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Good Shepherd set to dedicate new building

March 26, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - When The Good Shepherd Ministries opens its doors Sunday at 19763 Longmeadow Road, its pastor said, people who are "nowhere spiritually" will feel they have somewhere to go.

"What is truly unique about us is that we care for each other," Pastor Steven McCullough said of his congregation. "We are loving and accepting - all backgrounds are welcome here."

Ground was broken in January 2003 on a 12.87-acre site at the intersection of Longmeadow Road and Leitersburg Pike. Since then, R.D. Poole Contractors of York, Pa., worked on the 16,000-square-foot first phase of the project.

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"We have a seating capacity for 400 now," McCullough said as he showed off the modern, carpeted sanctuary.

A full stage contains a pulpit, a piano, an organ, a choir section and a pull-down screen.

Downstairs are educational and meeting rooms and kitchen facilities. An elevator provides full accessibility between floors.

There also are plans to build an adjacent larger auditorium that will seat 1,100 people, McCullough said.

The Good Shepherd Ministries goes back four years to when McCullough was approached by a small group of people who asked him to lead them in Bible studies in the basement of a home in Williamsport.

After that humble beginning in 2000, the congregation started meeting at Rest Haven Chapel on Pennsylvania Avenue, thanks to the kindness of owner/proprietor Charles Brown, McCullough said. Membership swelled to about 150 people, and plans were launched for a new building.

"From that, we've grown into this," he said.

A Michigan native, McCullough became a minister in 1972. After years with a major denomination, he left the ministry and worked in marketing.

"It just wasn't the same," McCullough said.

He said he has enjoyed the journey back to the pulpit the past four years.

"This is the second time I've been involved in starting a church from scratch," McCullough said. "It is a very gratifying experience, especially this time."

McCullough said he hopes this fall to have a youth/education pastor on the staff.

"The direction of our focus is young families with children, youth and young adults," he said. "But we value all people, including our seniors, who were a major help in getting us started here."

A dedication at 3 p.m. will take the place of the regular morning services this Sunday. There will be worship, an acknowledgment to all who made the new church possible, pictures of the construction process, readings and a time for prayer.

A reception will follow for all who want to tour the new building and learn more of its mission.

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