The Episcopal Church Home opened in 1868 in a small farmhouse on an acre of land at 509 Mount Hope Avenue. At the time, this area was considered the outskirts of Rochester.
A Chapel has always been part of life at The Church Home. At first, a room was outfitted for this use. Then in 1902 the bishop of the diocese consecrated “The Chapel at The Church Home”, a little church attached to The Home at the south. This Chapel featured three full aisle windows, as well we the base of a fourth, all created by Tiffany in 1903 and 1904. The large chancel window depicting Christ preaching was created in 1902 by J.A. Holzer of New York. In time, The Chapel became known as The Chapel of the Good Shepherd.
The Chapel was demolished in 1972, giving way to a modern healthcare community on the same site. Containing stairs and pew benches, The Chapel was inaccessible to most residents. During the time of renovations, the organ, glass and other furnishings were put into storage while funds were raised to erect the present Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Sunday service was held in the main dining room in the interim. The present building was consecrated in 1984.
A New Chapel is Built
When the new Chapel was built, the design incorporated architectural and religious elements from the original. A simple round exterior belies the lofty and spacious interior, emphasized by the timber-frame central dome and illuminated by the original stained-glass windows. The Holzer window, Christ preaching, is located behind the altar. Two of the Tiffany windows (originally on the aisle), Christ with the Children and the Annunciation to the Shepherds, are on the north wall.
The third complete Tiffany window, Easter Morn, is on the south wall. Next to it is a hybrid containing the Tiffany base, with a center subject, The Holy City, and new canopy work created by James O’Hara of Pike Stained Glass Studios in Rochester. The chandelier above the sanctuary includes part of the tracery of the original chancel window.
The Chapel features other elements from the original. The Moller Pipe Organ was built and installed in 1934. The cornerstone of the 1901 Chapel is outside of the south hall on the original site.
Still in use from the early days are the chalice, the collection plates as well as the baptismal font, poor box and hymn board.