Bishop Michael Rinehart of the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod will preach at both services on Sunday, Aug. 25 in which he will dedicate the newly formed Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, ELCA, located at 945 W. Roundbunch Road in Bridge City.

The church recently organized and opened its doors due to the consolidation of Trinity Lutheran Church of Orange and St. Mark Lutheran Church of Bridge City. Prior to the uniting of the two churches Pastor Paul Zoch was serving as minister to both congregations. Today, the church is blessed to have him still be their leader and minister.

Each church enjoyed a long successful mission serving their respective community as well as similar history. Trinity began organizing in the early 1900’s when Missouri Synod pastors worked in the Golden Triangle area. In 1907 Trinity was formed under the Leadership of Pastors Fisher of Beaumont, Gaertner of Port Arthur and Meilbohm of Crowley, Louisiana. The “Little Church” seated only 30 people, but it was a strong beginning for Lutheran witness in Orange. In 1929 eleven members of Trinity petitioned Rev. H. A. Knebel of Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Beaumont to serve Orange in addition to his duties at his own church. One year later, Trinity Lutheran became a part of the American Lutheran Church Synod. The congregation grew and under the leadership of Rev. C. A. Woytek of Beaumont, the congregation expanded its facilities at its 12th and Cypress location. In 1942, the Rev. Paul B. Frank was called to become the resident pastor. It was during these years that Trinity became independent of mission support from the American Lutheran Church. In February of 1945, Rev. Paul Probst was called to Trinity and served for 14 years. He was followed by Rev. Ray Flachmeier in 1959, who is responsible for helping the congregation build the final church home located on 16th Street until sold in February, 2013.

Beginning in June, 1956, a nucleus of Lutherans formed and conducted a Sunday School in the Bridge City Fire Hall. In latter months of 1958, Bridge City was chosen for the location of a Package Mission of the American Church. The first worship service was held September 29, 1957, in the fire hall by Pastor A. D. Klages. Services were held regularly from this point on by Pastor Klages. Early in 1958, the place of worship was moved to a former restaurant at 1745 Texas Avenue.

In the spring of 1958 Pastor Eric A. Biedermann began his duties as full time missionary pastor. The congregation was organized in a special service held in St. Paul’s Methodist Church on Oct. 5, 1959, the name “St. Mark” was chosen. Efforts to secure a land site for building a church was finalized in February, 1959. Ground was broken on April 26, 1959 and six weeks later the cornerstone was laid. The first worship was held in the new building on November 15th, the new church was dedicated to the glory and service of the Triune God. Over the years St. Mark became known as “The Little Church with a Big Heart”.

As in 1959, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church still enjoys the spire which reaches upward till one’s eyes fall on the symbol of Christianity—the Cross. For all who see the spire it shall be “a finger pointing to heaven.” The symbol on the darker background of the front exterior of the church represents the first three letters in the name of Jesus in Greek. The symbols behind the altar are the cross and Luther’s rose (symbol of the Gospel for all people). During the 80’s the original building was expanded with additional rooms for Sunday School and in the 90s one last addition was made for a small fellowship area.

Today and every day, the congregation of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church gives the praise and glory to the Lord of the Church who has blessed them so richly. To God they dedicate this new church and pray that He will use it and them for the extension of His kingdom by the faithful proclamation of His Holy Word.

Since the first work of Trinity and St. Mark Churches until the present time, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church gives thanks to God for His blessings.  They look to the future with eager anticipation of the man-made ways God will call them, clergy and laity alike, to keep Good Shepherd Lutheran Church a strong and ministering congregation within the community.

The congregation and Pastor Paul cordially invites the community to join them in helping celebrate their new beginnings at one of their two Worship services; 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m.  Between the two services, a Brunch will be served at 10:00 a.m. Everyone is invited.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church motto is: We are a caring Christian family following Christ, the Good Shepherd, where we SHARE God’s Love! GROW our Faith! And SERVE Others!