Each year Good Shepherd parishioners provide Christmas gifts for local children from underprivileged families. This year, to help keep everyone taking part safe from COVID, we’re going to give the children gift cards instead of specific presents. We’ve committed to providing cards for 40 children — to donate funds for one or more cards ($50 per card), you can send a check to Good Shepherd or click here to donate online (be sure to write “Christmas Stars” in the memo line of your check or online form). Donations are due December 20th.
Good Shepherd’s Day School ministry was featured in the bishops’ address at Diocesan Convention as an example of how parishes have engaged in direct services to the community during the pandemic.
In addition, our senior warden, Mary Palmer, spoke during the convention’s Christian Formation presentation about Good Shepherd’s participation in the Christian Essentials program, which Nan Bayless and Britt Myers facilitated this fall.
Click here to watch these short videos, as well as the 2021 pledge campaign videos from Tom Betts, Dwight Johnson, H.I. Tharrington, Ana Katherine Weeks.
Click here for the online pledge form.
November 8, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the Church of the Good Shepherd,
Recently we’ve been reflecting on how difficult it can be to feel thankful during this pandemic. But although a great deal has been taken away from us, our Lord Christ has not stopped showing us with love. Considering both the challenges and the blessings of this unique time, we thought a good theme for this year’s Pledge Campaign would be “Gratitude in the Time of Pandemic.”
We can’t ignore the reality of how much we’ve lost as a result of COVID, and a list of the church’s accomplishments may be shorter when compared to past years. But 2020 has also been a year of profound blessing at Good Shepherd, and we have much to be thankful for…
We initiated and plan to complete “Sacred Ground,” a faith based dialogue series on race sponsored by the Episcopal church, and twenty-nine parishioners accepted this opportunity to explore America’s history of race and racism. It’s inspiring to hear from participants about how they grew in Christ’s love while weaving together threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.
We were a pioneering parish for the new Christian Essentials prayer/study group, where participants learned about their Episcopal faith and deepened their relationship with God and one another.
At the request of the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, our Day School remained open during the pandemic for the children of essential workers. In addition, we are thrilled to announce that our Day School is projected to finish the year with a financial surplus. In 2017 the vestry, believing in the important ministry of the Day School, committed to a three year funding plan in hopes that the school would achieve this goal. We are incredibly thankful to the staff and our ad hoc Day School Committee for this success.
We were able to upgrade our video capabilities and begin streaming a church service every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Also, our cloister garden has been transformed into a beautiful outdoor worship space, now used for the 8:00 a.m. service, that provides a true sense of the Spirit of God.
This is not a bad list of accomplishments under the current circumstances, and our bishops have remarked that we’re a model for other parishes in the diocese. All that we do to share Christ in the world is only possible with your generosity of monies and Spirit.
Now some challenging news: since we can’t pass the plate each Sunday, our financial giving is approximately $30,000 behind last year’s. Fortunately, a Payroll Protection grant has helped to stabilize us financially, but that money has now been spent. We ask each of you to prayerfully consider your financial commitment to the church for the coming year and to make a pledge that will allow the vestry to balance the 2021 budget without cutting staff or ministries.
As we continue this journey through the pandemic, your funding commitment to the church is especially appreciated. But more importantly than that, your pledge is an expression of faith that, as Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39, “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.”
Peace, Health and happiness to you all,
Mary Palmer, Senior Warden Jim Curtis, Junior Warden
P.S. Please send your enclosed pledge form (or submit one at pledge.goodshepherdrmt.org) by December 5th so we can include it in our pledge offering during the 10:30 a.m. service on December 6th.
Good Shepherd is responsible for delivering meals on the third Monday and Tuesday of each month, and we need someone to volunteer for a route or two so this important ministry can continue. The pick up point is First Presbyterian Church, and the route only takes about 45 minutes (and COVID protocols are in-place to keep you safe). If you would like to volunteer, please call Katie Rose at 252-450-5503.
Deadline: November 14th
Good Shepherd is continuing its tradition of providing Thanksgiving meals to families associated with the Bassett Center and the Down East Partnership for Children, as well to the Good Shepherd Day School staff. The outreach committee’s goal is to provide 100 meals, but because of COVID we’re going to give out grocery store gift cards instead of distributing the meals. To participate, write a check ($35.00 per meal gift card) to “Good Shepherd” or visit donate.goodshepherdrmt.org and write/type “turkey card” in the memo section.
Scholastic Book Fair Goes Virtual
Join us November 6th – 16th
Everything is different in times of a pandemic — so this year’s Good Shepherd Day School Scholastic Book Fair is online. Click here for a very convenient way to purchase excellent books, to contribute to the Day School, and to support young readers. All books will ship to your house, and there is no shipping fee for orders over $25.00.
8:00 a.m. Public Worship
View the 8:00 a.m. Service Leaflet here.
The bishops have added a Stage 1b to the reopening plan for the diocese (you can read the entire plan here). During stage 1b churches can hold outdoor public worship, and at Good Shepherd we will offer a rite I service of Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m. each Sunday (weather permitting). This service, which will take place in the in the cloister garden, is limited to 25 people.
To be as safe as possible at our outdoor worship, everyone is required to…
- wear a mask,
- observe social distance of at least 6 feet,
- print the bulletin at home (available here) and bring it to the service, and
- bring a chair (spots will be marked for chair placement).
Please note that the risks involved with attending church remain high, and it is strongly recommended that elders, people with health concerns, and/or those who exhibit any of the following symptoms continue to worship from home during stage 1b.
- cough or shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- fever or chills
- fatigue, muscle pain, or body aches
- sore throat
- new loss of taste or smell
- congestion or runny nose
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
The 8:00 a.m. service will not be live streamed, but we will continue to live stream a service at 10:30 each Sunday, which you can participate in by visiting gslive.org.
10:30 a.m. Live Stream
To help us join together as the Body of Christ while we stay at home, we’ll continue to live stream our service each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (the prelude begins around 10:25 a.m.) for as long as the moratorium on public worship is in effect. To tune in to the live stream or to watch recordings of previous services, click the button below or go to gslive.org. And remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Signup Deadline: September 14th
First Class: September 21st
Christian Essentials is a NEW opportunity for small groups to “explore, grow and deepen your relationship with God, neighbor, world and self.” There are 5 different Modules available (you can participate in one or more of these Modules, as you wish), and each module consists of six sessions.
The first group will begin the module “Love God” on September 21st and will meet via Zoom from 7:00 to 8:30. p.m. for a total of six Monday nights (Introduction, Worship, Bible Study, Spiritual Practices, Basics of Our Faith, and Stewardship). The groups are limited to eight or fewer participants, so there will be one or two groups depending on how many sign-up. (To sign up, email Tom Parker.)
To provide us with this opportunity, four of our members have received training and will be facilitating: Nan Bayless is our lead facilitator, assisted by Britt Myers. The additional facilitators are Mary Palmer and Emily Bondy.
9:00 – 9:45 a.m. on Sundays
The Sunday morning Bible meets each week via zoom 9:00 until 9:45 a.m. All are invited to join in for a discussion of the day’s gospel reading and how it applies to our lives. No preparation or commitment required.
Click here to participate in the group (meeting ID 942 3712 7544, password Shepherd). To participate via phone, dial (301) 715-8592 and enter the meeting ID.
Sunday, September 13th
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
After church on September 13th, we will have a hymn sing via Zoom.
Paul and Emily Bondy will be leading the singing of the hymns from the church, and you can join in from home via zoom by clicking here (the meeting id is 927 0473 1193 and the password is Shepherd.) You can also participate using your phone by calling (301) 715-8592 and entering the meeting id.