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Quarterly Letter- October 2020

Dear great people of Good Shepherd!

We have exciting things to share on the progress we’re making in several key areas of our parish life and how we are living out our mission in new ways.

Staff Updates – We are blessed by the talents, gifts and commitment of our staff members and blessed by the role they play in the life of our community.

  • The Rev. Brandon Ashcraft, our Curate for Liturgy & Formation, has accepted a call to serve as Assistant Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, a historic parish located in suburban Cleveland and the largest parish in the Diocese of Ohio. Brandon will continue his ministry with us through the end of the year. We are so glad to help launch Brandon’s ordained ministry, and we have benefited from his many gifts for ministry. We wish him all the best as he heads to Ohio.
  • The Rev. Marcea Paul has been our Curate for Pastoral Care for the past two years. We are blessed by her leadership and pastoral presence in the life of our community. I am pleased to announce that Marcea is now our Priest for Pastoral Care. This means that Marcea is with us in a permanent position, instead of a time-limited curacy.
  • Jennifer Jones is our new Communication Director. She is a seasoned communications professional and we are impressed with her focus on community in her previous work and believe she will help us reach more people with the good news of our worship and programs.
  • Sarah Masterson has been a tremendous anchor for us as our interim Communications Director. She will conclude her time with us this month. We are grateful for her leadership and the gifts that she so generously shared with us.
  • Jessica Riels is our new Children and Family minister. She is a trained Godly Play instructor and is passionate about helping children and families discover and deepen their understanding of God’s love for them. We are excited about the energy she will bring to our ministries with children and their families.
  • We continue to interview for the position of Youth Minister and are pleased with our progress. Look for updates soon.

Shepherd Circles – One of the most important ways we have fostered connection during the pandemic is to organize parishioners into Shepherd Circles. These groups meet regularly to form and deepen relationships, explore their faith and support one another in prayer. They are also the primary way Channing is meeting members of the parish. Please join if you haven’t already – click HERE to sign up. Channing is impressed with how quickly the sense of relationship develops within the very first meeting—another sign of Good Shepherd community’s character. Many thanks to Aimee Bostwick and her convenors for making this possible.

The Hill – We are grateful for the leadership of the Rev. Trawin Malone as our interim vicar of The Hill. His experience in congregational development and ministry is a huge asset to us during this time of transition. Since the beginning of the year, a committee has examined the relationship between the Windsor Campus and The Hill. The committee envisions strengthening the ties between The Hill and the Windsor Campus to further our deep desire to meet new neighbors and to serve those outside of our parish. Channing is meeting with the committee to hear about its work. Once a position description is created for the new permanent priest for The Hill, we will begin discerning with candidates.

Outreach – Since the start of the pandemic, our parish has donated food to Community First! Village to support its ministry to those coming out of chronic homelessness. Such generosity allows Community First! to remain safe and COVID-free. At our Welcome Parade last month, you donated over 300 bags of food – three times more than our goal of 100 bags! We invite you to become a part of this ministry by picking up the donated food from Good Shepherd and taking it to Community First! Village. You can sign-up HERE.

Finance – We appreciate your ongoing commitment to the mission and ministry of the parish and are grateful for all of your gifts to the parish. Your gifts make everything we do possible.

At the end of September, the parish was behind budget in pledge payments and plate gifts by approximately 5% or $130,000. Our expenses so far in 2020 are lower than we budgeted, but we expect that expenses will be closer to budgeted amounts by the end of the year. Although we benefited from reduced utility and maintenance costs while our campuses were closed, we had to significantly increase our expenditures on video equipment.

During this turbulent year, we worked to fund parish ministries to maximize their impact during the pandemic and to position the parish to continue its ministries once the pandemic is over. With your steadfast commitment to the parish, we know we can meet these goals.

Columbarium project – We are pleased with the progress of construction on our columbarium and garth project, and we expect it to be complete during the first quarter of the new year. This renovated area will be a wonderful outdoor space and a fitting place to remember those we love who are interred there. We are thankful for the generous donations that have made this project possible.

During construction we interred all of the remains from the columbarium in the chapel altar inside the church building. Once we have a date for reinterring remains in the renovated columbarium, we will contact the next of kin of those interred. We appreciate being part of honoring your loved ones.

If you are interested in reserving a niche in the columbarium, please click HERE.

Roof update – A component of the Windsor campus church building’s roof failed, and the roof is being replaced at no cost to the parish. We anticipate completion by the end of the year. In the meantime, construction fencing will run along the north and east sides of the church building.

Reopening – Each Sunday at 6 pm in either the Windsor Campus parking garage or at The Hill, we offer an outdoor in-person service of Holy Eucharist for up to 50 people. We invite you to RSVP beginning each Tuesday at 9 am by visiting our website. We are excited to begin to worship together in-person. Please note that the location varies each week, please check. We are glad this service is embraced and a welcomed opportunity to be together.

Program Update – All of our formation programs moved online at the start of the pandemic, and we’re glad many of our offerings have grown in attendance during this time! You can see all of our offerings by clicking HERE. Our weekday formation groups continue to study together, and our anti-racism work continues virtually following the Sacred Ground curriculum. In January, we plan to offer an opportunity to sign up for new Sacred Ground groups, and we ask that you prayerfully consider whether you are called to participate.

Hillside Early Childhood Center – The adaptability of Hillside to the new pandemic protocols is inspiring. Hillside truly changes lives by offering high-quality early-childhood education in the neighborhood of The Hill. Current enrollment is close to pre-pandemic levels. Its board is focused on enrollment as well as additional funding to secure the school’s future. Suzanne Garza, Hillside’s Head of School, has been a presence of encouragement and hope during these months. We are grateful for her leadership and strong commitment to the families that we serve through Hillside.

Good Shepherd Episcopal School – Good Shepherd Episcopal School has reopened and the school year is off to a successful start. The school added classrooms on the second floor of the Education Center and reduced class sizes in keeping with pandemic protocols. Children are often outside on the Windsor campus having class and chapel outside. Sheila Abio, Head of School, and the school board worked hard to plan for this year – with all of its challenges! We appreciate their leadership and are glad the school year is underway.

The Spirit continues to pour its blessing upon us. However, none of this would be possible without your presence in our community, your prayers for one another and for our ministries, and your support. Thank you!

We look forward to updating you again at our annual meeting in January. Should you have any questions in the meantime, please contact us. It is an honor for us to be part of the Good Shepherd community.

God’s peace,

Categories: Parish News, Parish News Blog, Quarterly Letter