During this season of Advent, our worship theme from Sanctified Art is From Generation to Generation. In different elements of worship from the confession, to advent candle lighting, to songs, to prayers, to scripture, we’ll be reflecting on images and stories that remind us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. We ask: What does it look like to practice belonging to one another? To our congregation? To our Christian body of faith? In this 75th year of Good Shepherd’s remarkable story, we hear again that our welcoming nature stems back to our very beginnings as a congregation.
I believe those experiences are still present in the spiritual DNA that forms the heart and the habits of the people of Good Shepherd. Like those early worshipers and members, we too share the responsibility to pass down to future generations the stories of our spiritual habits of stewardship and belonging.
Here are some stories which I as pastor have been privileged to observe and hear:
I heard Craig tell his story about moving from shock, despair, and isolation to healing and hope through the ministry of Good Shepherd. He said, “Going to church gave me new life. . . I found a lot of people were in the same position I was. I was kind of amazed that these people were concerned about me. Going to Good Shepherd really has helped me heal. It’s given me focus and hope.”
When Tim and Diane came to Good Shepherd for the first time, I talked with them in the Welcome Space after worship. They gestured to the quilt on the wall with a portion of our Welcome Statement on it. “That’s why we’re here,” they told me. As we spoke, another newcomer to worship approached us, telling us he’d been coming for the last month. He had been worried how people would receive him if they knew about his past. As he told us with joy how he’d been received, Diane asked if she could give him a hug. Her hug, offered and welcomed, was a tangible sign of what so many experience at Good Shepherd as a reflection of God’s grace in our lives.
You are a part of creating these kinds of stories. By the grace of God, the atmosphere in worship which you help create, the authentic fellowship which you extend, and the self-giving forms of service you offer alongside others helps form a community of faith at Good Shepherd where the love of God is demonstrated.
This time each year we talk about stewarding our financial resources. But to practice Christian stewardship and be moved by it is to consider how we shepherd our whole lives – through word and habit, and with God and each other – to be expressions of gospel love in the world. Christ’s gospel calls for an alternative way of being in the world that places love at the center.
I am grateful to be a part of a congregation which from its founding to its present ministries seeks to provide a sense of belonging to others as a reflection of the grace of God. Just like we all share the responsibility to welcome newcomers to worship, we all share in the responsibility to offer our financial gifts that respond to God’s grace which we know in our baptism, see reflected in the life and ministry of Jesus, and experience as we receive Communion.
You can complete your Estimate of Giving online here or you can complete a card during Sunday worship throughout December. We’ll include a prayer of dedication in worship as you submit these commitments. For those of you who currently give on-line regularly, your financial commitment is also recorded as a pledge but we encourage you to also fill out this physical card and return it as an act of worship in December.
Certainly, people have differing financial circumstances as well as different responses.
If you regularly submit an Estimate of Giving each year, thank you for your ongoing support of Good Shepherd.
If you’ve not made a financial gift to Good Shepherd in the past, we’d like to encourage you to join us in doing so.
Should your circumstances change next year, please contact me or Director of Finance, Deanna Gaunt to make adjustments.
We also make use of a variety of ways to give: checks/cash given in worship or mailed to the church office, online giving through this website, the Vanco Mobile App, or setting up recurring giving through your bank. All of the options to give are expressions of your thanks to God and your participation in God’s work in the world.
If you have a particular need, prayer concern, or question, I welcome your contact by my email address at PrScott@goodshepherdreno.org or phone call to the church office at (775) 329-0696, ext. 102.
Thank you for sharing in the ministry of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.