150th Anniversary Celebration

and Dedication of the Bill Barrett Technology Center

Good Shepherd, on June 7, 2009, and throughout the whole year -- and the next -- celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the "official" founding of the congregation, but that history entwines two different churches that consolidated in 1961. That was when the West Park Presbyterian Church moved up Lansdowne Avenue from 53rd Street to J. Addison Henry Memorial Presbyterian Church building at 65th Street and Lansdowne Ave. Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church was adopted as the name for the merged congregation and both histories were preserved in the consolidation. So May 15, 1859 was official beginning of West Park Presbyterian Church.   History is continuously being made, so for example our added history now include in its official history that on the historic day, Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church dedicated the Bill Barrett Technology Center, of our Mr. Presbyterian, William H. Barrett, elsewhere mentioned on this web site.

The Celebration looks forward and not backward because all our celebrations in this century are a part of a project called "Celebrating the Past as our Gift to the Future " The Bill Barrett Technology Center takes the best skills of film technology, Bill Barrett's profession, and brings photography into the digital age: his photography lab -- as with most "film labs" -- has been replaced by the computer. On the Martin Luther King, Jr.'s -- MLK 2009 360 -- work day project, 10 new computers and a file server were delivered to the room for use by the Sports and Learning Center's  before and after school and summer programs.

In this age when businesses now have more and more people tela-computing from home or the road or even the beach, the Technology Center -- which is one of four "hubs" in the church that can each support up to 24 computers -- is also decentralized and includes the other offices and work centers in the church as well as those at home. Windows may be the workhorse of the down stairs center, but as you get higher up in the church - and closer to heaven, the Apple Macintosh is the computer of choice! The Bill Barrett Technology Center has been in use for over six years, constantly being improved, such as by a youth group from Hartford, CT who put up new drywall on one side and did a lot of work on the drop ceiling (which we have not finished) and a youth group from the Southern Baptist denomination dug out the pathway through the dirt bank from 65th Street to and a second barrier-free doorway (which we have yet cut through the 24" granite Church exterior wall below a selected window). So little by little we are making slow progress. 

(Meanwhile, the first barrier-free doorway has made the 150th anniversary year the first year that the Good Shepherd J.Addison Henry Memorial Church building to become the Philadelphia [] Precinct Voting Center that begins on the south side of Lansdowne Ave, as well as the entrance for the Senior Center Bureau, discussed elsewhere.)

The new generation of computers -- running Vista -- for the Sports and Learning Center - replacing our second generation of old clunkier computers -- Running Windows 98, and the 150th Anniversary of Good Shepherd combined at this time to suggest the dedication of the Bill Barrett Technology Center would be an approprate way to "Celebrating the Past as our Gift to the Future." It is also a nice thing to do at this time: since our beloved nonagenarian Eleanor Greenway, Bill's sister, is still  present to cut the ceremonial ribbon!  One other little known fact also highlights this shift from the past to the future. Bill Barrett was a dedicated Freemason - in the day when his lodge connections did not recognize Prince Hall Masons. Now that the two lodge organizations recognize each other, we should not overlook the facts that there is a Prince Hall Masonic connection that helped bring the new computers to be used by the Sports and Learning Center, (see "Our Favorite Links".)

Up on the second floor - a little closer to heaven -  eight Macintosh computers are used after school by children from "The Little Peoples Village." They are also a connection to the internet though the Bill Barrett Technology Center. Four other church offices and the third floor bedroom of our Web Master, Charles Adams, (as well as a sanctuary internet connection for community meetings), also reach out to the world through the Technology Center. Had the Cassidy Kindergarten stayed, they too would be connected to the outside world, so anyone wanting to use that area can join the rest of the world with little fanfare. Our dedication to the future is taking place in the 150th "Celebrating the Past as Our Gift to the Future."