I received some inspiring news that I want to share with those who may not have heard. On a recent Tuesday evening, nineteen young women from Hayesville High met with a group of our women to launch a new ministry to young women. They shared a meal, talked about ideas for the group, and are meeting again. That same week, a similar number of younger folks gathered on a Friday evening with the leaders of our Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Council for food, games, fun, and movies. You may have seen the banner for this young people’s event out on the driveway. My heart is full of gratitude and thanksgiving for all those who helped make these two events happen. The next day, Saturday, I came to church and found a hearty bunch of parishioners working toward completing our playground and then dressing up our grounds. I have heard that the public has noticed our playground. That same day, thirty four women attended an informative talk given by Dr. Bud Edmondson on Women’s Heart Health. There were a number of visitors to Good Shepherd in that audience. And then, the next day, Sunday! Whoever has been inviting friends and sharing the good news about Good Shepherd, keep it up. If you have been sitting near the back at the 10:45 service, I think you have seen what I have seen: lots of new faces, families, and children. Friends, the nursery is full! Thank you, Cheryl and nursery volunteers. You are making an impact.
Good things are happening and continue to happen at Good Shepherd. Please join me in giving thanks to God for these many blessings. Believe me, there are more to share. Your vestry has provided for us a vision for our parish to boldly engage the world, to share the blessings we have received, and to create something of Heaven on Earth in our community. The bold engagement is happening, the blessings are being shared, and folks are finding their way to Good Shepherd. Be sure to welcome them by introducing yourself to those whom you do not know and making it a practice to say hello to them when you see them. When we visited a small church in Wisconsin near where I was in seminary, a man named Mark greeted us at a campfire cookout that followed church that day. The next time we attended, there was Mark making it a point to greet us by name. Mark was not a greeter or an usher. He just did what I hope all of us would do in recognizing new people and greeting them by name, making it a point to let them know that they recognized and known. Let us all be good shepherds of these folks that God is leading to Good Shepherd.
In gratitude and thanksgiving for all of you,