The history of the San Jacinto Valley is a fascinating tale of Native American tribes, of Spanish explorers and missions, and of Mexican land grants. From the 1870s, as sections of the land grants were sold, the population in the valley was increased by Americans from eastern and northern states, by Canadians, and by immigrants notably from England and Wales.
The Anglicans among these immigrants came together and created a very active Episcopal Ladies’ Guild. The first Episcopal service in the valley was celebrated as early as 1886, and several of the families were instrumental in donating property to the church and in the lengthy struggle for a Los Angeles Diocese.
In 1903 the Mission of the Good Shepherd was recognized in the growing town of Hemet, and in 1911 – one year after Hemet was incorporated – the congregation stirred up a minor controversy by building their church in the Spanish mission style. Over the next four decades, the church was expanded with a parish hall and added a tower bell—the first in a valley church. By 1948, Good Shepherd established itself as a self-sufficient church of the Los Angeles Diocese.
From the beginning Good Shepherd parishioners have been involved in needed outreach: aiding local Native American tribes, working for British War Relief during two world wars, supporting a healthy sewer system in Hemet and the creation of the first community pantry.
Continuing from the last half of the 20th century the church has continued to grow and improve. Stained glass windows were added to the church during the 1960s (including one which was purchased by parishioners with green stamps!). The church was expanded in the 1970s which effectively tripled the occupancy. Four additional properties surrounding the church were added through purchase and donation. A pipe organ was installed in 1984 and expanded in 2004. In 2010 All Hallows was added, also in the Spanish mission style, which provided space for meeting rooms, classrooms and a finance office. Good Shepherd became part of the Diocese of San Diego when it was formed in 1974.
In 2010 Good Shepherd called the Rev. Kathleen Kelly to be our rector. During her years at Good Shepherd Pastor Kathleen was instrumental in moving our parish from a deficit budget to a balanced budget, diligent in hospital visits and in-home visits leading to the formation of our Care Council, and active in developing and working in our After School Program for the neighborhood children. Kathleen retired in September 2016.
On July 1, 2019 the Rev. Susan J. Latimer became Good Shepherd's rector.