Good Shepherd Episcopal Church unveils historical plaques at homecoming event

Published 11:33 am Monday, October 2, 2023

TRYON—On Saturday, the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church celebrated its homecoming with a special service. It also unveiled three plaques commemorating its unique and complex history. 

Led by Reverend Doctor Aloha Smith, the homecoming service featured spirituals sung by Constance Greene and Sherami Harris. Following the service, parishioners served barbecue and recited original poetry while members paid tribute to the church and community members. 

The event also showcased art by church members Julia Booker Miller and Haamadi Ben Saad in the newly renovated community room. The three plaques unveiled were generously donated by Miller, and represent different eras of the church’s history, beginning with its founding in 1888 at the Green River Plantation. 

Art from Julia Booker Miller was on display at the event. (Photo by Storme Smith)

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“This is exciting because it’s the first homecoming we’ve ever had to celebrate the church since it came over from the Green River Plantation,” says parishioner Jackie Johnson. 

The first plaque commemorates the one-room log cabin built for African-American parishioners and the second plaque tells the story of the church’s connection with the Tryon Industrial School from 1922 to 1977, which was led by Reverend Samuel Radway. The third plaque brings the story to the present day, highlighting the many accomplishments of the church’s current leaders. 

“A lot of work went into the plaques and the homecoming celebration,” said member Mike Greata. “Senior Warden Ben Ellington had the plaques made and installed, with each one representing a unique time in the church’s history. We’re glad to be able to share with visitors and potential members.”

The Good Shepherd Church has a rich and diverse history, and the unveiling of these plaques reminds the community of its importance. The church is located at 814 Markham Rd. in Tryon.

Historical plaques were recently installed at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church (Photo by Storme Smith)