Category Archives: Latest News

Communion Chalice

Dear Siblings in Christ,

I am happy to announce that we will be bringing back the sharing of the wine chalice during communion. Due to COVID, this was temporarily suspended, and we believe now is the time to bring it back. I know many of you will be happy about this news. This is one more step towards our full common life of worship together.

Once again, receiving communion will occur at the communion rail near the altar. Ushers will help to direct. If you do not feel comfortable drinking from the chalice, that is fine. Receiving communion in one kind – in this case the bread – is receiving full communion. The Episcopal Church teaches that you receive a complete eucharistic experience in receiving the Body of Christ. This has been true these last months and will continue to be true moving forward. Just because the chalice is being offered does not mean you have to partake. If, because of COVID, you do not feel comfortable drinking from the chalice, you may choose not to do so. You can also continue to come forward and receive a blessing.

The diocese has provided detailed information to help parishes make decisions regarding communion. The most recent RRR guidance references a recent letter by British medical experts that states, “Currently, available data do not provide any support for the suggestion that the practice of sharing a common communion cup can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 because SARS-CoV-2 transmission from a patient with COVID-19 or asymptomatic carrier to other people has not been reported.” Dr. Phil Lewis, Co-Chair of The Diocese of New Jersey RRR Task Force has also stated, “We need to remember that coronavirus is transmitted by the virus having contact with respiratory epithelium or surfaces which does not happen with oral contact with food, liquid or surfaces that have come in contact with food or liquid.” To date, it is believed that there is little to no risk of spreading COVID by drinking from the common cup. But, again, if you do not feel comfortable as of yet, you may choose to abstain from drinking from the chalice. 

This of course raises the question of intinction. While this might seem like a helpful alternative to drinking from the chalice, it presents many other health concerns. Intinction, for many years, has been understood as the least hygienic practice for receiving communion. The Anglican Church of Canada published the study Eucharistic Practice and the Risk some years ago. It looks at the health risks and lack of health risks in communion. Regarding intinction, it states, “There is, however, real concern that many of the modes of intinction used in parishes do not diminish the threat of infection, and some may actually increase it.”

I strongly encourage you not to intinct your bread in the chalice. Intinction actually raises the risk of spreading other infections. In trying to be safe, dipping our bread in the wine greatly increases the risk to everyone. It raises health and hygiene concerns completely separate from COVID.

A helpful alternative is one I have seen in recovery communities. The chalice can still be presented to you with the words “The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation” while you hold the bread near the cup and say “Amen.” This allows you to still have a ritual encounter with the chalice, but avoids all the risks of dipping one’s fingers into the wine. You can find a short YouTube video demonstration here.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I suspect that for some of us, we will have to spend a few weeks adjusting to the return of the chalice. My door is always open and I am happy to talk with you.

In Christ,

Andrew+

Helpful Links:

http://archive.anglican.ca/gs2001/rr/reports/reportb0f5.html?rep=006-3#W14

Mask rules reinstated — 5/14/2022

Good Day, Good Shepherd,

Gloucester County has moved into the red or high COVID level. The vestry voted at a previous meeting to follow CDC guidance, which recommends, based on current levels, to “Wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.”

We request that you kindly wear a mask while attending indoor parish events. Our worship schedule will remain the same, but we will be suspending coffee hour out of an abundance of caution. When the county moves back into the green or low level, masks will again be optional, and coffee hour will resume. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate COVID together.

More information on current CDC recommendations can be found here:

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

Easter Service Schedule

  The Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church of Pitman (Gloucester County) is pleased to announce its Lenten schedule of services, including Holy Week and Easter.   Good Shepherd, which is celebrating its 115th anniversary in 2022, has an active and welcoming congregation and has resumed in-person services as well as live-streaming services on its website and YouTube channel, which are available for viewing at any time.    

         Holy Week is the most important time of the year for Christians.  Beginning on Ash Wednesday, the days that lead up to Easter Sunday precede the most significant event of the Christian year, and the cornerstone of faith—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy Week is one continuous service that begins on Palm Sunday and ends with chants of Alleluia at the end of Easter Sunday services.

The Church of the Good Shepherd’s complete Lenten schedule is as follows:

MORNING PRAYER

Tuesday & Wednesday Mornings in the Chapel & on Zoom

9:00 am

LENTEN STUDY

Monday evenings

7:00 pm via Zoom with Father Don & Mel Caron

STATIONS OF THE CROSS

Every FRIDAY at 7:00 pm

WEEKLY HOLY EUCHARIST SERVICES

SATURDAYS  at 5:30 pm (Contemplative Prayer at 4:30 pm)

SUNDAYS at 10:00 am (Contemplative Prayer at 9:00 am)

THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION: PALM SUNDAY

Saturday, April 9th at 5:30 pm – Blessing of the Palms & Holy Eucharist

Sunday, April 10th at 10:00 am – Blessing of the Palms & Holy Eucharist

TENEBRAE SERVICE

Wednesday, April 13th at 7:00 pm

MAUNDY THURSDAY

Thursday, April 14th   

7:00 pm – Holy Eucharist and The Stripping of the Altar

8:00 pm until midnight – The Watch before the Altar of Repose & the Labyrinth

GOOD FRIDAY

Friday, April 15th     

8:00 am and 2:00 pm – Reconciliation   

10:00 am – Children’s Service & Stations of the Cross                                                                                                   

12:00 noon – Adult Stations of the Cross

7:00 pm – Mass of the Pre-Sanctified Service

HOLY SATURDAY

Saturday, April 16th 

7:00 pm – The Great Vigil of Easter and Holy Eucharist (*No 5:30 pm Service)

THE DAY OF RESURRECTION: EASTER DAY

Sunday, April 17th 

10:00 am – Festival Eucharist with Easter Music and the “flowering” of the Easter Cross

From the Vestry of Good Shepherd, Pitman

The CDC has established COVID-19 Community Levels, which are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low (green), medium (yellow), or high (red); and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Data Provided by the CDC with updates every Thursday by 8 pm ET. The link to the CDC Community levels can be found here:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html

Gloucester County is currently rated Low/Green. If rated as Low, the CDC states people may choose to mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. (If you are immunocompromised, learn more about how to protect yourself.)

Vestry at their meeting on Sunday amended the existing COVID policy, and in accordance with the current CDC guidelines, effective immediately masks will now be optional as long as Gloucester County remains in the Green/Low level.

The CDC updates will be checked every Friday morning, and if Gloucester County’s level has changed to yellow or red, the requirement for everyone to wear masks will be re-instituted.

In Person Worship Suspended [This information is outdated, in person worship has resumed – admin]

 After consulting with the Sr. Warden, I have decided to suspend in-person worship at Good Shepherd (effective immediately).  The infection rate in Gloucester City is now 33.4 per 100K (next to Cape May county-which has a 52.5 rate- Gloucester City has the highest infection rate in the state of NJ).  

This means:
#1. There will be no Saturday evening service this evening
#2. The pulpit exchange with Fr. Todd Foster will be rescheduled
#3. Tomorrow’s service will be broadcast on the YouTube channel
#4. We will not resume in-person worship until the infection rate is below 25 per 100K (which is in harmony with what the Diocesan protocols recommend).

We were hoping to avoid the suspension of in-person worship, but I am convinced that the most prudent thing (in the face of the threat of the Delta variant and a dangerous rise in the infection rate in our county) is to do precisely that. Thanks for your understanding and for your prayers.

Fr. Dave+  

A change in “In-Person Worship” protocols…

Based on the strong recommendation of the Reentering, Reopening, Reimagining (RRR) Task Force of the Diocese of New Jersey and in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s July 27th recommendations, we will be requiring all worshipers and visitors to the Church, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face mask which covers the nose and mouth.  This policy will remain in effect until community infection rates in Gloucester County improve.  No one is happy about this decision, but we believe it is the most prudent thing we can do in the face of the increasing threat of the Delta variant of the Covid 19 virus as well as the marked increase in break-thru infections of the vaccinated. As a Church, it is incumbent upon us to follow Jesus’ teachings in protecting the most vulnerable in our community (especially our un-vaccinated children).  Your co-operation and compliance with this change in our “in-person” worship protocols will be greatly appreciated.

Sent by David Snyder

Pitman Yard Sale

Pitman will be hosting its annual Town Wide Yard Sale on Saturday, June 5th, from 8:00 am until at least noon; and the Vestry has voted to participate by selling the accumulated donations that we have in storage from last year’s missed Holly Fair. All proceeds will be directed to the Holly Fair account and the Church projects it supports.

We are looking for a few parishioners to assist with the setup early that morning, breakdown at the conclusion of the event, as well as “sales” help throughout the morning.

Please email April c/o goodshepherdpitman@gmail.com or
Beth Portocalis at bport0627@verizon.net to sign up.

Donations of items to include in the Yard Sale will also be accepted up to the morning of the event. (Please, no clothing or linens…Christmas decorations will be held till this year’s Holly Fair.)

You may coordinate a donation drop-off with April via the above email or
by calling the Church Office at 856-589-8209. Tables or Spaces are available to those who wish to sell their own items for a donation of $15.00 (per Table or Space). To reserve Tables or Spaces, contact April via the above email or by calling the Church Office at 856-589-8209.

8:00 a.m. to Noon
Saturday, June 5th
Church of the Good Shepherd, 315 Highland Terrace, Pitman

New “In-Person Worship” Protocols

In light of the CDC’s recent announcement and the guidelines from the Diocesan Re-Opening Task Force,  The Vestry approved the following adjustments to our existing “in person worship” protocols, beginning  May 22, 2021:

#1. Vaccinated worship leaders will not be required to wear a mask (Fr. Dave will continue to wear a mask when distributing the sacrament)

#2. Congregational singing (with masks) will resume on Pentecost Sunday.

#3. The Book of Common Prayer and Hymnals will return to the pews.

#4. We will continue to require all worshipers to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. We will increase the maximum # of worshipers to 50..

“In-person” has resumed for Saturday, 5:30pm and Sunday, 10:00am Services.   A  FlockNote  to pre-register will be sent out each Thursday of the week.  Deadline for registering will be Friday, 12 Noon for that week.

In person services resuming!

The Vestry held a special meeting this afternoon and decided to approve a proposal to resume “in-person” worship during Holy Week. The decision was difficult (every member of the Vestry expressed ambivalence: a desire to resume in-person worship but also a deep concern for the health and safety of every member of the parish) and it was not unanimous. But it is the decision and we move forward “Joyfully, Hopefully and CAREFULLY“.  It is important that parishioners remember three things:

#1. The protocols that were established back in November will continue to be maintained (masks; social distancing; no congregational singing and the distribution of the host only in the pews)

#2. It will be necessary to pre-register for every service and a maximum attendance of  40 will be permitted (this number includes the Celebrant; Deacon; Lector; organist and ushers).

#3. No one should feel obligated to attend just because in-person worship will be resumed.  We will continue to “live stream” all services using the Zoom platform (we are working to upgrade the quality of our presentation with the purchase of new “hardware”).

A  FlockNote with detailed information about the schedule for Holy Week and Easter (including pre-registration information) will be sent on Monday.

SPECIAL THURSDAY STUDY

On next Thursday, March 25, we will discuss the Netflix 4-part series, “Unorthodox”. This series is based on the true story of Deborah Feldman, as told in her book, about her life as a Hasidic Jew in New York and her journey out of that lifestyle.

Anyone who has watched this series, or would like to, is welcome to join us at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the many-layered psychological implications and messiness of marriage, family and community relationships – especially is a strict conservative lifestyle.


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89114671362?pwd=eFIzQ3VyNEpjQ3JrbUlRWjgvUnZiUT09

Meeting ID: 891 1467 1362
Passcode: 684514

Lenten Study

Join Fr. Dave, Fr. Don and Mel tomorrow night, 2/17, as we journey through this Lent taking a close scrutiny of the Lenten Disciplines of Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, Good Works, Study and ending the Thursday before Holy Week (3/25) with Repentance: Preparing for Holy Week.

Members of Good Shepherd, St. David’s in Cranbury and St. John’s in Chews Landing have been invited, but please feel free to extend an invitation to all.

Class begins at 7:30 p.m. and will conclude by 8:45 p.m. Zoom ID is 451 815 3355 (no password required).