03 Sep The Sun Sets on a GSLC Summer | Update from Pr. Chris Enstad
The “Sunshine List”
Last Sunday, I referenced a “Sunshine List” that our Director of Faith Formation, Sarah Iverson, compiled as we prepared for our online Congregational Meeting in June. Many of you have asked to see the list, so here is an updated—and by no means complete—snapshot of all of the ways that Good Shepherd continues to draw people into closer relationships with God, each other, and our community.
You will also be interested to know that many of our committees have begun to convene virtually to plan for the next phases in our building re-opening. Add to the following list your Church Board, COVID-19, and Re-opening Task Forces and then join me in giving thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit who continues to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify us even in these times of separation.
So what has Good Shepherd been up to?
We had 30 folks between the ages of 14-88 in our Conversations Across Generations class. This class was unique, educational, and incredibly meaningful. As churches work to talk about difficult and timely issues, this is a learning paradigm that just kept opening and opening, and we will certainly use it again in the future. Meaningful talk, in a safe space, held and guided by the Spirit.
We’re Making Music
Music Monday has gone VIRAL! Jared’s Music Monday series has been a source of beauty, solace, and education for people. You never know what you’ll get—from Christmas in July to a beautiful reverie, this is a special offering. Reading the comments on the videos is like hearing a lobby conversation! These videos can all be found and re-watched on our YouTube channel, Facebook Page, and website.
We’re Gathering (Virtually)
- Our Stephen Ministry volunteers continue to meet as a group and, within their relationships of care, provide Christian care-taking for folks struggling and grieving.
- God’s Hands and Feet gathers to be in conversation and study concerning the needs in our community. They also are busy collecting, feeding, and connecting resources both in Verona and Madison as they become aware of needs.
- In addition to their weekly email from Sarah, the Primetimers have been meeting via Zoom in order to keep in touch, share stories, and be in prayer together.
- Small groups like Wine and Word, Friday Morning Men’s Group, Contemplative Life, Wednesday Morning Men’s group, are continuing to meet in order to accompany each other on the journey and draw guidance and encouragement from the Word.
- New groups like Space of Grace and College Conversations are building community together around the Word while finding new connections.
- Our high school and middle school groups continue to gather with staff and with small group leaders for Holy silliness and stillness.
- Our virtual VBS involved over 100 families! Through drop off supplies, videos, and prayer we were still able to reach into our kids’ lives with the good news of Jesus!
- The food pantry garden is—once again—yielding pounds of produce for our food pantry thanks to the many hours of work put in by our safely distanced and masked volunteers!
- The youth room is in the midst of a major remodel and is being prepared for heavy use when we gather again!
- Our communications and technology staff have been at work creatively finding ways to make our worship broadcasts and our virtual gathering spaces as efficient, effective, and beautiful as possible. They have been exploring everything from software to lighting – all with the goal to make sure that we eliminate as many barriers as possible for folks to gather.
Our communications and technology staff have been creating and releasing all sorts of videos telling the story of our ministries, our pastors, and our staff. Look for more member stories to come this fall.
- We continue to gather each Wednesday evening and Sunday morning to hear God’s Word proclaimed, to pray and sing together, and to worship the God who is eternal even in changing times. Worship continues to be attended by GS members as well as guests from near and far!
- On Wednesday, August 26, we held a special Service of Blessing and Healing to bring before God the situations in our hearts and our world that are in need of guidance and protection.
We’re Reaching Out
- Our Food Pantry continues to be busy each Thursday morning and afternoon providing food, security, and care to those in need.
- Our Clothes Closet is safely finding ways to get our neighbor’s socks, shoes, and underwear as school begins.
- The Holy Cow has been out in Verona collecting food for the Badger Prairie Needs Network!
- Our home communion ministry continues to call our home-bound members to connect, to pray, and be a vessel of God’s grace.
- Our pastors and staff continue to reach out in email, Zoom, and the good old-fashioned phone to connect with members. Regardless of a pandemic, we are here to rejoice and to grieve together.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the mission and ministry of Good Shepherd!