Author Archives: Sandra Alagona

Holy Week Online

Holy Week 2020


There is no doubt that Holy Week this year will feel a bit different as well as look quite different.  But we are Resurrection People and at this time, it is perhaps even more important that we lean in to Jesus and his powerful, redeeming story of sacrifice and resurrection.

On the schedule:

  • Monday through Wednesday in Holy Week – Join Father Robert at 6:30 pm via Facebook Live for a brief meditation on the appointed Psalm of the day
  • Maundy Thursday – Tune in at 6:30 pm to Facebook Live for a special Maundy Thursday service led by one of Good Shepherd’s own beloved familiies
  • Keep Watch at Home with the DisciplesBeginning at 7:30 pm, join us in keeping watch with Jesus in this year’s prayer watch. Sign up here!
  • Good Friday – Join Good Shepherd’s lectors and youth at 6:30 pm on Facebook for the Passion according to Matthew and the Stations of the Cross
  • Holy Saturday – Join Miss Kathleen at 6:30 pm on Facebook for a special Godly Play story, “The Faces of Easter”
  • Easter Morning – Celebrate the glory of God’s redemptive love and Jesus’s resurrection  at 10:30 on YouTube for a special Easter morning celebration

In addition, Daily Office services will continue this week:

  • Morning Prayer at 8:30 am with Kathleen Crevasse – on Facebook
  • Noonday Prayer at 12:00 pm with Fr. Robert – on Facebook
  • Evening Prayer at 5:00 pm with Fr. Arthur Jones – on Facebook
  • Compline at 8:00 pm with Hal Miller – on Facebook

Where to watch

Monday through Saturday at 6:30 pm on our Facebook page. The easiest way to watch all livestreams and videos is by clicking here.  You do not need a Facebook account to tune in; simply click the link and watch – and don’t forget to unmute the video feed by clicking on the speaker icon in the lower right-hand corner of the video.

When a live video is playing on this page, it will be under the Happening Now heading.

If you do not see a live video playing, refresh your browser tab or window.  Not sure what the refresh button looks like? Look for the right-pointing circular arrow button near the top of your screen.  It will look something like this:  

Remember, videos and streams on the homepage of our Facebook page appear under the pinned posts in our Posts block – you may have to scroll down the page a bit!

The Easter Morning service will be streamed live to our YouTube channel and the link to the stream will be shared to our Facebook page. The service will also be available at the top of our Church Today page on our website once the stream has begun.

In order to add your comments to the chat on YouTube’s website, you must have a Google/Gmail account, however, you do not need an account to view the stream or any of our videos on our YouTube channel or on our website.

Please email Sandra your feedback after the service. We want to ensure that we can all worship together on Sunday with minimal interference from technology.


Keep Watch at Home with the Disciples

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.”

These words come from Evening Prayer and Compline liturgies in our prayer book and ask God to do the work we are called to do as we take our moments of rest. Following our online Maundy Thursday online offering on April 9, we invite you to keep watch from your homes with the disciples. We invite you to recall the Maundy Thursday liturgy – receiving the Great Commandment, washing each others’ feet, seeing the altar stripped.  And then, the darkness of Good Friday falls upon us.

We are looking for volunteers to keep watch, to sit in prayer, study, and meditation in their homes from 7:30 pm on Maundy Thursday through the night into Good Friday.

Click here to sign up to keep watch with the disciples!


A Household Holy Week

As we prepare to journey to Jerusalem this week in our homes, many have been sharing ways to create a sacred space at home. How might we use these spaces for Holy Week? What objects might we place on our altars each day to remember the final week of Jesus with his disciples?

Click here for a resource for some wonderful ideas for observing
Holy Week at home.

Church Today

 Sunday, May 31, 2020
The Day of Pentecost

Today at Good Shepherd we offer our latest Sunday of online offerings during this public health crisis.

On the schedule:

  • 8:45 am – Godly Play on Facebook via video Premiere
  • 9:15 am – Lectionary Bible Study with Fr. Robert via Zoom and shared via livestream to Facebook.  To join the Zoom meeting room, email Sandra at sandra@gslookout.com for the link
  • 10:00 am – Godly Play Wondering & Response with Miss Kathleen on Whereby (email Kathleen at kathleen@gslookout.com for the link)
  • 10:30 am – Ante Communion with Fr. Robert and Deacon Janice on Facebook and YouTube and here on this page
  • 11:30 am – Music for Sunday with John Wigal and the choir; published to Facebook

The Ante Communion service bulletin can be downloaded by clicking here.

Where to watch

The Lectionary Bible Study & Godly Play will be broadcast live on our Facebook page. The easiest way to watch all livestreams and videos is by clicking here.  You do not need a Facebook account to tune in; simply click the link and watch – and don’t forget to unmute the video feed by clicking on the speaker icon in the lower righthand corner of the video.

When a live video is playing on this page, it will be under the Happening Now heading.

If you do not see a live video playing, refresh your browser tab or window.  Not sure what the refresh button looks like? Look for the right-pointing circular arrow button near the top of your screen.  It will look something like this:  

Remember, videos and streams on the homepage of our Facebook page appear under the pinned posts in our Posts block – you may have to scroll down the page a bit!

Ante Communion will be streamed live to both our our Facebook page and YouTube channel; click here to go directly to the service’s stream on YouTube.  The service will also be available at the top of our Church Today page on our website once the stream has begun.

In order to add your comments to the chat on YouTube’s website, you must have a Google/Gmail account, however, you do not need an account to view the stream or any of our videos on our YouTube channel or on our website.

Can’t watch online? Use your telephone to join us live!

Join our Ante Communion service’s stream on Facebook by phone – you do not need a Facebook account or a computer!

Instructions
Call the phone number below and, when prompted, enter the access code listed below followed by the pound sign (#).  The service stream will go live at 10:25 and the service itself will start at 10:30.  Callers will be able to listen to the service.  If they speak, they will not be heard by viewers watching the service or by those of us who are running the service’s stream.

Phone number: 1.888.958.7272
Access code: 760856756

Please email Sandra your feedback after the service. We want to ensure that we can all worship together on Sunday with minimal interference from technology.

COVID-19: Caring for our community

As news about the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to change, we will be sharing and updating this page as our response and practices shift to this fluid and rapidly changing public health crisis.  Our chief goal is to ensure that we are taking care of the most vulnerable amongst us. We are monitoring news and following guidelines from The Episcopal Church, the Diocese of East Tennessee, the Centers for Disease Control, Hamilton County, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the city of Chattanooga.

During this crisis, this page will be updated twice weekly – on Monday afternoons and Friday mornings.  If any updates are posted outside of this schedule, we will make an announcement on our Facebook page.

Our current online service schedule is below.


May 18, 2020

Today, we launched a parish survey both by email and by post asking for parishioners’ thoughts and input as we continue to develop our plans and protocols on resuming in-person worship at Good Shepherd.  Surveys can be completed online by following the link above, or by completing and mailing us the paper copy which was sent to each families’ home.  Surveys should be completed and returned to us by Sunday, May 24, 2020.


May 7, 2020

Today, Fr. Robert announced what steps we’ve taken through the federal government’s Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) to ensure the employment of all church and school employees during this public health closure.  To read his letter to the parish, click here.


April 3, 2020

To comply with the stay at home orders issued by the City of Chattanooga and the State of Tennessee, all clergy and staff will be fully remote and working from home.  This includes preparing for and participating in online services and activities.  The chapel is now closed to the public and we ask all parishioners not to enter the church/nave, and to respect these new local laws and remain at home yourselves.


March 20, 2020 (online services last updated May 22)

We have moved our services and activities entirely online.  All videos and livestreams will appear or take place on our Facebook page and are then archived further into playlists on our YouTube channel each evening for ease of finding.  As of April 19, Sunday’s Morning Prayer service is being simulcast on our Facebook page and on our YouTube channel as well as here on our website on our Church Today page.

If you do not immediately see the videos or livestreams on our Faecbook page, scroll down past our latest Photos block until you reach the Posts block – live streams and recorded videos with the ability to join or start a watch party (indicated by a purple button with popcorn in a bucket icon) will appear at the top of our Posts block or below the latest pinned post. Both livestreams and watch parties allow us to share comments with one another in real time; watch parties allow us to more easily respond to comments in writing, while during livestreams we can sometimes reply to comments by voice or in writing.

We hope these offerings help you stay and feel connected during these strange times, for we are all still the Body of Christ.  As new offerings are added to this schedule, we will notify the parish by email, social media, and on our website.  If you have any  worship ideas or have something encouraging you would like to share with our church family, please reach out to Sandra Alagona at sandra@gslookout.com.

Daily Office

  • 8:30 am – Morning Prayer with Kathleen and others (Live)
  • 12:00 pm – Noonday Prayer with Fr. Robert (Live)
  • 8:00 pm – Compline with Hal Miller

Tuesdays

10:30 am – Healing Prayers and Service with Terry Childers and Fr. Robert Childers (Facebook)

Healing prayer intercessors – parishioners who usually attend our Tuesday Healing Prayers and Eucharist service, and who were offering healing prayers at the 8:00 & 10:30 am services this Lent – will continue to meet using phone and internet technology.  Part of their weekly practice is to pray for parishioners on our prayer list (click here for the prayer list), for each other, and for other prayer requests they’ve received.  If you have a prayer request or would like to add yourself or a loved one to our prayer list, please email me and I will share these with our healing prayers intercessors.

Wednesdays

  • 5:30 pm – Meditation with Fr. Robert (Live)
    In lieu of the 5:30 pm Eucharist service, Fr. Robert will share a devotion
  • 7:00 pm – Youth Bible Study and Discussion
    The Youth Group will continue its Wednesday night Bible study and discussion via Facebook Watch Party on the GS Lookout Youth Page

Thursdays

  • 5:00 pm – Meditation with Fr. Robert (Live)
    In lieu of the 5:00 pm Eucharist service, Fr. Robert will share a devotion

Fridays (occasional)

  • 5:00 pm – Meditation with Fr. Robert (Live)

Small Groups & Bible Studies
Several small groups and Bible studies will be meeting online in face-to-face (or webcam to webcam) meeting rooms.  If your group or group leader has requested an online meeting space, you’ll be receiving instructions on how to access these later today.  If you lead a small group and would like an online meeting space, or would like to learn what our options are, please email Sandra.

Supper Clubs
In light of social distancing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control, we ask that supper clubs NOT meet while social distancing guidelines are still in effect.

Sundays

  • 9:00 am – Godly Play on Facebook via video Premiere
  • 9:15 am – Lectionary Bible study with Fr. Robert on Facebook Live; the meeting itself takes place via Zoom & will be live-streamed to Facebook (email us for the link)
  • 10:00 am – Godly Play Wondering & Response with Miss Kathleen on Whereby (email Kathleen at kathleen@gslookout.com for the link)
  • 10:30 am – Morning Prayer with Fr. Robert and Deacon Janice on Facebook and YouTube and on our Church Today page
  • 11:30 am – Zoom Coffee Hour – via Zoom and hosted by Vestry member, Jeremy VanBrunt.  Email us for the link.

#GSLOOKOUTCREATE
We all know we’ve got some creative people in this parish, so let’s get creative!  If you’re using this time creatively – or if you’re not, we bet you can!  to produce poetry, prose, reflections, prayers, art, or music during this period of uncertainty and anxiety, share them online on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #gslookoutcreate. Once we have passed through these seemingly dark and surely uncertain times, we can then put it all in print!

Ongoing Outreach
This Lent, we have been collecting non-perishable food items for the Chattanooga Area Foodbank and for Fairyland Elementary School Sack Packs.

We are happy to report that Sack Packs were delivered to Fairyland on Friday, March 13 so students could have these before their school was shut down in light of COVID-19.  The Foodbank also instructed us to deliver whatever other non-perishables we’d already collected to East Side Elementary since their Foodbank Mobile Pantry session, scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, was cancelled due to Hamilton County Schools’ closure.  This was also delivered to East Side on Friday, March 13.

April 17 update – We are once again collaborating with Fairyland Elementary School for another Sack Pack donation in May.  For more information and to participate, email Deacon Janice.

The Foodbank still needs our help and has asked us to continue our Lent Food Drive.  If you have food items you’d like to donate, please drop these off in the collection wagon in the narthex (hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are still located at the church entrance for your use).  The Foodbank is also in need of monetary donations, which you can give using our Online Giving page (click here) and adding a note that you are designating this for the Foodbank.

April 17 update – The Foodbank has asked us to continue spreading the word that they are in need of food and monetary donations, as well as volunteers.  For more information, contact contact John Pine (click here), Shelley Armstrong (click here) or Deacon Janice Robbins (click here).


March 14, 2020

In preparation for tomorrow’s services, Father Robert sent the parish another letter today (click here to read it).  He further clarified what church will look like now that we cannot have in-person worship services or have in-person meetings or group activities at the church.

Tomorrow’s schedule is:

  • 9:30 am – “Fireside” chat with Fr. Robert
  • 10:00 am – Godly Play with Kathleen Crevasse
  • 10:30 am – Morning Prayer with Fr. Robert & Deacon Janice (click here for the service bulletin)

All offerings will be livestreamed to our Facebook page. A music recording by John Wigal and our staff choir singers will be posted to our Facebook page at the conclusion of our Morning Prayer service.  As a reminder, you do not need a Facebook account to tune in to these livestreams or to view our video archive.  Simply click the link to our page and watch.  An email will be sent out to the parish with instructions prior to the beginning of the livestream schedule.

Remember to continue following the CDC’s and health department’s recommendations to wash your hands well, not to touch your mouth, nose, and eyes, and maintain social distancing from others; use hand sanitizer and disinfect surfaces with a good disinfectant.  If you’re feeling sick – especially with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – stay home and contact your doctor.


March 13, 2020

Last night, Bishop Brian Cole issued a statement directing parishes in East Tennessee to suspend are worship gatherings, activities, and meetings for the next two weeks, with the aim to resume worship services on Palm Sunday, April 5.

In light of this, Good Shepherd is suspending all in-person worship services and activities beginning today. Instead, we will be offering live streams of services and will work to set up our small groups with online gathering options as they desire.

This Sunday, March 15, we will offer an informal talk with Fr. Robert at 9:30 am followed by Morning Prayer service at 10:30.  Both offerings will be live streamed to our Facebook page.

Morning Prayer will be offered live on our Facebook page by Christian Formation Director, Kathleen Crevasse, Mondays though Fridays at 8:30 am.  The Youth group will be meeting online with daily activities and chats that Youth Director, Matt Harbison, is setting up.  We will also have other online offerings and our Communications Director, Sandra Alagona, will be working with small groups to help get them set up with online meeting spaces so that everyone can adhere to the CDC’s guidelines of social distancing.  A full schedule of activities and virtual worship services will be shared with the parish next week.

To read Father Robert’s letter to the parish sent today, click here.


March 12, 2020

First and foremost, we want to let you know what health and hygiene precautions we’re taking to protect the most vulnerable in our community:

  • Our facilities throughout the church are being rigorously cleaned and disinfected daily for everyone’s safety
  • Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes are readily available throughout the church at entrances to the church, the church and school offices, and our large common meeting spaces
  • The bathrooms in Talbird Hall, the Christian Education building, and the school are well stocked with soap and paper towels for handwashing and drying

If you feel sick or have the flu or cold, please stay home. We would obviously love to see you, but we want to make sure that you are not exposed to anything further, and that you are not exposing those most at risk of infection from contagion.

Following CDC guidelines, please maintain a social distance of three feet and refrain from hugging. Make sure you’re washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and using hand sanitizer to disinfect on the go.

During church services, we want everyone to feel as comfortable and safe as possible during this time of concern about passing the peace and receiving of the elements of the Eucharist (bread and wine).

During the passing of The Peace, we invite and encourage you to avoid shaking hands as you exchange the peace. We encourage you to wave or bow to one another or bump elbows
as a sign of God’s peace.  Sharing the “peace” sign with your fingers – or even the Vulcan “Live long and prosper” sign – works too!

Before the Eucharist, all altar party members – clergy and chalice bearers – will be washing and sanitizing their hands.

As you come up to receive the Eucharist, please make use of the hand sanitizers at the front of the church. 

During Eucharist, Fr. Robert will consecrate bread and wine as normal, but only he will drink the wine. The altar party members and congregation will receive bread only, which is a perfectly valid and complete reception of the Eucharist.

Our common worship and celebration of the Eucharist should be a time to be strengthened in our faith and journey, not a place where we should be anxious.

The health and well-being of every person in our community is our top priority. We are still discussing which, if any, non-essential activities and gatherings may be canceled in future, and what additional ways to participate in our services we might offer.  At this time, however, all services and activities are proceeding as normal. 

If you have any questions about our procedures or services and activities in general, please don’t hesitate to contact our communications director, Sandra Alagona, in the church office.

We have a new assistant priest!

The Rev. Michele Simmons, our next assistant priest

The Rev. Michele Simmons

I am excited to announce to you that I have called Michele Simmons to be my new assistant. She is a senior seminarian at Sewanee from the Diocese of Colorado. If you were paying attention to March 11’s entry in our Lent Devotion Book, you’ll have gotten a brief introduction to Michele’s theological perspective already.  In early September, Derrick Hill, the rector of St. Timothy’s, recommended I talk to Michele who completed her field work at St. Timothy’s as their seminarian. Her preaching, teaching and involvement in the life of the parish were a great addition to St. Timothy’s while she was with them.

Michele and I have been in conversation since mid-January. She spent an afternoon with our staff, as well as some time with a few members of the parish. When I was able to see her interact with our staff and Good Shepherd folks, I felt that she would be a perfect fit in our parish and a wonderful addition to our staff. Moreover, I believe she will be a very good partner for me and that we can work well together.

Michele is originally from California and graduated from the University of California, Davis. She worked for over 20 years in the national park service, serving in California, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska and finally, Colorado. In her work in the national park system, she did a great deal of teaching and training of guides. I am especially excited about her work with the training of guides because I believe this will be an aide to us in developing more lay leaders within our parish.

Also, her love of nature will be a plus for activities like parish hikes, family camp and other outdoor events that she could coordinate and lead. Clearly her previous job as a park ranger reflects her love of creation and the outdoors. I am excited to see how she can use that love to help our community to grow in our love and appreciation of the outdoors and God’s creation.

On a personal level, I really love her varied experiences of all the churches she has been involved in throughout her adult life. Because she moved around in her work, she had to worship in whatever church community existed wherever she lived. And wherever she lived, she made sure to become involved in a faith community. This shows an adaptability and openness to other traditions as well as the capacity to live with those who might think differently. Furthermore, as we attract more and more people who did not grow up in the Episcopal tradition, her real life church experience should serve us, as well as our newcomers, well. She also has a quiet, peaceful presence and wisdom that will, I believe, draw y’all in.

Her gifts of preaching, teaching and her warm, friendly, approachable and wise presence will be a comfort to many that will transcend both age and gender. Finally, I am excited to have a female priest as a colleague. We have had female priests for much of our history, but not in the past 10 years. Her voice and experience will, I believe, be a great gift to us all.

You can get a taste for her sermons and preaching style on her YouTube channel. Click here to access a selection of her sermons. I think you will enjoy hearing her. She is quite a good preacher.  Please feel free to drop Michele a line and welcome her to Good Shepherd.  You can email her at michele@gslookout.com.

Grace and peace,
Robert+

Be the Church

As we look to the future, this fall Good Shepherd asked, “How can we continue being the sturdy oak brought to full life by many hands?”

Our Stewardship Committee shared an honest letter with the parish about the our present reality and what we as a faith community envision for our future.  The committee asked three questions:

  • Do we want Good Shepherd to offer more, less or the same?
  • What are we willing to commit to make that happen?
  • What do we think we should do to make it happen?

To read the full letter, click here.

Building on this, the committee shared with the parish their own stories about why Good Shepherd is their home and why they wish to see it endure for many more years to come.  This video series can be found in full here, and individually below.

To pledge a gift for 2020, go to bit.ly/BetheChurch2019 to fill out an online pledge card, or contact Nicole Seiferth in the church office at (423) 821-1583 or at nicole@gslookout.com.