Dear People of Good Shepherd,
Invite, Welcome, Connect. These three words describe the ministry of the church, the Body of Christ. They also describe our basic human longings -- to be seen and sought after, to be accepted, and to belong. We ourselves were once invited, welcomed and connected to this community of faith. Reflect on when and how that happened for you at Good Shepherd. How were you invited? Who welcomed you? Where did you discover a connection?
Invite Welcome Connect is the name of an actual ministry out of Sewanee, the Episcopal Seminary of the South, that encourages congregations and dioceses to develop intentional practices of evangelism (invite), hospitality (welcome) and belonging (connection). I believe in its power to transform the church.
I will continue to preach and share resources about how we can engage in these practices and would encourage you all to consider how the updates below and the information within this newsletter are opportunities for us all to invite, welcome, and connect with one another.
Our summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day) Sunday worship schedule is one service of Holy Eucharist with music at 10am, followed by Coffee in the Courtyard ...and Popsicles on the Playground. Chip Hicks has agreed to lead our usher ministry and is looking to recruit for this ministry of welcome. We also need volunteers to host Coffee Hour and purchase some refreshments for an assigned Sunday; contact me or Barbara to sign up. The coffee and popsicles are provided by the church.
The Bishop’s visit has been changed to August 15. A reminder that this visit is a time to celebrate our connection to the wider church with confirmations, receptions and reaffirmations. Confirmation is a mature, public affirmation of one’s faith and a renewed commitment to the responsibilities of baptism. Reception is for those who have been confirmed in another tradition/denomination and wish to be received in the Episcopal Church. Reception is not a rejection of one’s previous affiliation but an opportunity to be embraced by the Episcopal or Anglican tradition. People can also prepare for Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. Any baptized Christian might choose reaffirmation to mark a new or renewed commitment to their faith and spiritual formation. Contact me if you are interested in or curious about any of these sacramental rites.
This past Sunday, I was honored to be invited to offer the invocation at the Memorial Day Ceremony held at the Veterans Memorial across from our church. It is a very moving service and tribute to those who have served and currently serve in our Armed Forces and those who gave their lives doing so.
The Gospel imperatives of invite, welcome and connect are not limited to what is happening within the walls of our church buildings. There is service and ministry happening in our community, beyond our walls, to which we would be blessed to be invited, welcomed and connected.
These past fourteen months have changed our habits and have changed us, but the longing to belong to something greater, to be accepted and to be loved remains. There are some among us awaiting invitations, hoping for warm welcomes, and in need of new connections. Consider how you and how we can offer this ministry to one another….and let me know. With joy, Amanda