The Episcopal faith understands God as Trinity (Three in One and One in Three), follows Jesus Christ and welcomes and encourages others to join us in following Jesus. — Diocese of New Jersey website
To view a more complete description of what we believe as Episcopalians, visit the “I’m New Here” page of the Diocesan website http://www.dioceseofnj.org/what-it-means-to-be-episcopalian-2/
The mission of the Church of Good Shepherd is to know and embrace Jesus Christ and to share God’s love with our neighbors as a welcoming community.
The Holy Eucharist
All are invited to share in the Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Christ, at God’s Table, the Altar. You are welcome here! If you choose not to receive, you are invited forward for a blessing.
Why don’t we invite only those who are baptized? We practice Open Communion. All are welcome. This includes children of any age, at the discretion of their parents. We now live in an age where many people are unchurched. It used to be that people grew up in a church and were familiar with some sort of faith practice. That is no longer the case. It can take a lot of courage to walk through those red doors! Quite often, nowadays, the experience of Communion, the Eucharist, is a gateway experience into the Household of God. That is why we practice warm and joyous welcome!
If someone cannot come to the church to receive the Eucharist due to illness or some other reason, the priest or a deacon or a Lay Eucharistic Visitor (LEV) can come to that person’s home with small portions of the bread and wine consecrated at our Table.
We do not practice a rite of First Communion. Children learn about the Sacrament of Holy Communion in Sunday School and by coming to the altar with their families during worship. Mother Susan periodically offers a special five week class for children called First Solemn Communion. Children are welcome to receive the Eucharist at any time, but First Solemn Communion celebrates them as the precious souls they are and offers us the opportunity to embrace them as members of God’s Household. Children should be of reading age to attend this class. Please contact Mother Susan or the Parish Administrator for information about the next session of First Solemn Communion.
The Holy Eucharist is celebrated every Saturday evening (at 5:30 PM) and Sunday morning (at 10:00am). Both services are services of Word and Sacrament firmly rooted in the Book of Common Prayer, follow the Revised Common Lectionary and reflect the mood and atmosphere of the Christian calendar. The Saturday evening service is a “Spoken” service without choir, organ and congregational singing. A variety of approved liturgical resources are used, including “Enriching Our Worship” and other supplemental liturgical materials prepared by the Standing Liturgical Commission of the Episcopal Church-USA. The Sunday morning service is a “Sung” service with a choir providing leadership in the singing of hymns, chants and other liturgical music. The choir also presents an anthem during the Sunday morning service (except during the summer months). The order of service is adjusted to reflect the special mood and atmosphere of the liturgical season of the year (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost and the Sundays after Pentecost). There are also several special liturgical celebrations throughout the year such as Lessons and Carols during Advent, the recitation of the Great Litany on the First Sunday in Lent and a Lenten Cantata on the Fifth Sunday in Lent.
Offered on weekday mornings, Morning Prayer Rite Two is normally used. Please refer to the Church Calendar for the up-to-date schedule. The service is held in the Chapel across from the offices.
There are three services conducted on Ash Wednesday – 7:00 AM, noon, and 7:00 PM. The standard liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer is used.
The Holy Eucharist is celebrated at the 7 PM service. The Collect, Psalms and Lessons are as specified in the Book of Common Prayer. The service is followed by the “stripping“ of the Altar by the Altar Guild in preparation for Good Friday. The “stripping” is often accompanied by the congregation reciting “The Great Litany.”
Following the service congregants may walk the Labyrinth, set up in the Parish Hall, in silent prayer.
There is a 10 AM children’s Stations of the Cross service and a noon to 3 PM service that consists of the Stations of the Cross. There is also a 7 PM service. The noontime and evening services both use the collect, lessons and liturgy as specified in the Book of Common Prayer.
The Great Vigil of Easter
There is an evening service that follows the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer. If there is a candidate available their Baptism is held at this time.
All Saints’ Day
There is a 7 PM service on November 1st that follows the liturgy of The Holy Eucharist Rite Two with appropriate Collect, Lessons and Psalms.
All Souls Day
There is a 7 PM service on November 2nd that follows the liturgy of The Holy Eucharist Rite Two with appropriate Collect, Lessons and Psalms.
Ecumenical services are held on Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day and World Day of Prayer. These services are held at various churches in Pitman on a rotating basis. The time and location of the services will be announced a week or two before the event.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is the central entrance Rite into the fellowship of Christ’s Body, the Church. Both infant and adult baptisms are celebrated., and a session of pre-baptismal counseling is required for all candidates for Holy Baptism. Baptisms are always a part of the celebration of The Holy Eucharist and can be scheduled for either Saturday evening or Sunday morning services throughout the year (except during the 40 days of Lent). Baptisms are especially encouraged at the Great Easter Vigil, during the Easter season, at the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of All Saints and the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany in January). Please contact the Parish Administrator (856-589-8209 or email@example.com) to schedule a baptism. Private baptisms, except in emergency situations, are not scheduled.
The Sacrament of Confirmation offers an opportunity of those baptized at an early age to make a mature and public affirmation of their faith and commitment to Christ and to receive the laying on of hands by the Bishop. There is no age requirement for receiving the sacrament, nor is it a mandatory act. It may be perceived best as an act of faith in which a person consciously embraces the life of Christ for oneself. Confirmation of youth is generally in the 7th grade. Adult classes and Confirmation Classes are offered by the priest annually to help those interested in Confirmation come to a decision. Confirmation will be celebrated at the time of the Bishop’s visitation.
Marriages are celebrated in the Church for those who wish to have the Church bless their union and who desire to conform their marriage to the teachings of the Church. A ninety-day notice is requested. Premarital conferences with the priest are required. Divorced persons may be married in the Episcopal Church with the consent of the Bishop, and upon application. No reception arrangements should be made prior to meeting with the priest and an agreement to officiate on a specified date. Please note that weddings can be scheduled throughout the year except during the 40 days of Lent.
Burial of the Dead
It has been encouraged in the past that persons pre-plan their burial service so it meets their preferences and removes the responsibility from their loved ones. Funerals are arranged at the mutual discretion of the family and Rector. Internment of the cremation urn can be in the Church of the Good Shepherd Columbarium housed in the Sanctuary or in a family cemetery plot. Burials may take place in the cemetery or columbarium of your choice. Contact the Parish Administrator with inquiries regarding the purchase of space in the Good Shepherd Columbarium (856-589-8209 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are a number of ministries that take place before and during the church service. The Altar Guild is charged with making sure that the Altar is ready for the coming service. Parishioners serve as Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Acolytes, Ushers, Greeters, Prayer Ministers, and Verger.