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A Good Word from the Rector: Choose Your Own New Year’s Adventure

Dear Parish Family & Friends,
Grace and Peace and Happy New Year! I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the new beginnings of 2017.
As always, the New Year brings new life and new opportunities at Good Shepherd. First up, please note that on Sunday, January 29, we will have a single, combined 9:00a Church service, before grabbing a breakfast taco and a cup of coffee, and heading to the PLC for our Annual Parish Meeting, set to begin at 10:40a (This is fair warning, friends: if one forgets and arrives for worship at the usual time that day, they will find a church meeting underway!). Blending the good vibrations, liturgy, and music of Communion Café, Good Shepherd on the Hill, and our usual Church service, we hope you will make plans to be a part of this once-a-year opportunity. As part of the morning’s festivities, we invite youth and children to attend the Pajama Party and Pancake Bar. The signup for which may be found by clicking here.

That headline now being duly noted, please feel free to Choose Your Own Adventure from this point forward, with the bold headings below your guide to more GS excitement than should be allowed in a single email:

Vestry Classes
At our Annual Parish Meeting on January 29, 2017, we will formally welcome our 2020 Vestry class:Taylor Bowles, Karen Fuller, Jessica Pieratt, Robert Romig, and Boots Willeford.  What a wonderful group!  We did not receive more nominations than open Vestry positions, and, therefore will not require an election. Please look for these fellow parishioners, in order that you can offer your thanks for their willingness to serve.

On that same Sunday, we will also give thanks for our outgoing, 2017 Vestry class: Milo Burdette, Jordan Cronin, Hum Mandell, Nancy McAllister, and Vickie Price.  Please look for these friends, as well, and thank them for their faithful service during what have been three very busy years!

Vestry Officers
As the gratitude continues, we give thanks to God for the leadership of Milo Burdette and Becky Svahn, who have served as Senior Warden and Junior Warden, respectively.  In fact, Milo has served in this role for two years, and his smart, centered guidance has been among our most valued gifts during this season of construction.

At the Annual Parish Meeting, Milo will pass the Senior Warden reins to Becky’s capable hands.  In her third year of Vestry service, Becky will support the transition of our attention from bricks and mortar, to people and ministry.  Joining her in leadership will be Lee Jones, as Junior Warden.  Lee, also in her third year on the Vestry (following three years on our Good Shepherd Episcopal School Board, no less) has made Good Shepherd on the Hill her worship home, and, like Becky before her, will focus her leadership and support on The Hill (and its faithful Vicar, Kathy).

Staff Transitions
After five years of service at Good Shepherd, our Parish Administrator, Jim Lamm, accepted a wonderful position right up his alley and nearer his home.  As the Vestry leadership and I gave thanks for his good work last month, we also strategized the division of his responsibilities into two, broad categories – Finance and Property – and into two new positions.
Thanks be to God, our faithful colleague, Lisa Andrews Ard, will now move from her role as Parish Accountant, into a new position as Director of Finance. In this new position, Lisa will continue to mind the parish’s till, while accepting responsibility for related areas of oversight, including Human Resources, contracts, and office management.  Combining her many years of retail experience with more than a decade of church service (along with a healthy serving of love for her hometown, Austin community and its Longhorns) we are blessed by Lisa’s move into this important ministry.
Also drawing on the deep well of talent on our continuing staff, our Facilities Manager, Miguel Figueroa, has accepted our invitation to serve as Acting Properties Manager. Good Shepherd’s longest-tenured staff member, Miguel has worked with the parish through its significant growth over these last dozen years. Miguel will now oversee the maintenance and improvement of our two campuses and four rectories: a big job! He and Lisa are already now at work to hire a third Sexton to replace the facilities work Miguel will leave behind as he transitions into his managerial role.
Finally, the Annual Parish Meeting will mark the last day in the office for our friend, Sallie Wright Milam. Last fall, Sallie Wright had the audacity to go and get engaged (!), and while we celebrate with her this upcoming season of her life, we will also miss her here on Windsor Road. During her six years on staff, Sallie Wright has worn many hats, and we give thanks for all her faithful ministry.

As we say goodbye to Ms. Milam, next Wednesday, January 25, we will welcome Lauren Beck, as theDirector of the Rector’s Office.  A graduate of Baylor’s School of Social Work, Lauren has served for four years as the Director of Community Engagement at Upbring, the one-hundred-plus-years-old organization formerly known as “Lutheran Social Services of the South.” Lauren brings excellent experience building community among a group of volunteers – while also leading them toward the achievement of a specific goal – which will serve her well in her new post at Good Shepherd.  As the Director of my office, she will collaborate with my primary staff and congregational partners, as well as lead parish projects from soup to nuts.  Please join me in welcoming her!

Annual Parish Meeting: January 29, 2017
Empowered by nothing less than the Holy Spirit, consider what amazing things you and your parish family have accomplished!
For the past eight years, each Annual Parish Meeting has marked an important threshold for our Good Shepherd community:
  • in 2010, we committed to the study of our nearly decade-old Master Plan, the first phase of which had been completed five years earlier;
  • in 2011, we announced the retirement of the debt remaining from that first phase, and we announced our intention to tithe a new capital campaign in order to address not only our parish’s and school’s urgent needs, but to address an unmet need in our broader Austin community;
  • in 2012, we commissioned five building program Task Forces: Building, Capital Campaign, Good Shepherd Episcopal School (GSES), Outreach, and Worship;
  • in 2013, we shared the work of those Task Forces, from their selection of contractors and consultants, to their strategizing an interim location for GSES, identifying new opportunities for outreach, and fashioning a plan for our worship space;
  • in 2014, we launched our parish-wide capital campaign to Build the Beloved Community;
  • in 2015, we announced our Ministry Initiatives, brainstormed by our parish and coordinated by our Vestry, to deploy our renewed physical plant and second campus to their highest and best uses;
  • and, last year, we marked the completion of our Education and Parish Life Centers, the return of GSES to our Windsor Campus, the first parish programming on our Woodland Campus, and the start of construction on our Church building.
Thanks be to God, 2016 was the Year of Fulfillment for which we hoped and prayed: we celebrated the launch of Sunday worship at Good Shepherd on the Hill; we returned to the Church for Christmas Eve; and we stretched our programmatic legs with a full year in our new ministry spaces. Looking forward to 2017, we now work toward sustainability: discovering the ways God has equipped us for powerful worship in our renewed and expanded Church; strengthening the foundation of our numerical growth with programming and community-building excellence; and pouring new foundations for outreach beyond our Windsor Campus, specifically building toward the launch of that campus’ early-childhood center.
At the Annual Parish Meeting, we will offer financial updates, including word of our 2016 year-end budget performance; our 2017 budget plan; and our capital campaign to Build the Beloved Community. We will receive the “View from The Hill,” including reports of the worshipping congregation and early-childhood center plans. All of this, of course, to accompany a construction update, as well as further detail of the Vestry and staff transitions named above. We hope to see you there!
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