<< Previous    1  [2]    Next >>
<< Previous: From our First Service in 1950...

History - Page 2

Pastor Robert E. BankenPastor 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 welcomed.

On 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 there.



Pastor Virgil R. WhiteOn September 9, 1984 Pastor Virgil R. White was installed as Associate Pastor. He and his wife, Marsha, had three children. 

Pastor White accepted a Call to Abbotsford, B.C., leaving in January of 1994.




Operation Thanks-Giving

Operation Thanks Giving - A FREE Hot Meal Tuesdays @ 6PM

In 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.

November of 2015 celebrated the 30th anniversary of Operation Thanks-Giving which is still serving hot delicious meals all year round, every Tuesday at 6PM.  

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.

In May 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, 1996. 

Pastor Daniel J. Gerken

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 such.

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 McKellips.

 (For the complete story, see "The Good Shepherd and Lamb Carving Story" below.)

Good Shepherd and Lamb Sculpture on Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

In July of 2005, Ken Norton was installed as the new Director of Christian Education (DCE). He served in that position until the end of 2009. 

Bonnie Jean Huset - Little Lambs Preschool DirectorAt the beginning of September of 2005, we opened the doors to our Accredited Little Lambs Preschool for the first time. On September 11, 2005, we dedicated the preschool to our Lord and Savior with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Bonnie Jean Huset is the Preschool Director.

All three & four year olds are welcome as church membership is not a requirement!

Please visit www.littlelambstacoma.com  for more information.

  Little Lambs Logo


Ordination of Bradley Varvil Photo

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, 2015.

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!

Ordination of Shauen Trump Photo 

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. www.thetrumps.org

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.

The year 2000, marked our 50th anniversary as a congregation. September 12, 2010, celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first Sunday worship service held back in 1950. 

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...


The "Good 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 things.

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 2000. 

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 Lamb.

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 (NLSA) Program.

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.

Little Lambs Logo

Rev. Toby Joeckel

 2017 and Beyond...

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 KossRev. 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 10:10)


<< Previous    1  [2]    Next >>

Click to Bookmark this site

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Little Lambs Preschool

140 East 56th St.

Tacoma, WA 98404
Phone 253-473-4848

One Sunday Service
Starts @ 9:30 am

Today is:



 Rev. Noel d. Koss, Interim Pastor
Rev. Noel D. Koss
Interim Pastor


Bonnie Jean Huset, Preschool Director & Teacher  Bonnie Jean Huset, Preschool Director


Bible Quote...

Lutheran Cross Logo Photo


Visits Since 5/11/2014
Fastest Hard Drive  
URL Hits Count
Unique Visitors
Fastest Hard Drive  
URL Hits Count