Father John Messages


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Father John Message


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Straight Talk About Zoom and a Few Other Things...


I want to re-clarify a few points about the usage of Zoom for our services. The system is far from perfect but as long as we are homebound, it is about the best we can do. I still think that once a month we will still do a service or two from the church as the music is clearer, and I don't want anyone forgetting our beautiful Sacristy. It seems many struggle with signing in to the system. Please contact the office directly for one-to-one instruction. We are here Mon through Thurs from 9 AM to 4 pm.


Now I must bring up something very repugnant to me but it needs to be addressed. Now, this pertains to only one person but it was so hurtful I need to call it out. I abhor doing this but being the assigned spiritual leader of this church I have no choice but to call it out. During the service, a female voice made a very disparaging remark about another member of this church. I was horrified to be honest and the only thing I can hold on to is that I think the person didn't hear it. I know this is true because enough folks contacted me about it. So whoever said it, please look in your heart and ask God for forgiveness and if it is honest, you will receive it. I also remind everyone that simple civility is called for here and the fact we are followers of Jesus, we should all strive for Gospel-like behaviors.


And lastly, Zoom has quite a few little glitches in it so that music and our trying to read in unison suffer somewhat. And also with what happened last week, I will be muting all for the entire service, save the Lector. If you want to read aloud at home, that is great. The site will also be opened at the end of the service for people to visit (virtual coffee hour).

So once again, please stay safe, treat yourself and others kindly, and pray for everyone to stay healthy and be protected.


Blessings, Fr. John+


P.S. The Food Bank needs our help! Due to the virus, the number of people in need has increased drastically and our donations are needed more now than ever. Attached you will find the May Wish list from the Food Bank. We will continue to accept donations in the church courtyard Monday through Thursday from 9am to 4 pm.


A Change in Direction---For the Better, Methinks

Happy-After-Easter week to all my brothers and sisters! I hope you enjoyed our Easter Service and bank on there being a service every week. That brings me to a big announcement that will be positive for all, I hope. We will begin doing almost all services through ZOOM starting this Sunday. I am making this decision based on the following reasons: 1. Parishioner safety. Easter was an exception but it is not right for me to ask people to be around each other for services. 2. More participation by you all. Now we can have Lectors read from their homes. 3. Eunkyung has a piano in her home so we will attempt to keep music in the service in a social distancing way. We will again apprise you of directions for viewing the service every week and remember, with practice, we will become adept at this format.


A FRIENDLY REMINDER! Please continue to bring food for the Food Bank ANYTIME you can. We accept it every day -Mon thru Thurs., 9 AM to 4 PM. This so important as the pandemic drags on that many aren't being fed. You can also always give money if you can't bring food. This is our number one priority as a church right now. Thank you all in advance!


The Bishop's son Nathan came through his surgery really well so thanks for all the prayers!


Lastly, stay strong, stay faithful, love yourselves and others, and know that together through our loving God, we will not only survive but thrive.


Blessings, Fr. John+


For Your Worshipping @ Home Pleasure

Hello, my brothers and sisters!

We decided to send out the bulletins for both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as there will be no online services for either. It is a good discipline to read through them to remember how important these Holy Days are. I will leave the foot washing to you to do by yourselves! For Friday, doing the Stations of the Cross out loud is also a way to remember their significance. I will be with you on Easter morning for as good a service as we @ the church can provide

With love, prayers, and Blessings, Fr. John


Updates from the Office

Hello Good Shepherd Family.


Along with the bulletins Father John mentioned, we are attaching a quick start how-to guide on the Online Giving link located on our website www.goodshepherdaz.org. As you all know at the Bishops urging we are continuing to pay our staff at the church as well as at the Gold Mine. This is making your contributions more important than ever. This method is easy, quick, and can be done from your own home! Please let us know if you have any questions, we are here to help!

Tomorrow afternoon we will send out the Easter Bulletin, the Facebook Live Link and a quick start guide to help get you where you need to be to view the service on Sunday at 9:00 am


Faithfully Yours in Christ


Fr. John Christopher, Jim Lillis, Dianna Slockett & Kristine Kulesza


A Word from Fr. John


I actually had this idea in a dream last night so I will try to articulate it here for the ones who really struggle with being alone with themselves. If you are feeling anxious, antsy, irritated, sad, etc., please understand that a huge amount of the population is feeling this way. Reach out to others---friends, family, and clergy want to listen and be present for you. If you have always felt this way in your life, now is the time to do the incredible difficult work on yourself to be "comfortable in your own skin." Again, there are both professional and personal folks who can guide you through this work. It usually stems from unresolved issues and/or regrets in our lives. Do you need to forgive or be forgiven, and that includes forgiveness of self? Do you spend too much time in your past (woulda, coulda, shoulda)? Are you projecting too far into the future (usually through a negative lens)? All of this can be worked on, but you have to start with God's complete acceptance and love for you. Secondly, let go of judging yourself! Accept the fact that you are just as God made you-take it to heart. Be disciplined in your approach, more, not less self-care is needed here. Pray, pray, pray and work on meditating. Do it even if it is uncomfortable, even if you are "faking" it. Don't give up. Lastly, borrow an AA discipline of taking a moral inventory of yourself-that means everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you need assistance, call or email me and I will walk with you. During this trying time, growth is attainable if you are willing to try.      
God Bless you all.     
Fr. John+      
“We would want to reiterate that sandwich making has been postponed until further notice, and we regret that the Honduras Dinner has been canceled until next year. We know that they would still appreciate any donations”. 


Hello, Faithful disciples of Good Shepherd!

Greetings from the "Command Center" of Good Shepherd. I wanted to update you on our efforts and share some observations. First I must commend all of you who are responding so generously to our call for all types of donations for the food bank and our cherished next-door neighbors. THIS is the Gospel in action! We must stay this course for probably months so take heart in the fact that we are truly making a difference for those who need it most. I must call out and congratulate two of our groups who are working so exceptionally well. Jim, Dianna, and Kristine in our office are working above and beyond what anyone could ask for. We are ZOOMING, doing live services, our website is improving daily, and we are coordinating both individuals as well as communal needs. The other group who have earned kudos and a major shout out is our Vestry. Our meeting last night was the best one ever, in any church I have been associated with. Everyone working together to make decisions (some tough ones too!) to enhance our church in every way possible. My job is easy with this group to support me. This weekend we are honored to have our Bishop celebrating Palm Sunday with only us. More info to follow but know that there will be two services, 8 and 10 with a "virtual" coffee hour to follow each service. This will take place on ZOOM and all the details and directions will be out tomorrow. If you can't Zoom, you can still call in and at least listen to the service. I ask all who want to participate to do so during the service time you normally attend. Zoom can only handle so many at a time. Stay tuned for further instructions...


On Easter, we will be "live" again from our sanctuary and will add music to the service. I am excited but admit it is a little weird preaching to an empty room. And as a man once said, "I have a perfect face for Radio..."We are now in the stage of moving forward on many projects that are a necessity for the health of our building. I will keep you apprised as we get them done. That's all, for now, Bunkies and keep reaching out to one another, to me, keep spring cleaning and finding things to donate for when the Gold Mine re-opens, keep praying, and stay safe and healthy. Watch movies, read, exercise, and play games. Two comments from two parishioners that made me chuckle were: Steve LaMar shared he and his wife are in a VERY serious Yahtzee tournament. If Steve wins, he may need a place to stay... Robert Hindle shared that, their house has never been cleaner." Many can relate to that, I bet. In a complementary way, I have named my wife the cleaning Tasmanian Devil. The only thing I do is stay out of the way!


Blessings to all of you,


Fr. John+



Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear


Hello all, I hope and pray this email finds you safe and healthy.

I want to clear up any misunderstandings about food donations for both the Food Bank and our neighbors next door. We are going to take donations anytime, Monday through Thursday from 9AM to 4 Pm @ the church. We have set up tables outside of Maitland Hall where these can be dropped off and I have lined up folks to deliver them. Right now, across the country, all food banks are being taxed beyond their limits. Now is the time to really step up and give as much as we can. This virus is going to be much worse before it gets better and what we give could be the difference between a family eating or not. If you choose to, money can be given, and I and a few others will do the shopping (my daughter Sarah has even volunteered to do this). We all for the most part have been graced with so much and now is the best time to act out the Gospel.

Prayers and Blessings for you all, Fr. John+

EXTRA, EXTRA---Read All About It!       

Greetings from the Good Shepherd “Monastery,” formerly Good Shepherd church. ‘Tis a wee bit lonely here, but your priest and office staff are working hard to catch up and even get ahead on many items. A real paradox
is that we are actually busier now than when the church was open. There are so many new things to learn and get up running right now, and trying to keep up with the almost hourly changes in the world is keeping us hopping. 

OK-start your engines because I am going to race through quite a bit of info here to keep you up to date. This Sunday will be our first  “Live” service at 9 AM, which is going to be Morning Prayer on Facebook.. Next week will be a full Eucharist service for Palm Sunday. More instructions to follow from the office staff on how to view this and if you miss it, where to go to see it later. Our next Tuesday Vestry mtg. will be on ZOOM for the first time (God Willing). We are actually learning this through a Webinar today, so it gives you an idea of how fast we must learn and how our church is changing (“Warp speed,Scottie!”). We are also streamlining our information tracks in that we will be centralizing it to our web page in the very near future. Soon there will “one-stop shopping” for all our needs in one place.   

We are finalizing the following project to enhance our church: Gold Mine roof, the foundation in the back of the church which is showing signs of decay, more handicap parking, the ramp for the stairs by the columbarium, and the Pet Memorial. It would be great to get these started, and as finished as possible for the day, we re-open the church.       

I again want to reiterate that I am available for folks to come and chat, vent, rant, or express how they are feeling and getting along during this time. I meet now with people in the courtyard, and we sit apart to keep the exposure to a minimum. Starting this Monday through Thursday, the church sanctuary will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM. It is open for you to come and pray, meditate, or just sit quietly in. I can also meet you there to chat. Please let us know if you want to be in there if you would.       

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to know how you all are doing. I am actually very motivated and energized by this time, which I can only give God credit for. I am dreaming of the time we all are together again. I pray this time turns from a negative to a positive for you. There is space for growth in ourselves if we trust in our loving Creator. I hope you don’t back down because I won’t. I love you all and am both honored and humbled to be your priest right now.         

Blessings, Fr. John+   

"What lies behind us, and what lies ahead of us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us"            -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

Hello to everybody, we are currently working on getting the new Directory out, should have it by next week. When we do, we will let you know when you can pick it up, or we can send it out electronically. We are figuring out how to use both Facebook and our website for at least an audio of a weekly message from yours truly. We will also send out the weekly readings for folks to peruse. Please send us any item of interest we can include in the next Voice-get really creative! I also am soliciting people and ideas for who, how, and what we can do to serve the ones who will be hit the hardest during this time. Lastly, there are many avenues for worship online and so send them to me and we will get them all on another blast. Please pray, study, and discern your own time in this wilderness. I can guarantee you will grow spiritually deeper and closer to GOD if you put some real effort into it. I personally am writing daily in a tone I call "The Viral Diary." Don't hesitate to share various practices, rituals, or other ways to stay and grow into GOD. We will get through this and it will make us all more appreciative of what we have, what we really don't need, and a taste of humility I know I need. Remember to call each other and stay in touch. 

Stay safe, and know you are loved,     

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