Posts by: Sara Smith

An Invitation to our New Confirmation Preparation Class

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This is your special invitation to be part of the Confirmation Preparation Class at Good Shepherd Anglican Church.  (Our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ryan Reed, will be at GSAC on Sunday, February 14th, 2021 for his annual visitation and confirmation of all candidates prepared to receive the Sacrament of Holy Confirmation.)

You are receiving this invitation for one of the following reasons:

i. You have indicated interest in preparing for confirmation, being a sponsor, or renewing your understanding of the Faith.

ii. Your status as a “confirmed” member of the parish is uncertain to me, and I’d like to offer you the opportunity to prepare for confirmation, in case you have not been confirmed.

iii. You are very new to GSAC, and may not have a clear understanding of what it means to be an “Anglican”, and thus could benefit from a ‘refresher course’ in the Faith.

iv. In my humble opinion, you would make a great sponsor for someone else, or you may benefit from simply returning through the classes, even if you do not intend to be confirmed.

We will begin our preparation with an “Organizing Meeting”  Saturday,  November 14th , at 1 pm.  If you attend this meeting, you are only obligating yourself to “come and see” what this class will be like.  We will decide the day and time of the meetings (probably Saturdays, late morning or afternoon), and I’ll give a brief outline of the course content.

We will gather in the parish hall at 1 pm, and then move across the parking lot for a tour of the Main Church, and why it is important to the remainder of our classes.  I hope to see YOU on Saturday, November 14th.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Fr. Stuart Smith

Rector, Good Shepherd Anglican Church

Granbury/Acton, Texas

Friday Fanfare: September 4th (A) YouTube Mass back 9/05 (B) Mary the Virgin: Labor of Love (C) Card of Thanks from Judy Hankins

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family (and friends),
At last, the drought has been broken here in North Texas, with close to 5 inches falling in some folks’ yards!  And, simultaneously, when this deluge comes in September, the Summer’s iron grip of 100+ degrees heat is usually vanquished (yes, please, Lord, let it be!).  Yet, as the meteorological heat lessens, beware of the coming Electoral fire and brimstone!!  This year’s election seems poised to be the beginning of a new civil war in the USA.  Whoever “loses” will likely be out for blood.  Whoever “wins” will be sorely tried to forego crowing and provoking anger from the “losers”.  Beginning this Sunday (9/06), I will be adding an intercession in the Prayers of the People at Mass to plead for God’s mercy on us…every one of us.  I will remind you of the biblical proverb, “the Wisdom of God is not accomplished by the anger of Man!”.
Here at GSAC, we are emerging from the Summer to begin preparing for a consultation on Saturday, October 17th.  To be led by Fr. Ron McCrary, this event should be a wonderful opportunity to look at our life in Christ together, and to make some plans for our future.  More to come on that!  For now, please pray for the Vestry, who next Saturday will be meeting with Fr. McCrary to have an initial look at a “Relational Covenant” at GSAC.  That Covenant will be part of our 10/17 gathering later on.  Stay tuned!
Here’s “the rest of the story” (w/ peace to Paul Harvey):
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(A)  “YouTube Mass” back on for 9/05We had hoped to return to the Saturday taping of the Mass for Sundays last week.  However, due to a family tragedy, Sara and I had to be away last Saturday.  So, tomorrow, September 5th, we will begin again the YouTubing of the Mass for Sunday, 9/06.  Thank you, Mr. Ben Bowen and Mrs. Sara Smith for making it happen.  Hope those of you who cannot yet come to “live” Church on Sunday will avail yourself of this pre-recorded Mass.  YOU are the reason we do it, after all.


(B) Mary the Virgin:  the Labor of Love“Labor Day”- the first Monday in each year’s September- is not really a patriotic or religious festival.  As near as I can tell, it is a relatively recent addition to the civic calendar, and is intended to honor the working man and woman with a day off work.  (I do hope that those of you who work hard will be granted some time off Monday to celebrate!)
But, from a Christian standpoint, there is a “labor” which is all too often taken for granted.  It begins with some 270 days of increasing discomfort and distress.  It ends with a pain like no man will ever know.  Then, it actually recommences and lasts as long as the earthly life of the laborer.  Of course, I’m speaking of the labor of women in child-bearing, child-birthing, and child-raising.
No doubt, the “patron saint” of this labor is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  
Of course, Mary’s most recent official “Day” was August 15th.  That day, known variously as “The Feast of the Assumption“, the Dormition (the “Going to Sleep”…in death), or “St. Mary the Virgin” honors the going up to Heaven of the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Some Protestants struggle with the honor of her being “assumed into Heaven”.  I’m not sure how many of those same folk have difficulty with the “assumption” of Elijah the Prophet (in a fiery chariot), or Enoch (who one day walked off with God and never returned).  Those two mighty men of God would no doubt agree that the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ deserves at least as much honor as they do!!
But, whether or not you can bring yourself to honor Mary’s “departure” to the Lord, perhaps you can join me in honoring her for her undoubted Labor of Love:  the Incarnation of the Son of God.Without Mary, no human nature for Jesus!  Without Mary, no guarantee that humility and obedience to the Word of the Lord brings joy and ‘great things’ for us.  If God’s Son had no earthly mother:  then, no Beatitude (blessed are the Meek…the Pure of Heart…), no miraculous celebration of Holy Matrimony…and no harbinger of Revelation’s “Spirit and the bride” who say “maranatha”…come Lord Jesus.
The Christian Life is to be a life of Sacrifice…even suffering…for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  Our Lady, Mary of Nazareth, never ceases her sacrifice for our sake.  She intercedes for us (yes, praying to God…not being a subject-goddess to be prayed to!).  She is- in that sense- our “mother” to turn to when our own sorrows, sins, and confusions arise, and we need motherly tenderness.
So:  Here’s to the Labor of Love by Mary.  And, here’s to all the women before and after her, who also reflect the magnified glory of Jesus Christ through their strong prayer lives and their practical assistance to us.  “Blessed are you among women. And, blessed is the Fruit of your womb, Jesus”.
(C)  A CARD OF THANKS FROM JUDY HANKINSJudy Hankins asked me to convey her thanks for all your prayers during her surgeries and recuperations via this Thank You note she gave me to pass on to you.  Here it is:
“While cleaning my home office, I found 22 Get Well Cards with prayers from my Church Family.When I came home the first time, I obviously read the cards.  But, after a five hour surgery and other problems, my memory was almost goneI was overwhelmed by your caring.  More importantly, it showed that David wanted me Home, and he knew your prayers were the answer!I still have some hurdles, but I have the strength to face them because I know you will  still be praying for me.Thank you for all your prayers.God bless you,Judy

WILL YOU SHARE YOUR TIME AND TALENTS?

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Projects for Small Groups

WEEKLY PROJECTS:

§  Disinfect Pews and door handles in the Church Bldg.

§  Disinfect Parish Hall 

o   Kitchen

o   tables, chairs, door handles

o   Classrooms

o   Offices

§  Outside sign – change message 

AS NEEDED PROJECTS:

§  Make Anglican Prayer Beads 

§  Assemble Guest Bags for visitors 

§  Update Bulletin Board in Parish Hall

Yes, I will.

Signed:

 __________________________________________

Dear Friends,

In an effort to improve communication and fellowship among our parishioners, Fr. Smith and the vestry have endorsed starting a small group ministry in the form of dinner groups.  Each group will have 8 members and will meet once a month sharing hosting duties.  The purpose is to simply get to know one another a little better and be able to have fellowship with our parish family during this time of social distancing.  

The plan is to start this in October 2020 and go through May 2021 at which time we will change groups and start back up in October 2021.  The meals should be simple and each group has the opportunity to set the dates and times for their group.  Some may decide to have breakfast, brunch, or lunch instead of dinner and it can be in your home or a restaurant or at the park etc., the choice is yours. The menu and time are flexible.  In order to plan appropriately we need to know how many of you are interested in participating in this fun endeavor.  Please respond to this by speaking with me or another vestry person.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Blessings,

Susan Steele

Senior Warden

Friday Fanfare: August 7th >>> (A) “What I Hope to do on my Vacation”(B) YouTube hiatus (and were to “go” on 8/15 & 8/22

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family (and friends)- Greetings!


It looks like school days will indeed come to North Texas (at least Granbury’s part) next week.  This season of “Covid” has put many of us on tinter-hooks about almost everything we have taken for granted in years past:  “Will there be professional sports?”;  “Will there be a national political campaign?” ;  “When will we be able to see our natural family, relatives, church family?”


I hope you will remember:  Christ is still King, and those who belong to Him need never fear.  The Church must be an agent of strong Faith, resisting any temptations to despair or irrational fear.  Yes:  we want to be wise and careful.  But, NO…we need not entertain fears that are planted in us by a culture that embraces death (via abortion, infanticide, and assisted suicide) while signaling a concern for freedom from disease.  According to one of our recent readings from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, “We are MORE than conquerors, through Him who loved us”.  Even if I were to (God forbid) contract and die from COVID, the strong, healing, safe arms of our Savior would lift me up beyond bodily death.  Resurrection is the last word from God.  Death is not.  Suffering is not.  Life beyond the grave is a promise…not a pious myth.
So much for an unwanted sermon, eh?  (Sorry!)
Here we go:

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(A) “What I Hope to Do on My Summer Vacation”Tuesday morning, Sara and I drive away for a 2 week vacation.  Here’s a little piece I wrote for the bulletin “Flock Talk” this week:

  “What I Hope to do on My Summer Vacation”

“Beginning Monday, August 10th, I will begin my summer vacation for two weeks:  Yes, I am looking forward to it!!

Sara and I will take a long, driving tour through the lower South. We’ll wind up in Edisto Island, SC, and wind our way back – this time through the Mid-South- to home again by the end of the day, August 24th.

Of course, we will do the usual vacation things:  sleep late when we want to; eat and drink a little excessively when we can safely do so; buy souvenirs we think so cool at the time (and later wonder ‘why did we buy this?”)

Personally, in addition to those things, here is what I hope to do the 14 days we’re away from Granbury and GSAC:

·        Relax with a good book  

·        Dream out loud with my wife about our near and distant future lives

·        Meet strangers and maybe even get to know a few of them (!)

·        See God’s natural beauties and feel the cold Atlantic water on my toes

·        Encounter at least one challenging adventure, and overcome adversity thereby

·        Avoid Covid-19 fears (yes…avoid Covid-19…but not by nurturing fear)

·        Find a couple of new reasons why I love my wife (this should be easy enough!)

·        Finally:  discover how much I’m ready to get back home to the utterly delightful and God-blessed people of Good Shepherd.”

See you in 14 days!!

(B) YouTube hiatus…and where you can “go” for Mass on 8/15 and 8/22

While Sara and I are away on vacation, we will have two excellent supply priests covering Sunday, 8/16 and Sunday, 8/23:  Fr. Bill Bloodgood will supply on 8/16; Fr. Andrew Powell  on 8/23.  I am so thankful to each of them for their help while I’m away.

However, we will not have a Saturday YouTubing of Mass on 8/15 and 8/22 as we ordinarily do.  Mr. Ben Bowen and my wife Sara deserve a break.  Many of you have been kind enough to say that you have gotten a lot out of the pre-corded Masses…and I’m glad you have.  

So:  I did not want to leave you without an alternative, if you are still sheltering-in and accustomed to the YouTube or “live-streaming” option.  Here are a couple of suggestions:

The diocesan website indicates the congregation to which the Bishop is going on a given Sunday…or will provide a link to a celebration of the Mass recorded by the Bishop, should he not be physically visiting any congregation the two Sundays I will be away from GSAC.

Simply go to :  www.fwepiscopal.org, and search for the link.

Alternatively, you may choose another parish’s website to gain their facebook or YouTube link for 8/16 and 8/23.  My personal recommendation would be either Christ The Redeemer Anglican Church in Ft. Worth (wwwCTR.org).  or Holy Apostles Anglican Church (www.holyapostlesfortworth.org), also a near FW neighbor of ours.

TO RECAP:

GSAC  WILL have our usual Youtubing of the Mass this coming Saturday (8/08) for viewing on 8/09.  

GSAC  will NOT have a YouTube service available for viewing on 8/16 or 8/23.  

We WILL be ‘back in the saddle again’ on August 29th.  Hope you can find a good substitute while I am away.

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In Closing, I’d like to thank the Vestry and people of GSAC for the 2 week vacation away  from the parish.  Of course, we’ll miss you…because we love you.

Keep us in your prayers for safety in travel.

We look forward to sharing our adventures when we return on the 24th.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Stuart Smith

Friday Fanfare: July 31st >>> (A) Ryan Robert Barber, R.I.P. (B) The Pattern of our Worship

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
We’ve just about run out of July, and that means- maybe- only another 30-45 days of summer left!!
I hope that each of you is enjoying good health, and hopefully, beginning to feel like you can test your wings and fly into GSAC for an in-person worship service.  It has been gratifying to hear that many of you have appreciated the pre-recorded “YouTube” Masses.  Obviously, though, there is no good substitute for actually being present for one another, and actually receiving the Blessed Sacrament.  My hope is that many of you who have been sheltering-in during July might consider coming to the Church house.  Perhaps, if you are not ready for Sunday mornings, come on a Tuesday morning at 10 a.m….or to Wednesday night’s 6:30 pm Mass. Either of those weekday Masses would be a smaller…safer venue for attending in person.  Try it…you might like it!
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(A) RYAN ROBERT BARBER, Rest in Peace Ryan Barber- son of Ray and Marti Barber- died July 16th in a Colorado Springs, CO hospital, lovingly attended by his mother. Tomorrow, Saturday, August 1st at 2 pm we will offer a Memorial Mass in the Main Church for Ryan.  Since we are expecting folk from outside Hood County to be present, I have decided to distribute the Communion in one Kind for this Memorial Mass, so as to minimize the Covid-19 transmission.   After the Mass, we will gather in the parish hall for light refreshments, provided by our ACW. (Thank you…ladies!)
Please keep the Barbers in your prayers, as they commend their dear son to the Love and Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(B) from the 8/02 Bulletin’s “Flock Talk”:  “THE PATTERN OF OUR WORSHIP”:

THE PATTERN OF OUR WORSHIP

Today’s Gospel Lesson (Mt. 14:13-21) presents a Day in the Ministry Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  When we read the three synoptic Gospel Accounts, we get a pattern of Our Lord’s public ministry.  It goes something like this:

A  Jesus gathers those who come to Him and teaches them about the Kingdom

B  Jesus heals the sick and casts out demonic powers from those who are heavy laden with pain, suffering and the harassment of the evil one.

C  Jesus feeds those who have come to Him, and they eat their fill from His provision.

Interestingly, this is the same pattern we have in our public worship:

a.     We gather in the nave of the Church, and prepare to hear God’s Word, which is read and preached to us.

b.     We have our wounds of heart, mind and spirit bound up when we lift our Prayers up to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

c.      We offer up the Bread of Life & the Cup of Salvation through the Priest during the blessing of Communion, receiving Jesus’ promised Body and Blood as the pentacle of our worship time together.

This pattern of ministry and worship reveals our triune God’s concern for our three-fold nature, and its needs:     1. We have spirits that need inspiration and redirection

                              2. We have minds that need holy instruction and teaching

                              3.  We have bodies that need healing & feeding with Christ’s Gifts

So, Good Shepherd parish family, this Day is yet another Day of drawing close to Jesus our Savior and Lord.  Again, we are called to attend to Him and be filled and set free.  Alleluia!

Fr. Stuart Smith

Friday Fanfare: June 12th – Listening Groups et al.

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(A) “Listening Groups” scheduled for Saturday, 6/20, beginning at 9 a.m.

(B) Malawi diocese celebrating 25 years!

(C) Camp Crucis summer camp drawing near

Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family (and friends),
I greet you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! As Summer begins to percolate, here’s what’s brewing in the life of Good Shepherd:
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(A) LISTENING GROUPS SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 21ST, 9 A.M.-3 PM
If you remember, early in the year 2020, GSAC began to consult with Fr. Ron McCrary, as the parish decided to respond to communication problems and requests forclarity and openness between the Vestry, the Rector, and the membership of the parish.
With the help of our new Bishop Ryan Reed, a way forward was forecasted with these elements:   i. “Listening Groups” (of 6 members to each  group) will meet with Fr. McCrary to discuss two principle issues:
             1. Identify issues that need to be addressed in order to restore unity to Good Shepherd and help the church grow and flourish             2. How the results of this Listening Group process can help Fr. McCrary begin to plan the Parish Wide workshop (this is a Vestry/Rector issue)
ii. “Parish-wide Workshop”       Scheduled 4-6 weeks after the Listening Groups, this workshop will be the discussion and planning exercise that helps GSAC move forward faithfully with God
iii.  Goal setting and future hopes and plans can be developed by the Vestry and Rector as the fruit of “i.” and “ii.” above.
Over 30 members of GSAC have signed up for the Listening Groups.  Early next week, the Office will send a reminder to each group’s members with their time slotassigned for Saturday, June 20th.  Each Group will be led by Fr. McCrary, and should last between 45 minutes to an hour in length.  Note:  the Clergy will NOT be present at anyof these Groups.  Fr. McCrary will meet separately with the Clergy in their own Listening Group.So:  Please pray for this coming Saturday’s groups, and for the entire process of listening, learning, praying and growing.

(B)  DIOCESE OF NORTHERN MALAWI (“DNM”) CELEBRATES 25 YEARS AS A DIOCESE

Our dear friend, Bishop Fanuel Magangani will lead his Diocese in a celebration of 25 years as an organized diocese.  Here at GSAC, I am asking each member of the parish to give a special anniversary gift for DNM in honor of this big event in their diocesan life.Please make your check payable to “Good Shepherd Anglican Church” (or “GSAC”), with the Memo line:  “DNM” 25th anniversary.  GSAC will total the giving and send a single check to the Diocese of Ft. Worth, which will- in turn- send a secure wire transfer of funds to the diocesan office in Mzuzu, Malawi.  Please be generous!  Our brothers and sisters in Malawi are on the cutting edge of real Anglican growth in the world.  To support and develop their clergy, our help for them is crucial!

(C)  CAMP CRUCIS SUMMER CAMP NEARSWith the Governor of Texas’ gradual loosening of the sheltered-in order (due to Covid-19), camps and retreats have been given an explicit “Go” signal for this summer.  For Camp Crucis (our diocesan Camp…right here in beautiful Granbury, Texas!), this means that the month of July will begin a shortened camp season.  There will be special care taken by Philip and Janet Craig to ensure good health and compliance with the Governor’s recommendations for safeguarding against the virus.  
As for me, I am delighted to report that I have been invited to be one of three priests to serve as Spiritual Directors for the “Confetti I” session, which will start July 12th.  In the past, this Confetti session included children from 1st grade through 6th grade.  However, this summer, Confetti 1 will include 4th through 6th grades only.
If you are the parent or grand-parent of a child who is eligible for Camp this summer, please let me know, so that I can direct you to the application process- which requires a sponsoring priest’s signature- for getting that child set for Camp.  You may learn more about Camp Crucis by visiting them on the web at campcrucis.org.
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It has been so exciting to see the Sunday morning attendance grow, as more and more of the parish family is returning to in-person worship at 9:15 a.m.  Yes, we continue to tape the Sunday Mass on the Saturday preceding.  You may go to gsac.church and click on the link to the YouTube Mass.  But, of course, being physically present for each other is infinitely better.  I pray that you will be safe and strong, whether you come to the “church house” or not.  God bless each and every one of you.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Stuart Smith

Friday Fanfare: June 5th Communion in Both Kinds? Yes. Intinction? No.

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings to each of you!
Here’s hoping that you and yours are healthy, happy, and looking forward to joining your parish family- in person- as we worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit this coming Trinity Sunday.
Our Sunday morning attendance numbers have been increasing, as more and more of you have followed the lead of our Governor’s declaration that Church services are “essential”, not “non-essential”. Hence, no one is breaking the law of the land by attending worship- in person- on Sunday mornings.  In fact, I would make the case that there is no safer place to be on Sunday than in the House of the Lord.  Of course, each of us must decide whether it is wise for us to take the risks of being together in public at this time.
CAREFULNESS AS WE RE- OPEN OUR SUNDAY MORNINGS:
The following is a list of suggestions for how to be wisely observant of the suggestions made by the authorities as we gather in public worship this Sunday:
1.  Thanks to Mr. Jim Randle and Mrs Yvonne Finley, all the pews of the Main church have been wiped down with disinfectant.  So:  should you decide to come to church on Sunday, you may sit in any pew and know that it is as clean as it can be!  Thank you, JIm and Yvonne.
2.  If you come as a group (family or neighbors) please feel free to sit as close as you care to sit.  There is no need to practice “social distancing” with those among whom you live.  To be courteous, try to keep a pew between your group and the closest individual or couple nearest you.  This is a courtesy requested…not a demand requirement.
3. There will be disinfecting hand cleaners and wipes available near the entrance.  Help yourself.
4.  When we move over to the parish hall for Refreshments and Christian Formation, please practice the same suggested social distancing as in “2”  above.

SUNDAY, JUNE 7TH BRINGS BACK “COMMUNION IN BOTH KINDS”.  “INTINCTION” (by Priest or individual communicant) is no longer practiced at GSAC.  Our new policy, as of the middle of March, has been this:  Communion in both kinds?  Yes…at your discretion.  Communion in one kind?  Yes…again, at your discretion.  “Intinction”…the dipping of the Host into the Chalice …is no longer available.
You may remember in a previous Friday Fanfare, I quoted Bp. Reed‘s recommendation for Communion during the Covid-19 emergency.  He asked- at that time- that we receive only the Sacred Body of Christ…not the Body and the Blood. He mentioned, as well, that Intinction is less healthy than receiving in either one or both kinds.  In fact, the Customary of the Diocese of Ft. Worth states that we do NOT practice intinction in our Diocese.  Some congregations’ priests have permitted Intinction (as I did prior to our Bishop’s declaration of the comparative un-healthiness of the practice).  However, back in March, I stated that we were no longer going to offer “intinction”.  That is the policy that is now in place. I will be informing our wonderful group of Lay Eucharistic Ministers (who administer the Chalice each Sunday), that they will no longer be permitted by me to participate in intinction during Communion.  I will be reminding the congregation before the Procession  on Sunday that this change has been made.
So:  if you are one of those who have routinely received by intinction, l pray that you will graciously accept the pastoral decision l have made, and receive either in one Kind (and then cross your arms over your chest), or receive in both Kinds.  Please know that I have discussed this policy with Bp. Reed, and he has given his blessing to it for use at GSAC.  This policy will continue after the Covi-19 emergency has passed.Most of all, remember what we believe about the Blessed Sacrament.  What we receive is the very Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  And, by invariable Anglican/catholic teaching, each of us receives the fulness of the Sacrament if we receive only in one Kind.  Perhaps, in the months to come, I can conduct a Christian Formation class on the Sacraments, and so review what we believe, and why.  
God bless you.  I hope to see you all on Sunday.  Until further notice, we will continue to record the Mass on Saturday for posting to our YouTube site for Sunday morning viewing.  If you are not intending to be publicly present for worship at this time, I hope you will utilize the YouTube Mass, and consider including the “Spiritual Communion” prayers as you view the Mass.
Love in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Stuart Smith

Sunday Mass at GSAC: The Day of Pentecost, 5/31/20

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Worship for the Pentecost Sunday is available on YouTube:  Pentecost Sunday
NOTE:  Please wear your Red for Pentecost…at home or as you come to the Church tomorrow.  As you know, wearing Red is our sign of openness to receiving the Fire of the Gospel as we enter into the Holy Spirit’s influence on the Day of Pentecost.
Here is the Lectionary for Pentecost
And on the GSAC.church Home page: On our Web Page https://gsac.church/
It is also available on Facebook

BISHOP’S PASTORAL LETTER During the Mass tomorrow, I will read the Pastoral Letter concerning the Texas Supreme Court decision.  Please read Bp. Reed’s Letter carefully, as it includes spiritual direction, as well as information about the TSC decision.  After reading it out tomorrow, I will- as the Bishop requests- lead the parish in a Litany of Penitence and prayers for renewal of our life in the Diocese.  (The location of these prayers in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer are at the bottom of the Bishop’s Letter).  Here is that Letter:

Bishop’s Letter — Pastoral_May2020.pdf

For those who would like to make their Spiritual Communion at the time of receiving communion, here is the link for that:
Spiritual Communion

We will continue to pre-record these Masses indefinitely.  I hope that many of you will soon consider coming to the Main Church for Sunday Mass.  On June 7th, we will not only celebrate Mass at our usual 9:15 a.m. time, but also re-instate refreshment time and Christian Formation classes in the Parish Hall.


Additionally, beginning on June 7th, GSAC will reinstate Communion in both kinds, with the Bishop’s expressed approval.  So, from that day forward, we will offer the Common Cup to whoever would like to receive it.More on that next week.

One Last Note:
Our Parish has been a key contributor to the Mission of the Holy Spirit in our companion diocese…the Diocese of Northern Malawi (“DNM”) in Africa.  I’m asking that each of us make a special, separate contribution to Malawi, as they celebrate their 25th anniversary as an Anglican diocese during the month of June.  Please make you check out to “GSAC”, with a memo notation:  DNM-25th anniversary.  Thank you in advance for your generosity!

God bless you.
Love in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit…
Fr Smith

Great Good News from the Texas Supreme Court! Our diocese has won its Case!

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Dear Good Shepherd Family & Friends,

Bp. Ryan Reed’s office sent out the following happy announcement earlier today:

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A statement from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.    View this email in your browser

A picture containing drawing, food, clock

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Today we rejoice that the Supreme Court of Texas has issued a unanimous decision in our favor concerning the suit first brought against the Diocese and Corporation more than 11 years ago. After considering our Petition for Review of the 2018 opinion issued by the Second Court of Appeals, the high Court has granted all the relief requested.

Page two of the opinion says in part,

Applying neutral principles to the undisputed facts, we hold that 1) resolution of this property dispute does not require consideration of an ecclesiastical question, 2) under the governing documents, the withdrawing faction is the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, and 3) the trial court properly granted summary judgment in the withdrawing faction’s favor. We therefore reverse the court of appeals’ contrary judgment.

In its opinion, the Court found that the Diocese had not violated any Episcopal Church charter in withdrawing from association to TEC in 2008, and that the actions of the Diocese and Corporation were consistent with our own charters and with the state’s trust and unincorporated association statutes, and it upheld the dismissal of the Dennis Canon as determinative in Texas church property disputes.

Plaintiffs may exercise their rights of appeal, after which a mandate will go to the trial court for implementation.

We are grateful for the Court’s hard work on this decision and for the clarity with which it was rendered. We give thanks to the members of our legal team – Shelby Sharpe, Scott Brister, and David Weaver – for their sound counsel, expertise, and perseverance throughout these proceedings.

We give thanks for our visionary founding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. A. Donald Davies, and for those who assisted him in setting the legal and temporal foundations of the Diocese and Corporation. We stand on their shoulders.

We praise God for the steadfast faith and leadership of our third Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, a true shepherd of the flock, who made many sacrifices throughout his episcopate for the sake of Christ’s holy Church.

Above all, we thank God for his eternal provision and protection for his Church and the people he has called to serve him.


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Please join me in giving thanks to God that Good Shepherd’s 11 year lawsuit cloud has finally passed away!
Let’s also remember to pray for our friends in the TEC who will be struggling to accept an unwelcome decision.  May all of us pray that we will never again find ourselves locked in legal battle with any other part of the Body of Christ.

Love in Christ, our Good Shepherd,

Fr. Smith

Friday Fanfare: May 15th >>> (A) Sunday schedule (B) “Fun Bunch” back to full-speed (C)Supporting Camp Crucis (D) “Jesus, the True Vine”

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
As May unfolds, life at your parish church is percolating a bit more each week.  
For the latest details…here we go!
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(A) SUNDAY, MAY 17TH SCHEDULEThis will be our 3rd Sunday Mass back from the Covid-19 hiatus.  Last Sunday, 5/10, we had 28 in attendance…up by 4 from the previous Sunday.  
As with the previous Sundays, this will be an abbreviated Sunday Schedule.  We will have our usual 9:15 a.m. Mass.  Then, we will skip the Refreshment hourand Christian Formation until we get to the first Sunday in June (6/07). I hope that if you are in good health, and your doctor does not suggest that you stayaway from gatherings of 50 or less, you will join us for worship at GSAC.  As always, of course, use your own judgment.  Just know that you are missed!
We will pre-record the Easter 6 Mass tomorrow- for viewing on YouTube the next day.   So, if you are unable to attend in person on Sunday, consider visiting our website:  gsac.church, and clicking on the Easter 6 connection that will be prominent on the website on Sunday morning.  And, BTW:  recommend to a family member, friend (FaceBook or otherwise) that they can “visit your church” a bit by accessing the YouTube Mass.  It might even be a bit of subtle evangelization.
And, remember:  On Sunday, June 7th…the Feast of “Trinity Sunday”…we will be back on full Sunday schedule, with Mass; then, Refreshments, and Christian Formation classin the parish hall.
(B)  THE “FUN BUNCH” BACK TO FULL-SPEEDGood Shepherd’s Sandwich making ministry will return to full-speed ahead on Monday, May 18th at 4:30 pm in the parish hall.
This great group- nicknamed “The Fun Bunch”- lives up to its name each week as they prepare over 150 bologna and cheese sandwiches (with a cookie to boot!) for distributionat Brazos River Baptist Church the next day.
During the Covid-interruption, the group has kept up 2/3 speed, with several couples taking turns at preparing the sandwiches on Mondays.  Special thanks to Don & Wilma McComas, Clay & Patti Byrne, Lanny & Jeanne McElroy, and to George Pleickhardt for keeping the fire burning during the recess.
So:  if you’ve been looking for a lay ministry to join, come join the Fun Bunch on Monday.  It’s “on-the-job” training for sure.  Lanny will give special instruction on broken cookie reclamation!
(C) SUPPORTING CAMP CRUCISEach June, Camp Crucis sponsors a wonderful “Bishop Iker Golf Tournament” at Squaw Valley Golf Course near Glen Rose.  This year, alas, there will be no tournament, due to the restrictions on large gatherings in these “Covid-19” days.  Members of GSAC have always been generous either paying for a golf round, or via buying Raffle Tickets.  Won’t you please consider simply making a direct donation to Camp Crucis this next month?  You may find directions for how to do this on either the Camp Crucis web page, or the main Diocesan web site.  
And, thank you!

(D) “JESUS, THE TRUE VINE”This Easter Season we have been encountering several of Jesus’ seven “I AM” statements in John’s Gospel.  From “I am the Door”, through “I am the Good Shepherd”, to “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, we have been pondering with joy all that Jesus’ Resurrection reveals to us about our life and salvation.  Here’s a little article I’ve written for Sunday’s bulletin:

Easter 6:  The Resurrection Life of the Vine

May 17, 2020

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser…

Abide in me, and I in you…

I am the vine, you are the branches.  

He who abides in me, and I in him, 

he it is that bears much fruit…” (John 15:1, 4, and 5)

In this Easter Season of Resurrection living, we are invited by Jesus–the Lord of Life–to discover the source and the dynamic of this eternal life.  As well, we are exhorted to reproduce this life in the world. He calls that “bearing much fruit”.

Jesus of Nazareth was a country boy.  

No, not in the “Dukes of Hazard”, good ole boy sense.  But, he was raised in simplicity by a working class carpenter, and a young, uneducated mother

He was raised in a small, ‘hick town’ that was called a byword in Israel (‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth!?’).  Like most country folk, the Son of God lived close to the land, and was observant of nature.  His eyes were not beguiled by the majesty or sophistication of big cities.  Most of His teachings on the Kingdom of God were, likewise, close to the earth, “…either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad..”; “the kingdom of God is like a man sowing seed- some in good soil, some in bad…”.  

No wonder, then, that His depiction of resurrection life was rural and earthy.  “I am the true vine”, “you are the branches”, place us in organic connection to our Savior.  We are to be as close to Jesus as a branch is to a vine.  {In the Eucharistic Prayer this is described thus:  “that He may dwell in us, and we in Him”}  Abiding in Christ (the NIV has it “remaining in Christ”) is the lifelong goal of all Jesus’ disciples:  including YOU and me. The dynamic of this life is His Love living in each of us!  He promises the Holy Spirit as the Way this dynamic life keeps our love true.

Beyond abiding, we are commanded to do what vines and branches do:  they make grapes, which are crushed into wine.  So, we are not ‘consumers’ of the resurrection life of Jesus.  We are, ourselves, to become bearers of lives that are crushed by the Lord in the act of bearing fruit for divine Wine.  And, as our Master entered into Glory by self-sacrifice, so we who abide in Him, live lives of sacrifice.  To lay down our lives in imitation of Jesus is the way to true fruitfulness.

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I look forward to seeing YOU some day soon.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Stuart Smith