From the Rector: Celebrating Endings and Beginnings

Craig MacColl.JPG

I hope that you took the time to read Alwen Bledsoe’s letter announcing her departure from Good Shepherd on September 17. In her letter Alwen described the many different areas of parish life that she has been involved in over the past four years. It has been a joy to have Alwen as a Family and Youth Minister, as a Transitional Deacon and as our Curate, and I will miss her as a friend and as a colleague. Having served here without an assistant for ten years, it has been wonderful to share my priestly ministry with her over the past two years and to have someone to consult with. I have benefited from her perspective as a young parent, from her compassionate pastoral ministry with youth and adults, and from her ability to encourage and challenge me and the congregation on issues of social justice.
At this time I don’t plan to search for a new assistant priest for Good Shepherd. Given our struggle to fund a full-time Curate position in 2017, I think it is best to wait and see how our fall stewardship campaigns turns out before making any significant staffing decisions. Good Shepherd is fortunate to have two retired bishops – Jerry Winterrowd and Cal Schofield – as active parishioners, and both have indicated their willingness to celebrate and preach on an occasional basis, both on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings. The Rev. Merrie Need has also recently retired as Chaplain at St. Anne’s School, and she will also be available to assist me on occasion. 

We will be saying goodbye to Alwen after both services on Sunday, September 17, and you will soon be receiving information in the mail about a goodbye “purse” that will be presented to Alwen that day.

Although it will be sad to say goodbye to Alwen on September 17, I am looking forward to developing a new program that I will be working on this fall called “Discipleship: Explore Your Life With God.” This will be a new approach to small group adult faith formation in response to the “Spiritual Life Inventory” that was carried out in the spring.  In the past, Good Shepherd has offered a variety of adult education programs on Sunday mornings as well as week-day and week-night small group programs, such as Alpha, the Bible in 90 Days and Covenant Bible Study. Although these programs were well received and well-attended, they were not focused on intentionally helping people to learn specific ways of growing as disciples of Jesus Christ. Please read my article included in this edition of the Sheepskin, which describes two, six-week small group programs in 2017 and 2018, designed to provide adults with resources for growing in their faith. You will have an opportunity to sign-up for the first six-week series at the Parish Ministry Fair on Sunday, September 24. 

I also hope that you will stop by the basement area after the 10 am service on September 17, when we will celebrate the opening of our recently renovated Sunday School space after the 10 am service. I am very grateful to Ron Juhl, David McLaughry, Sue LeFant, Jackie Algermissen, Kate Trussler, Alwen Bledsoe and several others who put in many hours of work to re-paint the basement walls and install new flooring throughout the entire area. We hope these renovations will make our basement into a very attractive multi-purpose space for a variety of different programs and activities, as well as for our Sunday School. 

Yours in Christ, 
Craig +