Father John Messages and Church News!

11.22.20

Father John Wishes everyone a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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10.13.20

Father Glenn's Service

Good Afternoon Good Shepherd Family,

 

We have received many calls and emails inquiring as to the arrangements for Fr. Glenn's Service along with offers to help, he is truly loved so very much!

 

There will be a private service on October 24th held by the Bishop at Good Shepherd of the Hills. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions for public gatherings and social distancing, it was not possible to plan an open service or reception. We know many of you wanted to attend and to accommodate that we will be streaming the service via Facebook so that everyone who wants to can join in some way. We will be sending out the details on how you can watch as we get closer to the date.

 

In the meantime, we are putting together volunteers that would be interested in supplying food for the family after the service. This could be the main dish, dessert, side dish, etc. and we only ask that it be dropped off at the church on October 24th before 10 am. Mary Pierce has volunteered to be the contact person to help coordinate and deliver. If you are interested in bringing something please contact her at 480-282-2539, email at MAPierce@aol.com or you can contact the office at goodshepherdaz@msn.com, 

 

Faithfully Yours in Christ 

Fr. John Christopher, Dianna Slockett & Kristine Kulesza

 

9.24.20

New Task Force Opportunity 

Good Morning Good Shepherd Family,     
       
We need help in formulating new strategies to invite more families with children into our church. I am especially interested in our parishioners with children to join this group as you have the best insights as to how best to go about this. Of course, anyone who thinks the could contribute is welcome also. Inviting new families into our church is an area that Good Shepherd has allowed to be ignored for over a decade and it puts the future of our parish in jeopardy.  Please let either the office or me know if you would be willing to help our church grow.  I thank you all for your prompt attention to this matter.       
Blessings, Fr. John+   

9.23.20

Announcement for All Members of Good Shepherd

 

My contract expires as Interim Priest in January. The Canon to the Ordinary will be meeting with our Vestry in the next few months to detail the revised process for the discernment and search for a new Rector. I will still be here until that process is completed and I hand over my keys.

Please be aware that under normal circumstances this can be a lengthy process. With the current state of affairs, it may take even longer than the “norm.” There is a country-wide shortage of priests and the unpredictability of the virus adds to the difficulty. The Diocese will be monitoring all searches more than in the past, including assigning a Facilitator for Good Shepherd. It is believed that a slow, thorough approach can lead to(hopefully) optimal success. A search will always be time consuming and expensive, so getting it right makes everyone’s life easier. Part of the early process will include determining who Good Shepherd is (core identity) and working that into what is expected of a new Rector. This will be done by Canon Anita, the Canon to the Ordinary. She has been a great addition to our Diocese.

This will create various feelings amongst you from joy to sadness as to me eventually leaving. So everyone can have a better feel for the timing, a new Rector would probably not be here until 2022. Until then, with God’s help, I will continue to serve all of you and work especially hard on growing this church. I love being here and especially love all of you. Blessings, Fr. John+

 

9.12.20

The Passing of Fr. Glenn Jenks 

I wanted to inform all of you that Fr. Glenn Jenks passed away on Friday night. I am heartbroken and know how sad this is for those who really knew him. More information will follow in the next few days and I would ask you to especially pray for Sue, who was the definition of a loving servant.

 

Right now know a few things: Glenn is with the God he loves so much, express your love to those around you as this is a reminder of how much Grace we have, and know in your hearts that you were blessed to have known a man who lived the Gospel.

Personally, I loved him and he was truly a brother to me. I will miss him more than words can say but I know exactly where he is...

 

Fr. John +

 

9.8.20

Wednesday Compline Service

Father John will be holding a Compline Service via Zoom every Wednesday at 7 pm beginning September 9th, 2020. You can follow along using The Book of Common Prayer P. 127, or the online version of BCP that can be found on our website here (https://www.goodshepherdaz.org/join-us-online.html). Please check your email for the Zoom link or contact the office.  We hope to see you there!

 

Topic: Compline Service

Time: Sep 9, 2020 07:00 PM Arizona

Every week on Wed

 

Faithfully Yours in Christ

Fr. John Christopher, Dianna Slockett & Kristine Kulesza

 

7.27.20

We Are Taking a Poll about Zoom Gatherings

 

 Hello, all who showed interest in various ideas for Zoom gatherings. I will list some of them here and ask that you add and/or vote on the ones that sound good. I also would like to find out from you the best days and/or times to have these. I am glad to lead/moderate them or not be involved if you have a group that already has a gathering going. The office is available to help any who need help with getting the gatherings set up.

 

  1. 1.Bible Study
  2. 2.Book Study---fiction or non-fiction
  3. 3. Movie Review--- all watch a movie and then discuss on Zoom
  4. 4.Open Exchange---sharing what we are struggling within a group format
  5. 5.Coffee Hour---just a place to see each other.

 

If I am to be involved, I would prefer to do them mid-morning.

Please respond so that we can get these going and if there are any who have an idea and want to facilitate the group, please offer that up.

 

We look forward to your responses.

Fr. John+


7.21.20 

A Written Response is Needed for This Request

As Good Shepherd prepares for the upcoming Fall and hopefully the re-opening for our church, we need to gather the most accurate information we can get for planning purposes. This planning includes the time, talent, and treasure necessary to have meaningful ministries.

We are asking you to make a commitment in writing (letter, email) to whether you are still planning on being a member of this church. Sadly, some have voiced their choice to leave the church. Please respond by Friday, July 24th, 2020. The only way to ascertain our membership is to ask for a "roll call" of those who wish to continue their relationship with Good Shepherd.

 

As far as our future is concerned, we are working on getting back to the primal and very basic teachings of Jesus. We are focusing our priorities on being a much more mission-driven church, one that is tirelessly working on spreading the Gospel to the ones in society who need the most help. A mission-driven church seeks and commits to involving all its members in worship, education, ministries, fellowship, and pledging. We use Matthew 25:35-36 as our mantra and inspiration. The more we give away, the more we receive back. Some of our ideas and new programs will include: starting a Spanish- speaking service, a comprehensive plan to bring more families into our church, developing a consistent relationship with Native American tribes, giving more attention to our youth programs, and finding new ways to assist the elderly in our parish and community, to name a few. That is a full plate for any church and we are going to need every one of you to help us in whatever way you can. And everyone CAN help in some capacity.

 

Please don't hesitate to contact the office if you have any questions or comments. I again reiterate how important it is to make a full commitment to whether you are continuing with Good Shepherd or not. I thank you for helping all of us with this.

 

Blessings, John+


7.16.20 Please read this carefully- Email Scam!

Please read all emails from Father John carefully. Please check the email address first. Father's John's email address is rabbelrouser1957@gmail.com. Father John will not be asking for gift cards or anything relating to money or services. If you should receive one of these phishing emails please mark as spam or delete. If you have any questions please contact the office.

"In His Light and Love"

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


7.13.20

Loneliness in the Time of Pandemic

 

Good Afternoon Good Shepherd Family,

 

We came across this article on the Loneliness Project in the Bishop's E-pistle and thought we would pass along for those of you that might find it helpful.

 

Loneliness in the Time of Pandemic

 

By The Rev. Patrice Al-Shatti, Deacon, All Saints' Episcopal Church

 

"I will ask the true and painful question: Might I be putting off the dying of this flesh while each lonely hour shrivels my soul?" In Vilma O. Ginzberg's poignant poem, Skin Hunger in Coronavirus Times, we may well be hearing the lament of our own spirits. As the pandemic of 2020 unfolds, nearly half of Americans say they struggle with anxiety or depression. And almost everyone I know has a sadness of the soul that expresses itself as a lack of motivation.

 

Loneliness has been my diaconal call ever since I entered training, but it's never been as pervasive a problem as now, when social distancing, working from home, home schooling, recorded church services, and the end of social activities has everyone spending way too much time alone. With the help of my Communications Director, Nanette Towsley, All Saints' Episcopal Church in Phoenix recently unveiled the Loneliness in America Project, a loneliness awareness effort for the Church and the general public.

 

There is a special focus on the ordinary habits of mind and lifestyle that actually put us all at risk of loneliness: our independence and self-reliance, our dependence on communication through technology, the nature of the modern workplace, and our very special relationship with extreme business and productivity. A timely brochure, shareable as a pdf, gives tips for managing loneliness in the midst of the pandemic.

 

Victor Frankl gives us the wisest guidance here, "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." No one can speed a return to normal, so the thing we must challenge is our internal climate. Psychologists encourage us to differentiate between solitude and loneliness and to watch the inner critic that wants to depress us. Five strategies might be of help right now:

 

• Check in with someone by phone for at least 15 minutes a day. Phone contact feels different to the brain than video calls, texts, or email.

 

• Focus on the conversation. Don't multitask.

 

• Embrace solitude and develop things you like to do on your own.

 

• Serve and be served.

 

• Work to develop both compassion and self-compassion.

 

The Loneliness in America Project is here to help. We don't need to go it alone, and the Church has a pivotal role in fostering true community.

 

Please visit the website using the links above or contact the Good Shepherd of the Hills office if you need assistance in accessing the materials.


7.4.20

Holiday Closure

Good morning Good Shepherd Family,

We hope you are all having a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! Due to the holiday falling on a Saturday we will be closing the office on Monday in observance. Please contact Fr. John on his cell phone should any emergencies arise.

 

6.11.20

We All Need to be Reminded of Some Things

During the last few weeks of unrest, I have continued and even upped my praying time for this church and its members. In reviewing this with many people from our church, the Diocese, and others outside of this church, I have concluded that our commitment to God, and the Episcopal Church needs to be reexamined. Some may agree, others not but this is the reality of the current situation.

It can sometimes be easy to fall into only thinking about our local church as this is the one we are most familiar with. Our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has created a vision for us in what he named the "Jesus Movement," followed by the Way of Love. All institutions change over time and ours has continued to evolve and has re-energized itself over the last few decades.

So how has the overall Episcopal Church evolved? First we exist to promote and spread the Gospel as far as we can. Secondly we are an inclusive and diverse church, welcoming anyone and everyone- regardless of color, gender, political views, sexual orientation, and/or standing in society. This includes (like Jesus) the poorest, most downtrodden and forgotten out there. We follow Christ, and worshipping together is only the first part. I borrowed a phrase from a wonderful deacon who resides in Tucson. He said, "Worship is over, let the service begin." We endeavor to love and care for the environment and work on being good stewards of the earth through "greening" our churches and also protesting any actions to destroy it. We are activists and will always stand against all actions and situations that treat people unjustly. We obviously disagree with any violence or looting but we do support peaceful protests. We work tirelessly with Government officials and Interfaith groups comprised of all faiths and denominations to dialogue with the powers that be to hopefully make changes to laws and policies that do not help in the battle against racism, bigotry, the poor, children, the elderly, the mentally challenged and any group who are not being given the same treatment and care needed to survive and thrive in the world. Of course we will be accused of politics but nowadays, everything gets labeled that. God does not choose any political party to support. God is only interested in helping and healing and loving each other-period.

 

Some may feel this is not the church they grew up with and disagree with the ever-evolving mission that has been set for us to live into. You may buy into some of it and put aside the rest. That's okay as long as we disagree in a loving, respectful way and don't hinder any group who is attempting to better the lives of others less fortunate than us. There is a place for everyone but we all must honor each other and not fall into the worldly ways of attack and aggression. I again implore you to have an open conversation with me regarding any subject that is troubling you. We are spending too much time and effort in outside talking, inflammatory e mails, and rude assumptions and innuendo. I will listen to any criticism, ideas for improvement, and other topics that may lay heavy on your heart. In fact, I issue this as a friendly challenge to any and all to step up and take this action, hiding from no one or anything. I do believe we will get through this and be a better church for it.

 

As always, I ask for critiques, questions, and comments about this message. It is one of the ways to be able to gauge what all of you are thinking and feeling.

 

I close with one of my favorite people and her wonderful quote, "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well." Julian of Norwich

Fr John+


 

 

Special Message from Father John. Click on Picture to start the video!

Father John Message

4.23.20

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 4.22.20

 

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.

4.14.20

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+


4.8.20

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


4.3.20

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”. 


4.1.20

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+


 

3.31.20

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+


3/27/20
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-

3/18.20
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,     
FrJohn+

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