The Sheepskin

The parish newsletter for Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.

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Join Good Shepherd Parishioners For Brain Tumor Walk on June 3

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

The Outreach Committee is excited to let the congregation know about an outreach opportunity for the entire Parish.  On Saturday, June 3rd, Good Shepherd parishioners, including friends and family, are invited to participate in the Denver Brain Tumor Walk at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver.  The Outreach Committee has been looking for an event that would give the entire congregation an opportunity to participate in an outreach event, and we think this event fits the bill. 

We have selected a team name, the “Good Shepherd Sheep Walkers,” and we would like as many people from the congregation as possible to sign up.  You can register at the website for the walk, events.braintumor.org/denver-brain-tumor-walk, or just google Denver Brain Tumor Walk 2017.  Registration is $25 per person, and children under 18 are free—please do register your children, however, so that they can get a T-shirt.  Sloan’s Lake Park is at West 17th Ave. and Utica in Denver.  The 5K walk begins at 9:00 am on Saturday the 3rd, and the event actually starts at 8:30.  When you register, there will be instructions to find our team name.  We will try generally to walk together as a team, although those of you who want to show up the rest of us and run, or walk at a slower or faster pace, should feel free to do so.  

For parishioners who are not able to participate in the walk, there are a couple of ways you can still donate to the cause and benefit the Good Shepherd Sheep Walkers in the process: 

  • First, you can make a donation on-line at the same website as the registration. 
  • In addition, we are asking each of our small group ministries to encourage their regular participants to walk and/or make a donation, and we are having a friendly competition and will recognize the small group that raises the most money and that has the highest level of participation. 
  • We are really encouraging people to walk—we think it will be a fun but also meaningful event for parishioners of all ages in a laid-back setting, and for a very good cause.  In addition, feel free to invite extended family, friends and neighbors to participate, and to donate to the cause if they can.

There are several parishioners at Good Shepherd who have had friends and family directly impacted by brain tumors, and that is one of the primary reasons we picked this event.  Proceeds from the event go to the National Brain Tumor Society, and allow them to advance research and public policy to help improve the lives of those diagnosed with brain tumors, as well as those who will be diagnosed, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for brain tumors.  The walk will go on wind, rain or shine—and so will we.

We have set a goal for the congregation of raising $2,000 in a combination of registrations and donations.  We think it will be a great opportunity to participate in outreach, chat with old friends and make some new friends. 

If you have questions please contact Kip Travis at kipwstiii@gmail.com, or Randy Hubbard at randyhub22@gmail.com.  Thanks for considering this.      

A Vestry Meditation: Suffering May Lead to Faith

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

Each month, for the duration of 2017, members of the Good Shepherd Vestry will share with  parishoners a devotion or reflection they have prepared for the Vestry  meeting in the previous month. This month's offering comes from our Junior Warden, Nora Earnest.

Several months ago, while sitting in church on a Sunday morning, I listened to a reading from Romans.  While I am frequently confused by the readings and often appreciate the sermon’s biblical “break-down” of the story, this particular reading had me saying to myself, “Now this I get.” 

As I listened that morning, I was struck with a portion of the reading, a well-known verse that reads, in part, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit…”

The theme of the reading centered on suffering.  While this theme may not have been the most cheery, suffering has likely entered everyone’s life at one time or another.  Suffering – whether the loss of a job, the dissolution of a marriage, or a sick child – is simply inevitable.  It is part of the human experience. 

Simply put, suffering just happens, but I believe what a person chooses to do with that suffering is a gift from God.

Countless books, magazine articles and websites have been devoted to telling the stories of how, when faced with adversity, everyday people garner inner strength to ultimately prevail over their suffering.  Children living in poverty overcome their upbringing to graduate from Ivy League schools; victims of gun violence become national advocates for gun safety; POWs held in captivity return home as national heroes…  These stories often speak to the resiliency of the human spirit and provide a harrowing narrative of the strength and perseverance living inside each one of us.  And while these stories are indeed inspiring, I find them to be largely secular in nature.  After reading these accounts, I often wonder to myself, “Where was this person’s faith through this experience?”  Faith is something that is often overlooked by the national media, but can be an integral part to overcoming adversity.  At least, it was for me.  

 As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma at age 32.  I endured two relapses, 18 different chemotherapy drugs, three separate radiation regimens, and a failed “autologous” stem cell transplant – a procedure where my own stem cells were removed and returned again after six days of high-dose chemotherapy.  It wasn’t until I had a second stem cell transplant – one that used the cells of an anonymous donor – that I finally reached a lasting remission.

In the years leading up to my remission, I spent vast amounts of time and energy doing everything in my power to try to influence the whim of the microscopic cancer cells residing in my body.  I drastically changed my approach toward diet, exercise, and nutrition, all with the expectation that I alone could influence the behavior of the cancer.  Yet, regardless of my actions, the cancer would return and I would be devastated.  Eventually, however, I reached a point of emotional exhaustion and simply let go of these attempts and relinquished my fate to God.  I realized that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t control the outcome of my cancer - it would either end my life or it wouldn’t.  And while I couldn’t control the cancer; I realized that I could control my response to the cancer.  It was then that I became open to hearing God’s plan for my life.

I believe this shift in my relationship with the cancer and with God opened my eyes to the many opportunities available to me to use my life - for however long that might be - to help others with cancer.  I created a financial scholarship fund that provides monetary gifts to parents dealing with cancer.  I speak about the transplant experience and the opportunity I had to meet my stem cell donor in 2016.  I try to use the health I now enjoy to impact the lives of others in a meaningful and encouraging way.  I try to be open to hearing God in my life.  Without suffering, I would not have faith.  And I would have never found my life’s purpose. 

For that, I am immensely grateful.

Nora Earnest

From the Rector: What Do We Mean By Spiritual Growth?

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

At a recent High Plains Region lunch honoring Parish Administrators, attendees were asked what the biggest challenge of their job was. One of the challenges of my job is helping parishioners understand what it means to grow spiritually. Over the past 36 years of ordained ministry I have found that it's very hard for Episcopal congregations to come to a consensus about what it means to be spiritual. On the one hand, many people believe that being "spiritual" means that you have to have had a dramatic, personal experience of conversion - what some Christians call being "born again." On the other hand, many people believe that you don't need to intentionally invite people to take their spiritual lives seriously; you just need to encourage people to be active in the church, by attending worship regularly and by getting involved in  some kind of ministry. The theory is that that, as people get more involved in a church community, they will begin to grow in their spiritual lives.

But, when I look at my own life, my path to spiritual growth wasn't a result of either of these factors. Yes, a dramatic personal encounter with Jesus Christ in college did encourage me to renew my faith. But what mattered most of all was a series of decisions I made - decisions to do specific things that would help me to grow in my spiritual life. Since I did not grow up in a religioius family and had little experience of praying, when I decided to train for ordination, I knew that I needed some structure, so I chose a seminary where daily community prayer was at the heart of the school's life. When I was newly ordained I felt I needed to engage in a regular pattern of daily spiritual reading and reflection, so I started keeping a daily journal. When I was a young priest and was considering where to go on retreat, I decided to go to a Trappist Monastery in the Oregon wine country, because I wanted to experience sitting in silence for an extended period of time with the monks in their retreat center. 

Over the past ten years, a tremendous amount of research has been conducted to determine what it means to grow spiritually. This research began in a large "mega-church" outside of Chicago in 2003 and this work has, more recently, been carried out by a program called "Renewal Works," which is a division of the Episcopal Forward Movement (publishers of the "Day by Day" devotional booklets). Using a survey tool that is similar to the on-line Spiritual Life Inventory that was sent to all Good Shepherd parishioners in mid-April, researchers have surveyed more than 20,000 parishioners in Episcopal churches around the country. The researchers' findings have challenged some long-standing assumptions about spiritual growth. For many years, church leaders assumed that attending church services and engaging in activities like small group Bible studies were the primary things that Christians could do to engage in a journey of spiritual growth. The thought was that more activities and a longer tenure of church attendance would lead to growth in love of God and love of others.

But what researchers discovered is that an increase in levels of church activity did not have much effect on growth in love of God and love of others. Even people who had attended church for 25 years or more did not show much of an increase in their love of God and others, compared to people who had been attending church for only a few years. 

As we will be discussing in the upcoming Faith Forum program that I will be leading in May and June, the religious landscape in America is undergoing radical changes. People are not going to church as much as they used to. Most mainline churces are not growing in significant numbers. We have seen this same pattern at Good Shepherd over the past ten years. So, is it possible that changing our focus from "church activity" to intentional spiritual growth might have a positive effect on churches like our own?

In their research, the folks at Renewal Works have discovered that one critical need that Episcopal parishioners expressed in their survey results was for church leaders to help them understand and develop a relationship with Christ. Parishioners want to grow in knowing Christ at a deep level. Additionally, they expressed the desire for the church to provide a clear pathway to help guide their spiritual growth.

Is it time for us at Good Shepherd to intentionally equip people to grow in their faith and to learn how to live out their faith in the world? Only time will tell. But I hope that, if you haven't already completed the Spiritual Life Inventory, you will do so by the extended deadline of May 15. Church leaders need to hear from you about what you need to grow spiritually, so that we can set some goals to provide a clear pathway for you to deepen your relationship with Christ. The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete and remember that, although the on-line survey will not "time out" if you discontinue filling it out, you can't "X-out" or close your internet browser or you will lose your work. Paper copies of the Inventory are also available on the table next to my sermons at church.

If you are interested in serving on what we are calling the "Next Steps Committee" - a committee to interpret the inventory results and formulate some goals for the parish - please contact me or Deb Sampson (303-916-3400; sampson.dk@gmail.com. This group will be involved in four workshops that will take place from the first week of May until mid-June.

Yours in Christ, 

Craig  +

 

 

 

May Faith Forum Features Discussion of Changing Religious Landscape

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

Beginning Sunday, May 7, the Adult Faith Forum for May and early June will feature a discussion of the noted Episcopalian author Diana Butler-Bass’s latest book, Grounded. In a time when many people are leaving behind traditional religious practices, Butler Bass argues that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us. This discussion series, led by Fr. Craig MacColl and others, will be an excellent compliment to Good Shepherd’s current Spiritual Life Inventory process, which will be concluded in May.

The Faith Forum currently meets in the small conference room across the hall from the Chapel at 8:50 am, but will move to the chapel/conference room on May 28.

Why Do We Support the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado ?

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017
Topic: 

Since Good Shepherd recently reduced its 2017 pledge to the Diocese of Colorado from 9% to 8%,  I felt (as a member of the parish Finance Committee and a member of the Diocesan Standing Committee) that it was important to remind parishioners why we support the Colorado Diocese.  It should be noted that Good Shepherd has a history of being one of the leading supporters of the Diocese of Colorado with time, talent and treasure.  Currently we have Dianne Draper and former Good Shepherd member Nancy McClung working in the Office of the Bishop, and Larry Hitt serves as the Chancellor (Chief Lawyer) for the Diocese.

 As many of you are aware the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado has a mandatory assessment of 10% of each church's Plate and Pledge income each year as the primary way to pay for their expenses.  The 98 Churches and Missions in Colorado currently average paying 9.1% of their Plate and Pledge income to the Diocese with 60 Churches paying 10% or better.

 Why Support?

 1.      We are part of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA).

 2.      A Board of Directors or Standing Committee advises the Bishop of the Diocese (The Right Rev. Robert O’Neill) and has canonical responsibilities for the Diocese.  The Diocese is divided into five Regions with a Missioner over each region.  Our current Missioner is The Rev. Chris Ditzenberger from St. Gabriel’s in Cherry Hills Village.  The High Plains Region Executive Committee has ten members, and Jim Wolfe and Deborah Sampson from Good Shepherd serve on this committee.  Each Region has one lay person and one clergy person serving on the ten person Standing Committee.  Jim Wolfe currently represents the High Plains Region on the Standing Committee as the lay representative.

 3.      The Diocese of Colorado pledges 10% of its pledge income to the National Church. In addition, the Diocese:

  • pledges to Province VI – The Episcopal Church is divided into nine Provinces.   Province VI includes Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado
  • supports the Anglican Studies program of the Iliff School of Theology
  • supports the Colorado Council of Churches
  • supports the 34 Jubilee Ministries in Episcopal Church in Colorado (Good Shepherd is one of the 34)

 4.      The Diocesan pledge funds the many ministries sponsored by the Diocese, including

  • The Annual Diocesan Convention
  • Diocesan faith formation programs
  • Seminars, training and exhibits
  • communications – Episcopalian/ website and website development/ weekly diocesan updates
  • Commission on Ministry – works with postulants and candidates for priesthood, diaconate, and continuing education for clergy and lay leaders
  • Youth – Coordinate the Quest and Genesis retreats each year
  • Child safety programs: Safeguarding God’s Children program
  • Episcopal Service Corp of Colorado
  • Congregational Development Institute (CDI) – Church training for church leaders
  • Deployment of Priests and Deacons
  • Planting new Churches/ Support for existing Churches
  • Cathedral Ridge Camp and Conference Center (where Good Shepherd's holds Vestry retreats)      Camps over the Summer for children of all ages and the Colorado Leadership Institute for teens

 Questions?  Ask Jim Wolfe (303-791-2613) or jimwolfe05@comcast.net.  Remember, we are all part of one Episcopal Church in Colorado and one Episcopal Church in America.

 

Spring Quest Retreat Slideshow!

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

This Spring's Quest youth retreat was an awesome weekend full of excitement, learning, and growth for the 17 youth, and four adult participants we had from Good Shepherd. Quest retreats are a wonderful opportunity for our youth to unplug and engage with their faith and community. The weekend was full of theatrical and interactive lessons, an amazing worship band, small group discussion, and tons of indoor and outdoor activities in beautiful Buena Vista.

Youth retreat weekends would not be possible without your love and support of Gshep Youth. Thank you from all of us!

Please check out a slideshow of the trip here! 

Rachel Whipp

Director of Youth Ministries 

Sunday School Area Renovation Ready To Get Started

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

For several months, a group of parents have been consulting with an interior decorator, and working with our volunteer Interior Building Coordinator, Ron Juhl, to create a plan to do some remodeling of our basement/Sunday School area. Funding for for this project will come from leftover roof replacement funds. After some delays, the group plans to get started on this work in May and, hopefully, complete the project by June.

After exploring a variety of different materials, the Committee has chosen an inexpensive, but very durable and attractive laminate planking that we can install entirely on our own. Parishioner and parent (and also Ron Juhl's daughter) Amanda Sullivan recently purchased and installed this flooring herself in her new yarn store, and is very happy with the result. It can be relatively easy for volunteers to install over the course of a week. Ron Juhl and Chuck Kelley will supervise the installation. 

The current plan is to repaint several sections of the basement area, remove the blue/green hallway carpet and the tan carpet in the "nook area of the basement, install a "vapor" barrier on all flooring surfaces, and then install the laminate planking. If there are sufficient funds remaining, the Committee may choose to install new flooring in the youth room.

If you are interested in helping, either with the painting or the flooring installation, please contact Jackie Algermissen (303-791-3573; algermissen@hotmail.com).  

Children's Happenings

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

A huge thank you to everyone who generously donated filled eggs for our Easter egg hunt held on Easter Sunday.  Thankfully, we had enough filled eggs not only for our church family, but for all the children who were visiting on Easter.

HEAR YE!  HEAR YE!  Vacation Bible School 2017 will take us to a Mighty Fortress where kids will learn that God is their refuge and strength.  Friends may fail them.  They may not ace their test or make the team, but God promises to be their rock and their salvation — their fortress and sure defense.  In Jesus, the victory is won!  Kids confidently celebrate that Jesus, their champion, has won the victory over sin, death, and Satan; that He acts through His Word and keeps His promises.  Because the victory is won, every day is a day to celebrate!  God’s victory is shown in the Bible accounts of the fall of Jericho, God’s rescue of King Hezekiah’s kingdom, King Josiah’s reading of God’s Word, the Savior King’s triumphal entry, and Jesus’ victory through His death and resurrection.  At Mighty Fortress, kids will look into the Bible, God’s Holy Word, to discover that God is our Mighty Fortress, our Shield and our Deliverer.  Once again, we are teaming up with St. Gabriel the Archangel Episcopal Church and VBS will be held at their church (6190 E. Quincy Ave., Englewood 80111).  So, mark your calendars and reserve the week of June 19-23 from 9-12 noon. The registration page is available online at https://vbsmate.com/events/SaintGabriel/5399.  It allows students as well as volunteers to sign up. Volunteers ARE needed, especially a lead for crafts and music, so please contact me at rickandsue2@comcast.net to let me know your preferences and availability.

Sunday school begins downstairs at 9:30 every Sunday.  For May, the combined Godly Play classroom (for children aged 3 years through 3rd grade) will have the following presentations: Peter’s Dream, Saul Believes in Jesus, Paul’s Discovery and the Whole Armor of God. The 4th and 5th grade class will have lessons titled Guide and Guardian; The Way, Truth and Life; Abiding in Jesus; and Safety and Oneness.  

Mark your calendars for the all church picnic that will be held on Sunday, June 4 immediately following the 9:45 am service (at 11:15 am).  There will be games, face painting, a bounce house, food and fellowship. 

Blessings,

Sue LeFant

Parish History Will Be Available at Church on May 7, "Good Shepherd Sunday"

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017

In late 2016, in conjunction with Good Shepherd's 40th Anniversary celebration, several parishioners helped to update and revise the Church's history. Copies of this document will be available beginning Sunday, May 7, the Sunday known as "Good Shepherd Sunday" (4th Sunday in Easter). 

Be sure to pick up your copy in the church hallway !

Photographer Needed !

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017
Topic: 

Good Shepherd is currently looking for someone to be our parish photographer. Keeping our church web site refreshed with new photographic images is an important way for the church to attract visitors. At present, our photography files are 2-3 years old and we need to update them. The church does not own a digital cameral so volunteers would need to have their own equipment. All supplies would be provided by the church. If interested, contact DeeDee Atwood, Good Shepherd's Director of Communications (303-748-4772;  ddatwood08@gmail.com).

Contribute Baked Good or Snacks For Sunday Coffee Hours

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017
Topic: 

Do you enjoy sipping on a cup of coffee or tea and nibbling on delicious goodies as you visit with fellow parishioners after church on Sundays? To keep this valuable ministry going, we need your help! Because our coffee hour hospitality budget is limited, we would like to invite parishoners to consider contributing to this social time by bringing in snacks or goodies to share. Sign up in the church hallway to bring in 2-3 dozen of your favorite snacks or baked goods. Simply drop them off in the kitchen before you head into church.

Thanks for making possible our two Sunday morning coffee hours! 

Liz Peel

303-921-5285

epeel11@gmail.com

Spring Clean-up Day Postponed to May 20

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017
Topic: 

Due to inclement weather, Good Shepherd's annual Spring Parish Clean-up Day has been postponed to Saturday, May 20, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Come and join other volunteers in helping to get our building and grounds ready for the spring and summer seasons. We will be doing a variety of indoor and outdoor projects. Outdoors, we will be sweeping the parking lot and raking up debris from the grounds, as well as trimming bushes and trees. Indoors, we will be washing windows, cleaning the kitchen, and sprucing up the church sanctuary.

Please bring brooms, rakes, work gloves and clippers.

Men's Group in May

Sheepskin Issue: 
May 2017
Topic: 

In May, the Men’s group will meet  for a full breakfast on May 13th in the Parish Hall at 7:30 AM and for coffee and donuts on April 27th.  Our program follows breakfast from 8 to 9 AM in the Chapel and we always stop at 9 AM.  Our programs in May will be from the book "Abraham," by noted author Bruce Feiler.  Copies of the book are available if  you don't have one.  Each session stands on its own so men can come and enjoy each session even if they miss one or several meetings. 

Mark your calendars for our regular meetings in May on the 13th and the 27th and we especially welcome new men in the Church or new men to the Men’s group. Questions? Call Jim Wolfe (303-791-2613). 

Jim Lee Wolfe