and train for the office of the holy ministry.
of 1996, ground was broken for a new addition to the church building. The new space provided two classrooms, a larger narthex, a nursery, member mail boxes, and
a coffee station. It was dedicated on November 13,
Pastor Daniel J. Gerken, who was serving in Walla Walla, WA,
became the seventh pastor to serve at Good Shepherd. He was installed on January 19, 1997. He and his wife,
Ruth, and son, were welcomed at a reception.
In early 2016, Pastor Gerken announced his
retirement effective late January, 2017 after serving in the ministry for 40 years. He served at Good
Shepherd Lutheran Church for an outstanding 20 years! During his time with us, 254 souls have been baptized,
204 confirmed, 61 marriages performed, and 207 souls laid to rest.
His final Sermon as our church
Pastor was on Sunday, January 29th, 2017 with a reception afterword. He was further celebrated with a
surprise dinner and get together the previous Saturday evening.
His ministry is not coming to an end. He will still be available in our circuits for vacation fill-ins and
Thank You Pastor Gerken: Well Done
Good Servant, Well Done!
On September 24, 2000, a sculpture of
Jesus as the Good Shepherd was dedicated and placed on the north side of the church building exterior. The
sculpture was carved by local master carver, Don
Church, and assisted by Art
(For the complete story, see "The Good Shepherd and Lamb Carving Story" below.)
In July of 2005, Ken
installed as the new Director of Christian Education (DCE). He served in that position until the end of
At the beginning of September of
2005, we opened the doors to our
Lambs Preschool for the first
time. On September 11, 2005, we dedicated the preschool to our Lord
and Savior with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Huset is the Preschool Director.
All three & four year olds are welcome as
church membership is not a requirement!
Please visit www.littlelambstacoma.com
On June 13, 2010, the
Rev. Bradley Varvil (center) was
installed as an Assistant Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran. This was a part-time position since
he was still employed full-time in a secular job. Pastor Varvil worked with the youth groups and
preached once a month. He also regularly led the Sunday 5pm Casual Chapel discussions. He was welcomed
along with his wife Melissa and their daughters.
Rev. Varvil served Good Shepherd and the community faithfully until July, 2015 when his
secular job was transferred to Saint Louis, Missouri. A Farewell Pot Blessing was held in his honor June 28,
He and his wonderful family have been truly missed!
Update: In February, 2017, Rev. Varvil's secular job was transferred back to the Puget Sound area. Welcome
back to Washington Rev. Varvil and family!
On September 26th, 2010 the congregation celebrated the Ordination of Rev. Shauen Thomas
Trump (front row, third from right) our LCMS Missionary in East Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Rev. Trump along with his wife Krista and their three young children serve with The Lutheran Church -
Missouri Synod in Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Please pray for the Trumps as they serve throughout a
substantial area of Africa.
2000, marked our 50th anniversary as a congregation. September 12, 2010,
celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first Sunday worship service held back in
In 2011, the sculpture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd a.k.a. the
"Good Shepherd and Lamb" carving", located on the north side of the church exterior was
in need of extensive repairs. Representatives from the original carving team totally refurbished the
sculpture and in March of 2012 it was permanently installed at the base of the spiral staircase inside the
church for all to enjoy.
Choose a thumbnail image to enlarge...
Shepherd and Lamb" Carving Story
The Good Shepherd and Lamb Carving was created by Don Church for Dr.
Phil Hutson, in memory of his parents Lloyd and Sarah Hutson. Don Church is a fairly well know carver. He has
a carving of the State Seal on display in Olympia and did some work for Mr. Weyerhaeuser, among other
It took him two years to complete the work on the Shepherd and the
Lamb. It was carved from Bass Wood planks laminated together,
imported from Germany. Don Church is a retired Colonel from the US Army and had made some connections that
enabled him to procure the wood from Germany. It was mounted on the front of the church and dedicated in
Over the years it became very weathered and rot and mildew had started to take a hold. In 2011 it was removed for
restoration. The restoration was financed by Dr. Phil Hutson. Hal McEwen undertook the restoration of the carving
in 2011. It took him about six months to complete the work. The whole surface was weathered and discolored. The
Bass wood planks had become separated. There was a great deal of mildew on the surface and between the planks. Hal
had to blast it with crushed walnut shells to remove as much of the damaged surface as possible. He then used acid
baths and finally bleach baths to kill the mildew that had infected the wood. The Bass wood boards that made up the
carving then had to be re-glued together. Part of the face and hands were severely rotted and needed to be filled
and re-carved. The statue when completed was then coated in a wood preservative, a light colored coat of paint and
finally a gloss sealant. Hal McEwen created a lovely curved base on which to mount both the Shepherd and the
In March of 2012 it was permanently put on display at the bottom of the curved staircase at Good Shepherd
Lutheran Church in Tacoma, Washington.
In August of 2015, after much diligent work, our Little Lambs Preschool earned accreditation by the National Lutheran Schools Accreditation
Starting back when we opened our doors in 2005, everyone involved with our preschool has worked diligently to
attain this recognition as one-of-the-best preschools in the nation.
In our search for
a new Pastor after Rev. Daniel Gerken retired in early 2017, we entered a period of self searching and
reorganization. To help us during this period we welcomed our Intentional Interim Pastor, Rev. Toby
Joeckel. Pastor Joeckel held meetings to discuss the future of Good Shepherd Luthern and was with us to
January 14, 2018.
Pastor Noel Koss replaced Rev. Joeckel on a part-time basis
until our search for a new Pastor is completed.
Rev. Noel Koss, Interim Minister
Pastor Koss was
born at Everett, Washington and raised in Seattle. He met his wife, Linda, at Concordia College, Portland,
Oregon and they have been married 51 plus years. They have four children, one of whom, Eric, is now in heaven.
Pastor Koss has served congregations in Wisconsin, Washington, Iowa and at Jackson, Wyoming. He likes sporting
events, walking, and reading. He has been guest minister at Wittenberg, Germany, participated in medical
missions event in Kenya, Africa, and served as interim minister to congregations in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington,
Oregon, and Idaho the past 10 years.
As we look ahead to the future, there are still many challenges and opportunities that face
us. We continue to seek to share the life-changing and life-saving
message of Jesus, our Good Shepherd:
“I have come that they
might have life, and have it abundantly.” (John