Thank you, Father Dave!

Father Dave v 2

At this momentous time, we wish to recognize the marvelous leadership of the Rev. Dr. David L. Snyder during our parish’s transition period. During what could have been a trying time in the life of a church, Father Dave provided us with a stabilizing influence, wise and insightful instruction, and a well-timed sense of humor! Thank you, Father Dave. And thank you to your wife, Susan, who  supported you and brightened Good Shepherd with joy and love. We wish you both the best and we appreciate your gifts to us.

Father Dave’s ministry at Good Shepherd was celebrated at services November 21 and 22 with the Farewell Liturgy for an Interim Priest. We presented Father Dave with a special gift from our parish, a stained glass replica of the Good Shepherd Window, one of only fifty pieces commissioned for our centennial celebration in 2007. We pray that it will remind him of his year with us as our Temporary Shepherd.

God Speed, Father Dave!

Homily for the Last Sunday after Pentecost – Nov. 21 & 22

The Feast of Christ the King…Series B
The Church of the Good Shepherd (November 21st, 2015)

Text: John 18:33-37
Title: The Last Words of Fr. Dave+!
Text: Acts 20:32.

On November 8th, 1942, Allied forces under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower launched a bold and dangerous assault on German forces in North Africa. The assault was given the code name OPERATION TORCH. The day after the assault began (on November 9th) Sir Winston Churchill (who was serving as the Prime Minister of Great Britain) was interviewed by a young journalist for the London Times. The journalist asked Churchill to assess the impact of the Allied invasion on the effort to defeat Hitler and Nazi Germany. Churchill paused to ponder the journalist’s question and then, as only Churchill could he replied, “Well…this is certainly not the END…this is not even the BEGINNING of the END….it is only the END OF THE BEGINNING”. This is not the END…it isn’t even the beginning of the END…this is only the END of the BEGINNING!

This weekend, we join Christians around the world in celebrating the great feast of Christ the King, and, in our liturgies, we remember that our crucified and risen Christ is sovereign KING and that one day he will establish his eternal and glorious Kingdom of justice, peace and love in this bruised and broken world of of ours. The feast of Christ the King also marks the end of the church year. But, when you think about it, this isn’t really the end, because next weekend we celebrate the first Sunday in ADVENT…the beginning of a brand new year in the liturgical calendar. So, one liturgical year flows seamlessly into another, and the END is not really the END…it is only the end of a wonderful new beginning!

This weekend also marks the end of something else…not just the liturgical year, but the end of my ministry as your Interim Rector…your “Temporary Shepherd”. I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe an entire year has passed since I preached my first homily on Sat. Nov. 8th, 2014…but it’s true! And all I can say is that these twelve months have been among the richest and most satisfying of my nearly 30 years of ordained ministry. Tonight my heart is filled and overflowing with gratitude for each of you and for the time we have been together and I will never forget you!

But, when you think about it, tonight is not really the END, because next week you will welcome your new Rector…your “Permanent Shepherd”, Mth. Susan Osborne-Mott, and working together in a spirit of partnership, you will create the next chapter in the long and distinguished history of the remarkable parish. And, on December 21st, I will begin my ministry as the 23rd Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mount Holly. So, just like one liturgical year flows seamlessly into another, so what may appear to be an end for us is actually an exciting and challenging new beginning filled with promise and with hope. And friends that is the way it is for us who follow in the footsteps of the Carpenter from Nazareth! The end is not the end…not permanently…the END is only the end of a new beginning!

According to my calculations this is the 107th homily that I have preached here at GSEC since arriving on the scene last November 3rd (The Feast of All Souls was my first service, but Dcn. Carl Dunn preached the homily and I listened). I want to conclude this final homily by sharing a verse from the Acts of the Apostles. In verse 32 of the 20th chapter of Acts, we hear a portion of the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the Elders of the Christian community at Ephesus.

I chose this text to complete my preaching ministry here at Good Shepherd because Paul says to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus exactly what I want to say to you this morning:

And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.

Today is a sad and a difficult day for me (and for Susan). It is more difficult to leave this church and all of you than I ever imagined it would be. .But, like the Apostle Paul, I commend each of you “to God and the message of His grace”. It is the unique role (and the sacred responsibility) of the priest to commend the people to God and God to the people…to commend the sheep to the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd to the Sheep! So, in spite of the sadness, there is real joy because I know that the same God who has been with us this past year will continue to be with his church and with all of you as you welcome Mth. Susan and together you continue your mission and ministry in this community. And I know that the message of his Grace, which has been proclaimed this past year will continue to be proclaimed and God will continue to use that word of proclamation to transform your hearts and to build you up and encourage you in the journey of Christian discipleship..

And so, with a touch of sadness mingled with a profound sense of joy and peace and gratitude, and with the courage, confidence and conviction of faith, we can affirm the great truth of the Gospel of Grace:

For the followers of the Carpenter from Nazareth…the Good Shepherd…Christ the King, No END is permanent. And what we end today is certainly not the END…it is not even the beginning of the END…it is only the END of a wondrous, grace-filled and exciting NEW BEGINNING!
God bless you…

November 2015 Discernment Committee Update: Our Final Update

The Discernment Committee is so very happy with the calling of our new priest, the Rev. Susan E. Osborne-Mott! We are bursting with joy! We look forward to the first week of Advent, November 28-29 when Mother Susan will begin her ministry at Good Shepherd.

We, as members of this committee, have developed a special closeness and trust working together as a team over the past year. In many ways we involved the entire parish. Together we described ourselves in the Profile and Portfolio. We asked for help from many of you with specific expertise. The committee moved on to engage deeply with many caring priests. We made our final recommendations to the Vestry and supported the Vestry through the final phase. We are very grateful for your prayers and honored with your trust through this process. Our service to Good Shepherd in this capacity has come to an end, and now we look forward to directing our individual and collective energy to the ministries at Good Shepherd that we love AND to new and exciting ministries to come. We are bringing lots of new concepts and ideas with us that grew from our intensive work together as the Discernment Committee.

We know that you will love Mother Susan! We all fell in love with her and are very excited for all of you to get to know her too. We know that she and her husband Brad are just as excited as we are. Mother Susan is energetic yet calm, highly spiritual and joyful. She engages children and young people. She is a collaborator. She is a good listener. The Holy Spirit was on the Discernment Committee with us … we listened … we know that this is God’s will!

Go ahead and ask questions, we are now able to talk to you about Mother Susan! We recommend, however, that you join in the plans to welcome her and her family, then come celebrate and worship with Mother Susan and Good Shepherd on November 28th or 29th.

Thank you, Good Shepherd family! Thank you, God!

The 2014-2015 Good Shepherd Discernment Committee
Roger Baker, Aimee Burgin, Pat Braidwood, Len Clark, Becky Goff, Stuart Lynd, Elizabeth Nelson, Deb Prieto, Mark Nicolle (our awesome Chairman!), Chelsea Richmond, Tom Rigg, Chris Southwick, Jeff Snodgrass, Wayne Szalma, Diane Wall, Jim Wynkoop

Sunday School Calendar

Sunday School Calendar 

         2016/2017 (Changes will be communicated via email and text alerts)

  • Sunday, October 23, 2016 – Start of Term 2
  • Sunday, November 6, 2016
  • Sunday, November 13, 2016 – First Solemn Communion/Children’s Service (No Sunday School)
  • Sunday, November 20, 2016 – End of Term 2
  • Sunday, November 27, 2016 – Start of Term 3
  • Sunday, December 4, 2016 – Youth Fellowship Lesson
  • Sunday, December 11, 2016
  • Sunday, December 18, 2016 – End of Term 3
  • Sunday, December 25, 2016 – Christmas Day (No Sunday School)
  • Sunday, January 1, 2017 – New Year’s Day (No Sunday School)
  • Sunday, January 8, 2017 – Start of Term 4
  • Sunday, January 15, 2017
  • Sunday, January 22, 2017
  • Sunday, January 29, 2017 – End of Term 4
  • Sunday, February 5, 2017 – Start of Term 5
  • Sunday, February 12, 2017 – Youth Fellowship Lesson
  • Sunday, February 19, 2017
  • Sunday, February 26, 2017
  • Sunday, March 5, 2017 – End of Term 5
  • Sunday, March 12, 2017 – Start of Term 6
  • Sunday, March 19, 2017
  • Sunday, March 26, 2017
  • Sunday, April 2, 2017
Sunday, April 9, 2017 – End of Term 6/Youth Fellowship Lesson
  • Sunday, April 16, 2017 – Easter Sunday (No Sunday School)
  • Sunday, April 23, 2017 – Start of Term 7
  • Sunday, April 30, 2017 – Youth Fellowship Lesson
  • Sunday, May 7, 2017 – End of Term 7/Last Day of Sunday School
  • Sunday, May 14, 2017 – Mother’s Day/Sunday School Awards