December 31, 2015
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing you on this the last day of 2015 with a heart full of joy and expectancy. 2015 was a year of many blessings and exciting growth in the life of Good Shepherd. As we stand poised to move forward in vision and faith into 2016, I wanted to point out three major accomplishments that are re-shaping our focus going forward.
Through prayer and meeting together in January, we discerned that our Sunday service schedule would not continue to allow for growth as our congregation’s needs shifted. On March 29, we went from being a church with three distinct services on Sunday morning to a 9 am Traditional service and a 10:30 am Contemporary service. This change was not an easy one, and all were called on to sacrifice for the good of the whole. The result of this change has been the strengthening of the church and even as we continue to adjust, I am encouraged by the acceptance and flourishing of the body.
Good Shepherd once again became the model for the Diocese when on July 1, you sent your Rector on sabbatical for three months. Not only did the church continue to thrive under the leadership of Fr. Ted, the staff, and the vestry, but we also were able to continue with momentum and spiritual growth. I personally want to thank each person at Good Shepherd for this tremendous gift to me and my family. You did not just give me time away but you raised over $14,000 so that my time was productive and refreshing. Sabbatical was a major accomplishment of 2015 and one that will continue to bear fruit in the future.
Advent was the final accomplishment of 2015 that bears recognition. The Church of the Good Shepherd gained some new momentum in worship, attendance, and giving that will catapult us into the vision for 2016 and beyond. Our worship services in and around the theme of longing in the Book of Revelation were a time of growth and celebration. As families gathered together, we saw our December attendance rise over November’s total and also over last December. Coming out of Sabbatical, we needed to recover some financial ground to end the year in the black. What happened for Good Shepherd was nothing short of miraculous. We had our best month of giving since I have been at Good Shepherd – more than $90,000 in gifts! We also received 94% of our pledges for the year which shows the faithfulness of members. What an amazing month!
As I prepare for the New Year’s Day service, I am more optimistic that 2016 will be breakout year for Good Shepherd. You can expect to see renewed facilities, emphasis on Community Groups, and expanded outreach to those who are not yet here. I hope you will join with me in celebrating all that God has done this year and pray expectantly for more in 2016.
The best is yet to come,