All posts by Church of the Good Shepherd

An Episcopal Church located in Pitman, NJ

Holly Fair – Saturday, December 2nd!

The Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church of Pitman is pleased to announce that it will again hold its annual “Holly Fair” on Saturday, December 2nd from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. Popular with area residents celebrating the start of the Christmas season, the Holly Fair features 25 area crafters with a wide array of unique handmade gifts, including home-made crafts done by Church parishioners.

16518334646_032a63be57_o (1)Food abounds in the Good Shepherd Restaurant, featuring homemade soups, sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and more! Take out service is also available. A variety of delicious holiday favorite homemade baked goods will also be offered and our popular cookie by the pound offer is returning! The popular St. Nick’s children’s craft center is returning, and bargains galore can be found in the Christmas Store, the Dollar Store and the More than a Dollar Store featuring new and gently used holiday decorations, household items, gifts and trinkets.

16542461061_3d8ac024c8_o A limited supply of fresh wreaths and grave blankets will be available for sale, but come early as they are always a sell-out. The Good Shepherd Choir will be performing throughout the day to entertain you while you shop. With caroling, the smell of soups and baked goods, and the colors of Christmas abounding, you’ll really get into the spirit of the season! Good Shepherd is conveniently located at 315 Highland Terrace (at Wildwood Avenue) in historic Pitman, Gloucester County. It is easily accessible from Route 55, Delsea Drive (Route 47), Woodbury-Glassboro Road (Route 553) and Broadway/Main Street.

Saturday Wine and Cheese, Sunday Ice Cream Social

This weekend at Church of the Good Shepherd we are winding up our Spring Stewardship Campaign!

“Many Gifts, One Spirit”
We have many gifts and we are of one spirit!

On Saturday, May 6, after the 5:30 PM service, we are offering a Wine & Cheese Thank You Reception in the Parish Hall.

On Sunday, May 7, after the 10 AM service, our Sunday School is offering their Teacher Appreciation Celebration Featuring a Beautiful Sunday School Video!

And Then We Will Share in a Delightful Thank You Ice Cream Social!

Come to one or both celebrations!

Please prayerfully consider your commitment to Good Shepherd then return your Pledge Card to the Offering Plate in Church or the Parish Hall.

Let us Praise God for our many Blessings!

Pledges made in 2017 (either Spring or Fall) are intended for the calendar year 2018. If you want to begin your pledge commitment earlier, thank you! But we do not ask you to pledge twice. Please know that your fellow parishioners welcome and appreciate your commitment and support.

Sunday School Updates

Good things are happening at the Church of the Good Shepherd!  The year started off with a refreshed Sunday School program…renovated classrooms, bathrooms and even curriculum.  No small detail was left unnoticed.  There is even a room dedicated to our Youth Group where they can relax, hang out and connect with each other.  4e1b3c12-3b8e-44d3-a94a-484f9fa6c166

Each week the students participate in Buzz.  Buzz is refered to as “curriculum in a box”.  A five step program is followed for each session which includes games, crafts, stories, acting and more.  The boxes are age appropriate, containing 13 weeks of lessons with everything the teacher will need right inside the box!  (If you are a teacher volunteer, that means no more hunting for supplies at 8:15am Sunday morning!)

The children love it because it encourages them to talk about what is going on in their lives.  They are able to relate to their classmates, learn about each other and see God’s love in action!  It’s a modern approach to Sunday School that aligns with each child’s learning style.  The students agree, our Sunday School program ROCKS!

Outside of our regular lessons, students are invited to hear a bible story told each week by one of our parishioners.  This bible story is the perfect compliment to Buzz since it maintains the balance of a more traditional approach to Sunday School.

Also new at Good Shepherd are shorter, five-week terms.  For the teacher volunteers, this means far less commitment.  For the students, it means a chance to meet several of our adult parishioners.  The downside to a five week term perhaps, is that it can result in many new faces for the children.  To help combat this, teacher volunteers visit classrooms the week before their session begins–introducing themselves to the students to help ease the transition.

Finally, with the Christmas season quickly approaching, our Christmas Pageant preparations are in full swing!  Mary is rehearsing her lines, Joseph is preparing to navigate his path to the manger, the Soldiers are perfecting their marching and all the children actors are eagerly awaiting curtain call on December 11th.  If you are new to the church, this is a great time to see our youth in action!  They clearly are what makes our church thrive!

Good things ARE happening at Church of the Good Shepherd…and we’d love for you to be part of it!

Transformational Stewardship Temple Talk #2

Transformational Stewardship Temple Talk #2…Stewardship is NOT about Fundraising!

Before we begin, let’s review from last Sunday! Can anyone tell me the most foundational principle of the four foundational principles of Transformational Stewardship?? That’s right…Everything we have…absolutely everything we have comes from God and it belongs to God…we are not OWNERS of the stuff we have…we are STEWARDS!

So, building on that Foundational Principle #1…is Foundational Principle #2…Stewardship is NOT Fundraising. In the old paradigm of Transactional Stewardship…stewardship was all about fundraising…it was about raising the funds required to keep the doors of the church open and the lights on…it was about raising the funds needed to pay the priest’s extraordinary compensation package and the parish assessment to the Diocesan Stewardship, in the old way of thinking was all about fundraising…which is why the annual campaign was usually done in the fall…the time when the annual operating budget was being created. And the question parishioners were asked was, “will you assume your fair share of the responsibility for providing the financial resources to keep the ministry of the church going”. But Transformational Stewardship is the exact opposite way of thinking…Stewardship is N about raising the funds needed to operate the church…stewardship is about growing in your relationship to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ…stewardship, in this new way of thinking, is about your formation and growth in Christian discipleship…it is about the health of your relationship to God.

Let me be clear…there is absolutely nothing wrong with fundraising…every church does it to a greater or lesser degree. But Stewardship is NOT about fundraising. Let me try to explain it this way. Suppose when I come into the office on Tuesday evening (for Bible Study) I find a check on my desk from an anonymous donor for five million dollars (that is a 5 and six zeroes behind it), As a result of this gift, the Church of the Good Shepherd would be set financially for years to come…we would never have to worry about money…we could comfortably live off the interest we would earn each year from investing that money…but we would still need to do an annual stewardship campaign…we would still need to preach/teach about the principles of Transformational Stewardship. Why??? Because stewardship is NOT about fundraising…stewardship is about our growth and our development as disciples of Jesus Christ!

So that is Foundational Principle #2…next week, Foundational Principle #3…

Transformational Stewardship Temple Talk #4

May 2 and 3, 2015

Before we talk about Foundational Principle #4, let’s review what we have presented the last three weeks. The most foundational of the four foundational principles of Transformational astern ship is that everything belongs to God and everything we have comes from God…we are not owners of the things we have we are stewards and a steward is someone who manages and cares for someone else’s property. Foundational principle #2 is that stewardship is Not about Fundraising…it is not about raising the financial resources needed to keep the doors of the church open. Stewardship is about our formation and growth as disciples of Jesus Christ…it is not about the church’s need for money…it is about our need to give. And last week we discussed the third Foundational Principle of Transformational Stewardship which is the idea of Proportional a Giving…that what is important is not the size of our gift, but what are gift reprints in terms of our total wealth…out total assets, and the Widow’s Mite is the best Biblical illustration of Proportional Giving.

So with the three Foundational Principles as a kind of platform, let’s talk about Foundational Principle #4: the idea of First Fruits Giving. This principle is related to Foundational. Principle #3 because both are about “how we give” not about “how much we give”! If you search the scriptures you will see this principle running through both the Old and New Testaments. For me the key verse is Proverbs 3:9…”Honor The Lord from your wealth and from the First Fruits of all your produce, so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine“. The practice of many church people is to pay all the essential hills ( mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance, credit card debt, child care, entertainment) and then to calculate their gifts to the church based on what is leftover ( what some describe as discretionary income). This is what I call “Leftover Giving”, and my guess is that if I asked for a show of hands this morning, and if people were totally honest, that many (perhaps most) would acknowledge that this is exactly how they calculate their gifts to the church. BTW, there is a wonderful YouTube video called “My Money” (there is a link to this video on our website). It is a humorous illustration of what so often happens when folks calculate their gifts to the church in this way. First Fruits Giving is an entirely different way of giving our financial gifts to the church. In First Fruits Giving, the first check that is written each month (or week) is the gift to the church (before the mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance, credit card debt, child care and entertainment). First Fruits Giving is an acknowledgement…a putting into practice Foundational Principle#1…that everything we have comes from God and belongs to God , and therefore. God is entitled to more than just leftovers…God is entitled to the first and the best of what we have to give! A personal testimony…Susan and I have been practicing First Fruits Giving for 37 years (since 1978) and I can honestly say that in all those years we have never experienced significant financial trauma ( we have faced challenges along the way, but we have never deviated from our commitment to practice First Fruits Giving ), and I think that God has honored that commitment, and our desire to get our financial priorities in proper alignment. If I were to share one word of pastoral advice to anyone who is experiencing serious financial difficulties, it would be to begin to practice First Fruits Giving…I promise that it will not only change your financial reality…it will change your life!

So, there they are…the four Foundational Principles of Transformational,Stewardship. If you are interested in learning more about these principles, plan to attend the workshop on Saturday, May 16th from 9:00am until noon!!

Transformational Stewardship Temple Talk #3…Proportional Giving!

Before we begin, let’s review from the last two Sundays! Can anyone tell me the most foundational principle of the four foundational principles of Transformational Stewardship?? That’s right…Everything we have…absolutely everything we have comes from God and it belongs to God…we are not OWNERS of the stuff we have…we are STEWARDS! And what about Foundational Principle #2…can anyone remember? That’s right…Stewardship is NOT about Fundraising. If we received a $5 million gift we wouldn’t need to do anymore fundraising…but we will still need to think about/talk about/preach about and teach the principles of Transformational Stewardship.

So, building on these first two foundational principles…let’s consider Foundational Principle #3…Proportional Giving! In the old paradigm (what I call Transactional Stewardship)…what was most important was the size of the gifts that were given. Not all gifts had the same value…the larger gifts were valued more because they were able to pay for a larger chunk of the annual budget. But in the new paradigm…the Transformational Stewardship paradigm…the size of the gift is not what matters most. What matters most is what the gift represents in terms of the giver’s total income…what matters most is not the size of the gift, but what the gift actually costs the one who gives it. And this is what we call PROPORTIONAL GIVING. And the Biblical model of proportional giving is the wonderful story of the Widows Mite (found in the 21st chapter of Luke and the 12th chapter of Mark). In this story, jesus recognizes and congratulates the stewardship of a poor widow who puts two small copper coins into the offering plate (two coins worth about one penny). And Jesus makes the astonishing claim that she actually put in more than the other donors who put in large and impressive gifts…why? Because they gave out of their abundance but she gave out of her extreme poverty…everything she had! You see, it’s not the size of our gifts that matter most, but it is what those gifts represent in terms of your total income.   In a few weeks you will be asked to think about your response to the 2016 annual stewardship campaign, and you will be ask to calculate your gift not in terms of the dollars you gave last year, but in terms of what percentage of your income that your gift represents…so, if last year you gave 2% of your income (which is what the average Episcopalian gives), you will be asked to prayerfully consider giving 3%…or 5%…or perhaps 10% of your income in 2016…and that’s called Proportional Giving and that is the third foundational principle of Transformational Stewardship. Next week…the 4th and final foundational principle…First Fruits Giving…stay tuned!

Stewardship Temple Talk #1

Stewardship Temple Talk #1

(April 11/12, 2015)

Everything we have belongs to God

I can imagine some of you are asking yourself this question: “Why is Fr. Dave talking about Stewardship on the Sunday after Easter…we’ve never done that before here at Good Shepherd.  We usually talk about stewardship in the fall (after the World Series and before Thanksgiving)…so why are we listening to a Temple Talk on stewardship on this Sunday after Easter??”.    Well, it is a legitimate question and an important question.  So let me quickly respond.  Your Stewardship Committee has decided to hold the annual Stewardship campaign during the Easter season to send an important message: This is a new day and we are embracing a new approach to stewardship education here @ GSEC.  The paradigm is changing.  We are embracing an exciting new way of thinking about and talking about and doing stewardship here @ GSEC…it is called TRANSFORMATIONAL STEWARDSHIP and, beginning today and continuing for the next three weekends) I (or someone from the Stewardship Committee) will be presenting some of the foundational principles of this new way of thinking about and talking about and doing stewardship.

So this morning, I want to speak to you about the most foundational of the four foundational principles of TRANSFORMATIONAL STEWARDSHIP, and that is the belief that everything we have…absolutely EVERYTHING we have belongs to God!  Do you believe that?  I believe it with every fiber of my being…the house I live in is not mine…the car I drive is not mine…my savings account is not mine… my 401K is not mine! In fact, I am not an owner of anything that I have!  Everything I have (or ever will have) comes from God and belongs to God.   We are not OWNERS…we are STEWARDS.  And the difference between an owner and a steward is critically important to our understanding of Stewardship!  Owners manage and control their own stuff…STEWARDS, on the other hand, manage and control someone else’s stuff!  And if you believe this foundational principle, then the new paradigm of TRANSFORMATIONAL STEWARDSHIP will make sense to you.  If you don’t believe it (and I am sure there are those listening to me who do not believe it) that is ok…all I ask is that you prayerfully consider that it may be true and that you listen with an open heart and an open mind, and that you allow God the Holy Spirit to speak to you regarding your individual “Stewardship of Life”.   So that is foundational principle #1…EVERYTHING WE HAVE BELONGS TO GOD…we are not OWNERS…we are STEWARDS! Next week: Foundational Principle #2: STEWARDSHIP IS NOT FUNDRAISING!…Stay tuned!