Posts by: Sara 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 

Friday Fanfare: May 8th >>>

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  • Sunday’s plans 
  • Our slow return to usual
  • A Re-scheduled “Listening Groups” date…
  • Jesus’ “I AM the Way”…

Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family (and friends)
The State of Texas is returning to pre-Covid-19 “normal” at a brisk pace!  Suits me fine…but, I know there are those who hope we aren’t being presumptuously eager…given the on-going deadliness of this Virus that besets us.  Here’s to everyone using God-given common sense, informed bravery, and a touch of a sense of humor!
What’s GSAC doing to come out of our Covid-pandemic?  “Hear ye, Hear ye…”…..
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(A)  SUNDAY’S PLANSLast Sunday, May 5th (“Good Shepherd Sunday”) our parish had its first Sunday morning “live” Mass since the middle of March!  We had an attendance of 24.  It was so great to see all the members of GSAC who were there for the 9:15 Mass.  I missed you all (who came), and still miss you all (who have not yet come back).  I did not encourage folks to stay for refreshment fellowship after the Mass (although, a few did…and that was just fine).  I don’t plan on returning to the full Sunday schedule (Mass/Refreshments/Christian Formation Class), until the first Sunday in June.
So:  this coming Sunday, May 10th, we will continue to have our Sunday Mass (9:15 a.m.).  I hope that if you have decided that you are well enough to be amongst a larger group, you will consider joining us.  Since (alas?), we don’t typically have more than 25% of the total Church buildings pew positions taken up on a given Sunday, we are not limited as to how many we can have together in the Nave of the Church for Mass.  On the other hand, if you continue to feel that it is NOT advisable for you to be “out in public” yet, please follow your instinct!  
In addition to the Sunday Mass (“live”), we will continue to pre-record the Mass on Saturday so that you can view it on YouTube the day after (i.e. 5/10)
A hint to accessing the pre-recorded Mass:  if you don’t wish to negotiate the link to YouTube, please consider simply getting on GSAC’s Web site, and click on the obvious “Easter 5” Mass pre-recording which will be there by Saturday night.  You may do that at: gsac.church  And, if you are enjoying the “Youtube” masses, please let us know that.  I’m very proud of Mr. BenBowen (our chief techno-advisor), and my own dear wife Sara (ably assisting him) for the excellent job they are doing each Saturday.  One of the advantages of persevering in the pre-recordings is that people worldwide may accidentally  (or intentionally) land on our YouTube site and hear the Gospel and participate in holy worship.  
(B) OUR SLOW RETURN TO “USUAL”Beyond our abbreviated Sunday mornings, GSAC is returning to its daily worship and bible study schedule.  
That means, in addition to our 8 a.m. Morning Prayer (which never stopped…even during the pandemic’s first rude arrival), we have restored our two Daily Masses (Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 pm).  Both of these are in the Main Church, and so social-distancing is easily available.  As with Sundays’ Masses, the Blessed Sacrament is distributed in one kind only (per the Bishop’s Pastoral Directive)…the Bread of Heaven.  All of you are most welcome to attend either or both of those.  Since it will be a smaller celebration than on Sunday, the Daily Mass might be a good way for you to “get your feet wet” in coming back out of Sheltering at Home.  
(C) A RE-SCHEDULED “LISTENING GROUP”   ‘SAVE THE DATE’If you remember, GSAC was planning a “Listening Group” Saturday for March 21st.  34 of our parishioners have signed up for 6 group of five or six each.   Then:  the Covid-19 pandemic caused us to postpone.  I am happy to announce that our Consultant/Coach Fr. Ron McCrary has agreed to re-schedule the Listening Groups forSaturday, June 20th.    Those of you were signed up for 3/21/20, are automatically re-signed up for 6/20/20!  So:  please “Save the Date”.  And, if you did not sign up, but want to now?No problem.  Simply call the office and we can add you to one of the groups of five; or- if there are enough of you add-ons- we can create a 7th LG.  This event is a crucial opportunity for GSAC to take stock of who/where we are now, and how/who we will be as we live in to our parish’s future…under God’s Grace, with the inspiration and power of His Holy Spirit.  Please pray for this June 20th time together in the Lord.More detailed info. will be sent to you early in June.(D) JESUS’  “I  AM  THE WAY”In closing:  Here is a copy of the little article that will be in Sunday’s bulletin….

“Jesus is the Life”:  Resurrection Life after Death

The 5th Sunday in Easter brings us one of Jesus’ most well-known self-disclosures:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to Father except by me”

We are accustomed to hearing that this claim by Jesus means that no one else is the way, or the truth, or the life.  Neither Buddha, nor Mohammed, nor Krishna, nor Moses, nor any other mere man or woman who ever lived can make the claim that Jesus of Nazareth made…and made it stick!

And certainly, the exclusivity of Jesus as our all-in-all is important.  In fact, without it, we have just another guru…just another “holy man”.  The resurrection of Christ from the dead proves that He is above all others.  No other man ever came back from bodily death.  Every other founder of a religion decayed in the grave.  Only our Lord and Savior Jesus conquered death and rose again to live forever.

Just as importantly, Jesus is the source of OUR eternal life. 

“What sort of life?”, you might ask.

In the original languages, “bios” is the word that describes molecular, physical life.

“Zoe” is the word that describes the higher, everlasting life which only resides where God is. Zoe’ is the very well-spring of life itself…more than just breath and a beating heart.  In Christ Jesus, we see both bios and zoe’  raised to everlasting Glory.  Our “life” in Christ continues to be a physical, biological reality.  In addition, we receive- through Christ’s death and resurrection- the very source of God’s kind of Life.  Though we will one day breath our last, and our grieving loved ones will bewail the coming decay of our “bios” life, Christians know that the “zoe’” Life which Jesus has injected into the world by His Incarnation, Life, Death & Resurrection will one day raise our lowly bodies to the heights of Heaven itself.  (Read I Corinthians Chapter 15 for St. Paul’s beautiful exposition of what our resurrection will be).

So, when Jesus proclaims in today’s Gospel reading , “ I am…the Life”, He is truly saying to you and me, “I am…YOUR Life”.  

The 40 Days of Easter-tide give us the priceless promises of Jesus.  Those who have been baptized into His Death and Resurrection have it all:  His Way, His Truth, and His Life.

Enjoy the Gifts of God!  And:  share them with others!!

Fr. Stuart Smith

Thursday Trumpet: May 1, 2020 Re-opening Edition!

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Greetings, dear Good Shepherd Parish Family!

I greet you with the great Good News of God:  “Alleluia, Christ is Risen”! Furthermore, the State of Texas, Hood County, Granbury/Acton and GSAC are “re-opening” as of today’s date (May 1st).  That’s also good news!

Those of us who have been like “cave-dwellers”- staying within the 4 walls of our homes, and rarely going outside the property lines- may now begin to venture forth on foot or in our cars to enjoy freedom from “post-Covid-19” sheltering-in-home.  Governor Abbott has let his lock-down order terminate on 4/30/20.  No one will be breaking the law by leaving their homes and driving across town, or across the state.

What are we to responsibly do with this re-opening?

That depends entirely on our age, physical condition, immunity exposure dangers, and our God given common sense.  If you are among the following groups of people, you will want to think very carefully how soon you want to choose to mingle with  other people:

  • People with known respiratory ailments, or susceptibility to viruses in general
  • Elderly people whose health is not robust, and who may have had a medical history of compromised immunity 
  • People currently sick with a virus or cold (common sense, here!)
  • People who have had recent, close contact with known Covid-19 ailments

Though this may not be an exhaustive list, you will have heard about the risks of these conditions all through the past 6 weeks.  No need to ignore them now, actually.

However:

If you are NOT in one of the four groups above, you are most heartily encouraged to begin getting back in touch with people in public.  Yes, the 6 foot “social distancing” might still be advisable for you.  But, no, you need not fear emerging from your pandemic isolation into the big, wide, and still-beautiful world.

This most emphatically includes your home Church, Good Shepherd Anglican Church, 3601 Fall Creek Highway, Granbury, Texas 76049.

On Sunday, May 3rd, GSAC will have its first Sunday Mass in the Main Church since March 22nd.  We will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 9:15 a.m.

Once again, I want to stress this point:  YOU are the one to make the decision about coming to the grounds of the Main Church building on 5/03/20.  Please, err on the side of carefulness!

For the foreseeable future, GSAC will keep recording the Mass for posting to our YouTube account (as we’ve done throughout the Covid-pandemic).  So:  you have the option on 5/03 (and forward) to either come to the “Church House”, or to watch the Mass via YouTube on your favorite device.  Your choice.  As in weeks past, we will continue to include a “Spiritual Communion” set of prayers at the end of the distribution of Communion in the recorded Mass.

With a full heart, I have to say that I have deeply missed each and every one of you during the past 6 weeks of separation/isolation.  It’s hard to do without the actual, physical (“incarnate”) presence of the members of the Body of Christ.  We know we are not meant to be in isolation.  I look forward to greeting many of you (with a “holy elbow”, if not a hug) this coming Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in our beloved, holy House of Prayer.  Pray for GSAC, and for all of those who cannot be present, but would love to be.  As the “re-opening” progresses, I will report to you how we are opening up our Parish Schedule as the months progress.

God bless and keep each one of you.  Remember, my cell # is (817) 894-1756, and you are welcome to use it to talk with me any time.  I’d love to hear from you.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Stuart Smith

Saturday Signal: April 25th >>> Connection for tomorrow’s Mass

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings to you, dear brothers and sisters
Well, we’ve got yet another week of “social distancing” and waiting for our Governor to open up the State of Texas.  No doubt about it, the virtue of Patience is being developed in us during these “Covid Days”!!
So:  we will, once again, be sharing the Sunday Mass via a pre-recording of Easter 3 done earlier this afternoon (Saturday, 4/25).  
Here is the link to tune in tomorrow to our YouTube location:

Pre-recorded Service for the Third Sunday of Easter
Lectionary

FUTURE SUNDAYS?
Bishop Reed will be discussing with the clergy the diocesan direction for when and how we can go “live”.  This will take place in a “Zoom” session early next week.  As soon as I have had that conversation, I can communicate with you about Sunday, May 3rd.  Stay tuned!
NEEDING YOUR HELP:

GSAC has two main ways of helping the hungry and needy of our community:  the Shepherd’s Pantry , and the Benevolence Fund.  Each of them could use your immediate support.
Several of you have graciously sent in separate checks marked “Shepherd’s Pantry”.  Thank You!!  This has enabled me to keep the pantry stocked throughout the week.  Others of you have dropped off significant food stuffs to directly stock the pantry.  Thank you…too!  If you have not yet  contributed by check or by food donations, please consider doing that.  It would be greatly appreciated by those who are using the pantry weekly now.
Our Benevolence Fund enables me to directly help folk who have need of emergency assistance.  The “well has run dry” on that fund, so I could really use your donations to the Benevolence work of GSAC.  Simply write the check payable to “GSAC” with a memo line that says “Benevolence Fund”.  And, I thank you!
Next Friday, I hope to be giving you news of soon-coming “live, in the Church building” Mass on Sundays.   Keep this nation and the Church in your daily prayers.
This comes with my love and prayers for you.

Fr. Stuart Smith

Friday Fanfare: April 17th >>> (A) Sunday, 4/19 Plan (B) Rector’s Bible Study ‘zooming’ (C) Help needed with Shepherd’s Pantry

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When we Blessed the Shepherd’s Pantry

Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings!
Hope all is well in your household, and that you are not  – yet –  stir-crazy!  
One of the consolations of restricted freedom of movement during the pandemic is the available time to spend in prayer and meditation with the Lord.  To recommend some good books?  Well:  first and foremost,  The HOLY BIBLE.  Take the extended time to read a book of the Old or New Testament start to finish.  Read it meditatively, asking the Lord to help your mind/heart settle on the verse(s) He wants to speak through to you.  Take your time.  Enjoy the time with God.  If you are a reflective sort, write down any insights, inspirations, etc. after your readings.
Additionally:  here are some highly recommended books:
Practicing the Presence of God,  by Brother Lawrence
Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis
Sacrament of the Present Moment, by Jean-Pierre de Cassuade
These three are short reads, but deeply insightful.
Now:  as to “What’s up at GSAC”….Here we go….

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(A) SUNDAY, APRIL 19TH PLANAs with the past three Sundays, GSAC will pre-record the Sunday Mass tomorrow afternoon.  Then, tomorrow evening, I’ll send the link,etc., for your view and worship with our YouTube presentation on Sunday.  Feel free to share the link with friends, family, enemies, anybody.  It might surprise you that- in the current moment- folk who might not come to the Church building, might be willing to view the Church’s worship service on-line.  Maybe, start with family members…then think of others with whom you can share.(B) RECTOR’S BIBLE STUDY “ZOOMING”Tuesday mornings at 11 a.m., GSAC has its weekly “Rector’s Bible Study”.  We will return to a Zoom class this coming Tuesday.  However, on the first Tuesday…4/21/20…I have a doctor’s appointment I must go to…so:  we will “Zoom” at 1 pm. on 4/21 only.  On subsequent weeks, we will return to the 11 a.m. hour.On Monday, I will send out an invitation to everyone on this list.  Please feel free to join in.  Have your Bibles turned to the Book of Isaiah.  The class lasts only an hour, and we try to keep it informal.Come one, come all!(C) HELP NEEDED FOR ‘SHEPHERD’S PANTRY’Two years ago, GSAC began a food pantry ministry on campus called “Shepherd’s Pantry”.  It is the only 24/7 pantry still operating in Granbury.  No ID is required…no one must show their “qualifications” to receive.  It is a simply “honor system” pantry.  Our very own Gary Cox built the sturdy and attractive building.  He and his wife Debra- along with Jim and Kathy Hanlon- have maintained the pantry for the past 24 months.  Some of you have begun to contribute financially.  Others drop off non-perishable food stuffs from time to time.  Thank you soooo much!  We are in need of as much help as we can get during this Pandemic.  The Pantry is no sooner filled than emptied within 24-36 hours.  So:  if you are looking for a way to help, we sure need you!You may write a check payable to “GSAC” with a memo line “Shepherd’s Pantry fund”.  You may drop off foodstuffs at the parish hall door or at the foot of the pantry.  
God bless each of you who can share!

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Please know that you are in my prayers.  Do not hesitate to call me at (817) 894-1756 if you’d like to talk.  I am nearly always available.
Let’s keep praying through this extraordinary season.  Soon…we hope to announce a return to Sunday “Live” services!!
In Christ,
Fr. Stuart Smith

Thursday Trumpet: Maundy Thursday-Easter Day at GSAC

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Today, we have begun our annual “Tridiium” (“Great Three Days”) of Holy Week with Maundy Thursday.  This morning at 11 a.m., we had our 4th of 5 Zoom Bible Studies on the Gospel reading appointed for the Holy Week Daily Mass.  Tomorrow at 11, we’ll look at John Chapter 19 together.
This Holy Week- of course- is extraordinary in that we are not opening the Church’s buildings for the beautiful and powerful liturgies of each Day.  By this email, though, I hope to encourage you with some ways to prayerfully keep these Days in your home.
MAUNDY THURSDAY:
One of our Traditions is to keep an overnight Prayer Vigil in the GSAC Chapel…with members signing up for one hour (or more) to ‘Keep watch” with Christ during this Night which He spent incarcerated in Jerusalem before His Passion & Death.  
So:  if you would, choose a time that you will hallow in your home this evening.  If you have a ‘prayer closet’, room, or special place- indoors or out of doors- keep silent vigil with the Church in prayer.  If you have a copy of the “St. Augustine’s Prayer Book”, there are 2 excellent “Holy Hours” which are guided meditations you could use for your hour of prayer.  Alternatively, you could spend your time simply reading slowly, prayerfully, through the Gospel portions which detail the Maundy Thursday life of Christ. (Eg.:  John, Chapter 13 would be an excellent choice. You could even ‘read on’ through chapter 14-17).
GOOD FRIDAY:On the Diocesan Website is a link to a form for “The Stations of the Cross” which you could use during the hours Jesus hung on the Cross of Calvary (ending at 3pm).  Here is that link:
Stations of the Cross booklet

Again, as with Maundy Thursday, you may simply want to read prayerfully through John’s account of the Crucifixion…John Chapter 19.  As well, you could utilize the intercessions in the Book of Common Prayer (1979) :  Pages 277-280 provide the “Solemn Collects” which the Church will be offering up all over the world on Good Friday. 
Whatever you choose to do, Good Friday is one of those days on which the Church asks its members to practice fasting.  Along with Ash Wednesday, Good Friday is a day to abstain from food (within health guidelines per your medical condition and your doctor), as we humbly walk with Christ to His suffering on the Cross for our salvation.
HOLY SATURDAY/EASTER DAY:During the day, 4/11/20, you might choose to pray through the brief liturgy on page 283 in the Prayer Book.One of the folk traditions of Holy Saturday is to spend some time outdoors gardening (if weather permits).  The idea is that, as Jesus lay in the tomb in a garden, we may stay spiritually close to Him during the day time by spending time in our own garden spaces.   When the Church is able to be on the premises, Holy Saturday is a great day to do the last preparations of flowers and special colors in the yards and premises of the Church.  So, if you have a special garden area on your property, pull some weeds, plants some seeds, scratch around in the garden, remembering Christ has been “planted as a grain of wheat in the earth” (John 12:23-26)
During the afternoon of Holy Saturday, we will be pre-recording the Easter Day Mass at GSAC.  Just as we have done the past two Sundays, we will post the service to our YouTube page, which you may access by simply entering “Good Shepherd Anglican Church Granbury” on the YouTube app.  An “Easter Mass at Good Shepherd Anglican Church Granbury” should be available for your to use on Easter Day, Sunday April 12th.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++If  you are like me, you long with all of your heart to be able to be with the whole family of GSAC at our Church buildings these 3 great days beginning tonight.  Hopefully, we will very soon be able to socially mix…rather than socially distance ourselves from one another.  This comes with all of my love for each of you.  Sunday will be my 14th Easter Day as your priest and pastor.  It is a great joy and privilege to be a part of this wonderful, loving family of God.May your Holy Week and beginning of Easter bring you the Joy of Jesus and the power of His Resurrection…In Christ,Fr. Stuart Smith