The Fellowship Hall at Good Shepherd was created in 1988 when the new building addition was completed. At that time, the old sanctuary was renovated to become the Fellowship Hall with a new kitchen built along one end. In recent years, the space was renovated again when the platform that created the altar area at the north end was removed, making the floor all one level, new carpeting installed and the ceiling renovated.
The name of the space indicates the types of activities held there. These events include coffee time after church services, meals, meetings, receptions, and community occasions. The space is available for outside groups to rent. The Fellowship Hall is equipped to seat approximately 110 people at a combination of round and rectangular tables. It is decorated with the art described below.
Barn Board Cross
Carved symbols and inscribed words are found in the center and on each arm of the cross. Ruth is the daughter of the late Rev. Gerhard Frost who assisted with the early planning for Good Shepherd congregation.
It was hung first in the original sanctuary and remains on the west wall of the Fellowship Hall.
In 1972, a series of three large altar paintings based on John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches…”, was completed and installed on the north wall of what was the original sanctuary. They remain in that location in the Fellowship Hall. The work was a collaboration between Pastor Berg and congregation member Douglas Eckheart, a faculty member in the Luther College Art Department. Eckheart executed the oil on canvas pieces and donated them to the church.
Each panel depicts a Christian subject: Left panel – Creation; center panel – Crucifixion; and right panel – Reconciliation. Three major elements appear on each of the panels: Vines and branches, large circles containing figures and symbols, and horizontal and vertical rainbows. The words of the verse spread across the panels, as well – I am the on the first panel (left); vine you are on the center panel; the branches on the third (right). The artist’s detailed description and a critique of the work by the late Marion Nelson, director of the Norwegian-American Museum, are framed and hang next to the panels on the north wall of the Hall.
The walnut and metal cross ( 8’6” l x 4’w) was originally hung at the front of the sanctuary in what is now the Fellowship Hall. It was replaced in 1972 by the three Doug Eckheart paintings which now hang in the front of the Fellowship Hall. After being stored in the Annex for many years, it was refinished by Mike Cornelius in 2015. There is no record of the name of the maker.
The original pine baptismal font at Good Shepherd was built for the new church when it was dedicated in 1958. A metal sign of the Trinity forms the finial for the lid. The removable bowl is made from stainless steel. The font was refinished in 2016 by Mike Cornelius after being stored in the Annex for many years. The name of the maker is unknown.
Advent – Christmas Panels
Five large panels depicting the Nativity of our Lord in words and pictures were created and painted by congregation member Laura Hoeg. They were first hung on the east wall of the original sanctuary for the Advent – Christmas season, 1959, where they served as a background to the altar.
Now they are hung during Advent in the same location in the renovated Fellowship Hall. Grapevines with leaves and flowers are integrated into the designs and used as border elements on each panel. On the first, third, and fifth panels are drawings that depict shepherds tending sheep, listening to an angel; the Holy Family in the stable with angels above; and the Wise Men bearing gifts with the star overhead. The second and fourth panels provide accounts of Jesus’ birth from the King James Version of Luke and Matthew. Laura, known as Decorah’s ‘”Nisse Lady,” her husband Victor and children, Carol and Robert, were charter members of Good Shepherd.