Attached is this month’s Shepherd Staff for your reading pleasure.
I am honored to be called as the next rector of parish and am enjoying my newfound title as rector-elect. It’s a huge relief to have the discernment process in the rear view mirror and to be able to look forward to the shared journey ahead. As part of the discernment process, a word cloud was generated to provide a focused view of the feedback generated from the parish survey and focus groups. The word cloud offers a visual summary of all these findings and amplifies by size the keywords that appeared with most frequency. Interestingly, the key words community, people, and place are very prominent. The building of Eucharistic community is at the heart of what we do together and everything stems from this creative endeavor. An integral part of community building is the desire we all have to be seen, known and appreciated by others and to be a blessing to those we are in community with. The sense of sacred blessing is enhanced by the wooded location, the cherished memories that are evoked by being together, and the spiritual rootedness that Good Shepherd offers to those who join.
Other keywords that are captured in the cloud are: children, programs, and congregation. Good Shepherd has valued the nurturing and education of children since its founding in 1962, and that continues to this day. This value is reflected in the parish’s scholarship fund for the children and youth of El Ocotillo, El Salvador, and in the support given to Esperanza Academy for Girls in Lawrence, Massachusetts. By extension, the parish is a place for adults to be nurtured and educated in their faith too. This renewed desire for adult formation programs is very timely and will be met through small-group learning experiences as well as the usual seasonal offerings. The time is right for congregation members to deepen their faith through group learning and the examination of life through the lens of faith. This goal is linked to the importance of being a healthy, vital congregation, which we are all invested in and responsible for. For all of us to flourish, mature, and be a blessing to the world, we need to return to the source: the Holy Spirit of God that we encounter through congregational worship, multiple gatherings, and the very relationships that speak to us of blessing, hope, and renewal.
May the ongoing memory of who we are be captured in the Mind of God and reflected in our ongoing witness to the teachings of the Risen Jesus Christ.