Shrove Tuesday Gumbo

Tuesday, February 16th

Although the pandemic doesn’t allow us to gather together for this annual event, Emily and Paul Bondy’s famous seafood-free Louisiana Gumbo will be available for carry-out.

Here’s the scoop:

  1. Order
    Contact Tom Parker, our Parish Administrator, here or at 252-442-1134 and let him know how much you would like:
    $10 for a pint
    $15 for a quart
    (Proceeds will go towards Good Shepherd’s outreach ministries.)
  1. Pick-Up
    Come to the church on Shrove Tuesday (February 16th) between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. to pick-up you Gumbo (you can pay by cash or write a check to “Church of the Good Shepherd” with “gumbo” in the memo line).

You’ll have to supply your own Mardi Gras beads and decorations this year, but we’ll plan a big party in 2022.


Matt Johnson Resigns as 17th Rector

January 19, 2021

Dear Friends,

Having consulted with the bishop, I informed the vestry at its meeting this evening of my intention to resign as the 17th rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd.  My last Sunday with you will be during the great fifty days of Easter (the wardens and I will be in touch with details in the coming weeks), and at the end of the school year my family and I will relocate to Germany.  

Although Katharina and I feel the decision to move to Germany is the best for our family, it will be difficult to leave you.  Seven years ago you welcomed Katharina, me, and Elli (and Clara a few months later) to Good Shepherd and made us part of this parish family.  Through you Elli and Clara have come to know the real presence of Christ, and my experience of the living God has grown here more than I could have ever imagined.  Whether celebrating the birth of a child or sitting at the deathbed of a beloved spouse or parent, it has been an incredible privilege to be invited into the sacredness of your lives.  I will always be grateful for the time we have had together following Christ as fellow disciples on the journey.

Through all the ups and downs of life and ministry, I have been inspired by the faithfulness of this parish family.  The vestries you have chosen each year have grounded their decisions in prayer and bible study, while at the same time remaining mindful of their call to be good stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to this parish.  Their Christ-centered approach has supported the ministry of Good Shepherd, especially through our Day School, to be a beacon of light that spreads the love of God in transformative ways throughout both this congregation and the wider community.

Communal life in the church can be difficult, and there have been disagreements (sometimes painful ones) about how God is calling Good Shepherd to work for beloved community.  To help us navigate those challenges, I have striven to foster a parish based mutual ministry and healthy, direct communication.  Although I have tried to serve as your rector with the best of the gifts God has given me, please know how deeply sorry I am for the times when I fell short in my ministry to this parish community or to you personally.

There’s a scene in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Relics” (I had to fit in one Star Trek reference!) when the new Enterprise’s captain, Jean-Luc Picard, and the old Enterprise’s chief engineer, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, reminisce about their first experiences as captain/chief engineer.  Scotty reflects, “Ah, it’s like the first time you fall in love. You don’t ever love a woman quite like that again.”  I would say the same for my first experience as rector of a parish.  Although I will go on to other ministries, there will never be another Good Shepherd.   

As you and I enter a period of transition, I want to express my gratitude for the support of our bishops and canons.  In particular, Sam Rodman (Bishop of North Carolina) and David Sellery (Canon for Congregational Mission) have been immensely helpful.  They, along with Anne Hodges-Copple (Bishop Suffragan) and the other diocesan canons, are people of deep faith, and their guidance will be invaluable both to me and to the parish.

Paul reminds us “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  Our journey together is approaching its end, but we will remain forever connected through the love of God in Christ.  As we prepare to go forward on separate paths, I offer Henri-Frédéric Amiel’s words of encouragement, which I have prayed before the blessing at many Sunday services:
Life is short, and we don’t have much time to gladden the hearts of those who join us on our earthly pilgrimage.  So be swift to love, make haste to show kindness, shower abundant hospitality on friend and stranger. 
The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Yours in Christ,

Matt Johnson, Rector


January 19, 2021

Dear Members in Christ,

As your wardens, this is a very difficult letter to write.  After spending time in discernment with Matt and Bishop Sam, we have reluctantly accepted the resignation of the Very Reverend Matthew Johnson as our rector.  Since the Johnson family plans to relocate to Germany this summer, Matt’s final Sunday with us will be sometime this spring (we will be in communication with the exact date and other details once they are determined).  We have come to know Matt and Katharina over the last seven years, especially during a difficult 2020 as we have supported both our Church and Day School during the pandemic, and it will be hard to say good-bye.

Since 2014 we have faced a number of challenges in the life of our parish.  Together, we have mourned the deaths of many devoted members, and we are thankful for Matt’s pastoral presence among us (he even changed vacation plans to Germany so that he might remain at the death bed of a beloved parishioner).  We have appreciated his much needed support to parishioners seeking guidance and his encouragement of small prayer groups in which we can support one another.  In particular, beginning with the Discipleship program (which he guided for four years) Matt has worked to expand the variety of groups that explore the scriptures.  And Katharina has shared in this small group ministry, developing bible studies and our especially successful Sacred Ground program.  The list of their accomplishments and great devotion to the parish and wider community could go on much longer…

In the midst of this uncertain time, Matt, Katharina, and your wardens have tried to remain faithful to our call of caring for the least among us.   Like many of you, we have often felt depleted by the pandemic and frustrated the COVID safety protocols, which have left us unable to respond to the needs of our community like we usually would.  We’re grateful that Matt and Katharina have remained with us during this challenging time, but soon we will need to say farewell to them and their daughters Elli and Clara.  Although we will be sad at their departure, we hope you will join us in celebrating their ministry here and praying for their future in Germany, where they can be closer to Katharina’s family. 

As we meet these new challenges it is important to know that we have the full support of Bishop Sam and Canon Sellery (Canon for Congregational Mission), Canon Massey (Canon for Transition and Pastoral Ministries), and Canon French (Interim East Regional Canon), who will be integral parts of the transition process.  Also, the bishop has asked that, in accordance with canonical requirements, the current vestry remain in place, with the two of us continuing to serve as your wardens, until we can have an in-person Annual Meeting (no later than winter 2021-2022).  This continuity in vestry leadership, necessitated by the COVID-19 restrictions, will be beneficial as we begin the transition process.  

We ask that you keep the Johnson family in your prayers as they pursue this new adventure.  And as we all begin a new chapter in the life of our parish, please also pray for your vestry.  We are confident that with all of our prayers and efforts, we will find the path Our Lord and Savior has laid before us.

With prayerful, kind regards,

Mary Palmer, Senior Warden
Jim Curtis, Junior Warden



8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist Suspended


Due to the rising number of COVID cases in Nash and Edgecombe counties, Good Shepherd is temporally suspending services of Holy Eucharist at 8:00 a.m.Although we still still offer an outdoor liturgy of Morning Prayer, attendance is discouraged (except for those who may be going through a spiritual crisis) until we can gather more safely.


January 19th Memorial for COVID Victims


On Tuesday, January 19th, there will be a ceremony around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19. As part of the observance, Good Shepherd, along with other churches around the country, will join in a national moment of unity and remembrance by ringing its bell at 5:30 p.m. You can participate by watching at gslive.org and ringing bells at home.


Prayers and Thanksgivings for the Nation during January 10th Services


TOMORROW, Sunday, January 10th, 
during the 8:00 and 10:30 services
As we continue to process the disturbing events that took plat at our nation’s capitol last Wednesday, we will offer prayers and thanksgivings for the United States during tomorrow’s 8:00 a.m. outdoor eucharist and 10:30 a.m. live stream worship (watch at gslive.org.)


A Collect for the National Life
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from the Book of Common Prayer, page 820)


Diocese Announces Anti-racism Programming for Winter 2021


The Diocesan Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee (RJRC) has announced “The Journey to Racial Equity: A Three-Part Series.” More information about the two remaining parts of this series is available on the diocesan website.

Part 2: January 17 – February 6
21-Day Habit Building Challenge
Details and registration info to be announced.
This challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege and leadership. Participants will receive daily challenges, such as reading an article, listening to a podcast or reflecting on personal experience. To help participants reflect on what they discover, on January 17, 24 and 31, at the conclusion of each of each week of the challenge, the RJRC will host an hour-long Zoom conversation to connect with one another on the topics covered in the previous week and ways they affect our communities and even our churches.

Part 3: February 9, 7:00 p.m.
“An Evening with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II” (webinar)
Register here.
An author, preacher and professor, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, is the chief architect of the “Forward Together Moral Movement.” A powerful preacher and ardent activist, Barber will speak about the theology of justice and the effects of racism in our communities.


Videos of Christmas Services


Did you miss the livestreams of Good Shepherd’s Christmas services? Not to worry — you can watch them (including Lessons and Carols, the Christmas Eve Christ Mass, and all of our other recent liturgies) at videos.goodshepherdrmt.org.


Christmas Sunday Drive-In Eucharist

Christmas Sunday Drive-In Eucharist

SUNDAY, December 27th
NO MORNING SERVICES
4:40 p.m. — Live Musical Prelude
5:00 p.m. — Service Begins

View the service leaflet here.

Jingle Bells, Christmas Trees, and Holly — Get Ready for Good Shepherd’s Christmas Sunday Drive In Service

We have put together a Drive In Christmas Sunday Service, which will allow you to come in your comfy clothes with little ones in their PJs and blankies to celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Although the service begins at 5:00 p.m., live musical offerings will begin at 4:40 p.m., so we’re asking you to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m.  When you enter the parking lot, a vestry member will show you where to park so everyone’s car can face the parish hall (the Flower Guild has plans to transform the area in front of our parish hall into a sacred space with light and decorative touches befitting the season).  To help you participate in the service, Matt, Velinda, Lawrence (with piano), singers, and readers will be at the top of the steps where you can see them, and their microphones will be connected to an FM transmitter so you’ll be able to hear everything live through your car radio (we’ll let you know the frequency when you arrive).

We hope you’ll decorate your cars (Christmas window pictures, reindeer antlers, festive lights, large Santa hats – the tackier the better!)  Also, it would be helpful if you would make a sign to put under your windshield indicating how many in your car would like to receive communion (only the bread will be administered).  In addition to communion, we’ll also bring the offering plate to you – you can stay in your car the whole time!

To help us prepare, please click here to let us know you’re coming, or call Tom Parker, our Parish Administrator, at 252-442-1134.


UPDATED Christmas at Good Shepherd

Traditional Christ Mass

Thursday, December 24th
10:00 p.m. — Musical Prelude
10:30 p.m. — Service Begins
via livestream at gslive.org

View the service leaflet here.

Since about A.D. 430, Christians have gathered around midnight on Christmas Eve for the Christ Mass, a communion celebration in thanksgiving for the birth of Christ. This year Good Shepherd will be celebrating this service, which is conducted in traditional Elizabethan (Rite I) English with scripture readings from the King James Bible, virtually at gslive.org.


Christmas Day Outdoor Eucharist

Friday, December 25th, at 10:30 a.m.
on the Parish Hall walkway

View the service leaflet here.

Join us on Christmas Morning for a simple, spoken, outdoor service of Holy Communion. Be sure to bundle up, and remember to bring a chair and wear a mask.


Christmas Sunday Drive-In Eucharist

SUNDAY, December 27th
NO MORNING SERVICES
4:40 p.m. — Live Musical Prelude
5:00 p.m. — Service Begins

View the service leaflet here.

Jingle Bells, Christmas Trees, and Holly — Get Ready for Good Shepherd’s Christmas Sunday Drive In Service

We have put together a Drive In Christmas Sunday Service, which will allow you to come in your comfy clothes with little ones in their PJs and blankies to celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Although the service begins at 5:00 p.m., live musical offerings will begin at 4:40 p.m., so we’re asking you to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m.  When you enter the parking lot, a vestry member will show you where to park so everyone’s car can face the parish hall (the Flower Guild has plans to transform the area in front of our parish hall into a sacred space with light and decorative touches befitting the season).  To help you participate in the service, Matt, Velinda, Lawrence (with piano), singers, and readers will be at the top of the steps where you can see them, and their microphones will be connected to an FM transmitter so you’ll be able to hear everything live through your car radio (we’ll let you know the frequency when you arrive).

We hope you’ll decorate your cars (Christmas window pictures, reindeer antlers, festive lights, large Santa hats – the tackier the better!)  Also, it would be helpful if you would make a sign to put under your windshield indicating how many in your car would like to receive communion (only the bread will be administered).  In addition to communion, we’ll also bring the offering plate to you – you can stay in your car the whole time!

To help us prepare, please click here to let us know you’re coming, or call Tom Parker, our Parish Administrator, at 252-442-1134.


A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 20, at 5:00 p.m. 
via livestream at gslive.org

This much loved annual candlelight service, sung by soloists from the Alleluia and Good Shepherd Choirs, will include traditional carols, hymns, and anthems.  

Click here for the service leaflet, and click here to watch the live stream.