Category: Latest Happenings

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

Friday Fanfare – April 3, 2020

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Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd!
I hope you are safe and healthy wherever you are: working your “essential” job or ‘sheltered at home’.
This extraordinary time we are living in gives rise to opportunities for frustration, or for creativity in our daily habits.  If you are like me, you are eagerly waiting for the “all clear” to indicate that we can get back to the freedom of movement and freedom of personal contact that we took for granted…prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.  I hope that many of you have received calls from our Vestry, checking in with you to ask how you are doing and whether you need anything with which your parish church can help.  Additionally, I have been phoning around to see how our folks are doing, and- frankly- just to get to hear you voices.  I miss you all.  Remember, the clergy still gather at the Chapel at 8 a.m. to pray Morning Prayer together.  If you’d like to join us in your home, please do so.  Both the current ‘quarantine’, and the season of Lent give us a chance to read that Christian book or spiritual classic we’ve always wanted time to read.  Make reading a holy habit of this season we are in.  Cultivate prayer with your spouse, children, grand-children.  If you are a writer/reflector, maybe a bit of journal-writing would be a good idea.  What might you read a year from now, looking back on your reflections from these days of pandemic?
We’ve got some plans in place for the coming Holy Week.  And, I have a spiritual tool to recommend…as well as a request for prayers and practical help with our 24/7 food ministry- “Shepherd’s Pantry”.
Here we go….
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(A)  GSAC PLANS FOR HOLY WEEKFor last Sunday (3/29/20) we got the word out (a bit last-minute!) about a pre-recorded Lent V Mass available on YouTube.  Several of you have kindly responded that you were blessed by the opportunity to share the liturgy in this way.
For the Palm Sunday litrurgies, (4/05/20) we are planning to pre-record  ( on Saturday afternoon/evening) both the “Blessing of the Palms” liturgy, and the whole Palm Sunday Mass in the Main Church.  I want to thank Ben Bowen and my wife Sara for their technical know-how in putting this together.  After we have posted the completed recordings to our YouTube account, I will send out a “Saturday Sentinel” giving you the link to access the recordings on Sunday morning (or whenever you so desire).  So:  stay tuned tomorrow evening for that email from me with the link.  All you will have to do is “click” on the link, and you will be set up to enter into the worship experience. { In (B) below, I will give you a special way to experience the Sacramental worship of the Mass.}For the Weekdays of Holy Week:GSAC now has a “Zoom” app, with which we can offer Zoom meetings for everyone who joins in by responding to the Invitation I send out.  For Mon-Friday, I will host a Zoom Bible Study focusing on the Gospel assigned for the Mass of the Day.  Each day, this  meeting will take place at 11 a.m. and last an hour.  Feel free to join in as often as you would like.  Getting “on” is very easy.  Click on the invitation link and you’ll be ready to join in.  (In case “Zoom” is new to you, it is basically a “Face Time” app which includes multiple folk sharing the screen with the host.)  By gathering around God’s Word this way, we both observe these holy days together, and will actually get to see one another for the first time in a while!  I look forward to seeing and hearing from YOU during one of these 11-Noon Zoom gatherings next week.
(B) MAKING A “SPIRITUAL COMMUNION”This pandemic has meant that most of us have not been able to receive the Blessed Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood for several Sundays now.  And, that is a real “absence” in our lives, isn’t it?
One way of recovering some of the blessedness of Communion during times of ‘quarantine’ is to intentionally participate in prayers of “Spiritual Communion”.  The Diocese of Ft. Worth has provided a link to a brief service of “Spiritual Communion”.  Here is that link:
Spiritual CommunionFeel free to download and print out this resource.                                     

Of course, this is a tool that can be used anytime you are not able to receive during Mass.  The beautiful prayers offer us a way to “sanctify Christ as Lord in (o)ur hearts” (I Peter 3:15).  Perhaps, giving attention to such preparation in prayer might help us develop a more heart-felt approach to Holy Communion. 
How we may deploy the link above:
On Sunday, after receiving and distributing the Elements of Communion to the few folk helping record the Mass, I will invite anyone who is interested to use the Spiritual Communion prayers.  I will, myself, pray the S.C. prayers out loud, and observe a brief time of silence for those who are using the SC liturgy with us.

(C) Outreach: Intercessory Prayer and Shepherd’s PantryGSAC has several members needing your intercessory prayers at this time.  Here are the ones of which I am aware:
R.F. Brown
Judy Hankins
Melisa Monson
Shepherd’s Pantry is being filled and emptied every day!  Our “24/7” pantry could use help in two ways:
1.  Donate non-perishable food items (esp. helpful are ring-topped canned meats, baby food, and ring-topped fruits & vegetables)You may simply leave your contribution below the cabinets of the Pantry, or do your own “stocking” into the cabinets.  Daily, I am checking on the condition of the Pantry, and would be delighted to stock into the pantry the items you leave at the foot of the cabinets.
2. Donate financially by writing a check payable to GSAC, with a memo line “Shepherd’s Pantry”.
From the Treasurer’s corner:
Thank you to all who have paid or pre-paid their offerings/pledges to GSAC.  The bills do not ‘stay home’…they keep coming in!  So, we need the parish family to keep as up-to-date as possible in our stewardship giving.
You may simply send your check(s) in to GSAC at :  3601 Fall Creek Hwy, Granbury, TX 76049.

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Sara and I hope that you and your family know how deeply grateful we are to be your fellow servants at Good Shepherd. This “Friday Fanfare” comes with love and prayers.In Christ,Fr. Stuart Smith

Friday Fanfare – 12/6/19

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Dear GSAC family,What a beautifully mild Friday we are enjoying here in North Texas!Let no one say, “We had no autumn this year”…because it’s happening right now!  Thank God for Texas autumns…in December!!Let’s move on to Advent and beyond!!
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(A) TOMORROW’S VIBRANT QUIET DAY:  8 A.M. TO NOONTomorrow at 8 a.m., we will begin four hours of meditations and holy silence in the Main Church.  Fr.  Kenneth MacKenzie- a dear friend of mine- is once again conducting this Advent Quiet morning.  I am so impressed by the vibrant possibilities of this time of quietness, that I have directed our Confirmation Class of Candidates and Sponsors to gather with me at 10:30 a.m. to get prepared for spending the final hour of the quiet morning together in the Main Church.  If YOU have never experienced “holy silence” (which is so much more than the absence of noise!), I beseech you to give this ‘gift’ to yourself in Advent.  (Remember, as well, that the priests present are available for either Spiritual Direction or sacramental Confession throughout the 4 hours.)  As Andrew said to Peter, “Come & See!”
(B) JOHN THE BAPTIST IS VISITING THESE TWO SUNDAYSThe second and third Sundays of Advent bring John the Baptizer right into our midst.  His life and teaching reverberate down through the centuries since he first proclaimed, in the desert, the coming of the Kingdom of God.  His message of repentance is seldom heard correctly…and even less often obeyed!!  Come and hear the sweet, good news that is wound up in the bitter confrontation of John’s cry in the Wilderness.  Though “repent” may sting, it brings with it the healing properties of Truth and Mercy.  Good medicine for us sophisticated sinners, eh?!
(C) THE COURT CASE…UPDATEDYesterday, the Texas Supreme Court heard our objection to the lower, appellate Court’s decision in favor of the TEC Diocese.  The Diocesan web page (fwepiscopal.org) carries a link to the recorded live-streaming of the entire 45 minutes of the hearing.  So, if you are interested, surf on over and see/hear for yourself.  My initial reaction was that our attorney- Mr. Scott Brister- did a superb job of making our case.  But, one never knows what a Court will decide.  The Supreme Court is likely (but not required) to make a decision by June of 2020.  This 10 year walking nightmare must end…it would seem.  Pray that God’s Justice will prevail.

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May God bless each and every one of you as we pray through this Holy Season of Advent.  Don’t let the merchandisers rob you of your peace and serenity in Christ.  “Be still, and know that I am God”- the Psalmist reports from the LORD. To which I can only add:  AMEN!Love in Christ,Fr. Stuart Smith

A “First Communion” Sunday!

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In the good old, bad old Days, Anglican Christians waited until their Confirmation before they received their 1st Holy Communion.  The logical (but not “theological”) reasoning was that until a person reached the  ‘age of accountability’ (variously said to be 12 or 13 yrs. old), that person could not receive the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood with enough maturity to fully comprehend the Sacrament.  Accordingly, the Confirmation Rite was, in part at least, a rite of passage from non-communion to full communion for those who were Confirmed.  This meant that Confirmation was also a tie-in by the Bishop to the Day of 1st Communion…not a bad connection between Bishops and newly confirmed communicants.
However, upon reflection, the Church (in the 1970’s) untied the knot between Confirmation and subsequent 1st Communion.  Though we continue to carefully prepare every young Christian for their 1st Communion, that preparation no longer has to wait until a child reaches an alleged “age of accountability”.  After all, who among us adults can honestly claim to have a fully, completely thought-out mature understanding of the Mysteries of the Blessed Sacrament?  If, in the natural family, a child may benefit from receiving three meals a day with or without an adequate understanding of nutrition, why is it that a child in the Super-natural Family of God (‘The Church’) cannot benefit from receiving the Bread from Heaven, and the Cup of Salvation before Confirmation?  So:  at GSAC, though we continue recommending that the minimum age of  Confirmation is 12 yrs. old, we will grant 1st Communion to any baptized Christian whose parents desire it and who are willing to attend at least three “1st Communion Classes.” 

Our New Bishop Coadjutor

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The Rt. Rev. Ryan S. Reed was consecrated to be Bishop Coadjutor
of the Diocese in a service Saturday, Sept. 21, at Arborlawn
United Methodist Church in Fort Worth before a congregation
of more than 1200 clergy, lay people, and guests.

Very Rev. Reed, The Most Rev. Beach, Rt. Rev. Iker

Plano, TX – Late afternoon on Friday, June 14, the Anglican Church in North America’s College of Bishops consented to the election of the Very Rev. Ryan Reed as the Bishop Coadjutor for the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Reed was elected by the Fort Worth convention on June 1.

Last summer, the current bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker, who has served the diocese in this capacity for over 25 years, announced his coming retirement. In the same announcement, Iker also called for the election of a bishop coadjutor to enter as an assistant with the expectation of taking over the position when he retires. Reed will fill this role and take over for Iker at the end of the year.

A native of Nebraska and raised in Houston, Reed is well-known in the Fort Worth diocese. He was ordained to both the diaconate and priesthood by Iker in 1996 and 1997, respectively. His entire ordained ministry tenure has been within the Diocese of Fort Worth, most recently as Dean of St. Vincent’s Cathedral, the location of the Inaugural Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.

The consent to Reed’s election comes just days before the province enters into its 10-year anniversary Assembly. “There’s a lot of history here,” Reed said. “To be a part of the development of the province over the last 10 years is incredible. I’m excited to see where God’s Spirit is leading us and excited to be a part of the College of Bishops. You can feel the grace and the love in the gathering of bishops; to be seated with them is mind-blowing.”

Iker expressed his approval of the consent on behalf of the diocese. “We are excited about the transition to new leadership by our new Bishop-elect, and that process has already begun. Dean Reed brings to us many pastoral gifts and a fresh vision for the mission of our diocese.”

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church in North America, shared in the joy of the day saying, “Bishop-elect Reed is a Christ-centered priest who has already served his diocese and the province well. I believe he will continue to do so faithfully. The College is grateful to Bishop Iker for his faithful and steady leadership over the years, and we are excited for the future of the Diocese of Fort Worth.”