Warning: Declaration of SlideshowErrorHandler::log_error($num, $str, $file, $line, $context = NULL) should be compatible with GalleryPlugin::log_error($error = NULL) in /home/gslookou/public_html/wp-content/plugins/slideshow-gallery/includes/errorhandler.php on line 22
covid19 | Church of the Good Shepherd

Category Archives: covid19

Love Your Neighbor: Face Coverings Optional

Face Coverings Now Optional
March 2022

Fr. Robert shares a new update regarding face masks at Good Shepherd after some positive health data.

Face coverings are now optional at all indoor worship services and activities at Good Shepherd. Face coverings will still be available in the narthex if anyone wishes to wear one and does not have one with them.

Love Your Neighbor An Update regarding face masks, December 2021

Father Robert updates us on Good Shepherd’s Covid-19 face mask policy as we head into the Christmas season. To read a transcript of this video, go to bit.ly/GSFaceMasksDec2021 .

To see the local Covid-19 data we review daily, go to any of the following Hamilton County health data sites:

Hamilton County Health Department:
Hamilton County Health Department Data (responsive website):
Covid Act Now – Hamilton County, TN data
For Walker County, GA data:
For Chattanooga metro TN-GA data:

You can also cross-reference this with the CDC’s Covid-19 Integrated County View data on their Covid Tracker site found at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view On that page, you can select any state and county in the nation to see their latest Covid data.

Love Your Neighbor: Moving at the Speed of Trust

In this video, Fr. Robert walks us through significant updates to our Covid safety protocols coming beginning June 1, 2021.  To watch the video, click on the image above.

Beginning June 1, 2021
Masks optional for vaccinated persons
Unvaccinated persons please continue to wear masks
Children’s masks required at ministry activities & Good Shepherd School
At services, children’s masks will be at the discretion of parents
Tuesday & Thursday midweek services return to the chapel

Beginning June 6, 2021
Congregational singing returns
5:00 pm service returns to the chapel

Also on June 6, we will return to offering communion from the altar rail, though we will continue to use the individual chalices of bread and wine that we have been using.  For more, click on the image below to watch Fr. Robert’s latest video.

Clarification on face mask policy at Good Shepherd

Masks are required at all times in: all hallways, the School and Church Office. Fully vaccinated? If so, masks are optional in: offices, meeting spaces, and outside. Thank you for helping us protect the most vulnerable members of our community! Forgot your mask? No problem! We have masks and we’ll be happy to provide you with one.

At worship services ONLY: while children are with and under the active supervision of their parents, children aged 2-11 may wear masks at the discretion of their parents. At all Children’s and Youth ministry activities and at Good Shepherd School, Covid unvaccinated children age 2 and above are required to wear masks.

Signup for Worship Services and Activities

As we continue to resume certain worship services and activities to our schedule in this time of pandemic, we’ve created this webpage to make it easier to find all of the different signup links we’re now using to ensure we can maintain appropriate social distancing and not overcrowd our indoor spaces.  Please bookmark this page as it will be updated weekly on Mondays with new links.

Beginning April 26, we are no longer having pre-registration for the Sunday 5:00 pm service! 

To sign up for an in-person Sunday service, call the church office or click on one of the registration links below.  Our 10:00 am service will also be livestreamed to Facebook and YouTube, as we have been doing.  Registration is not required if you are watching the livestream at home.

Missed the pre-registration deadline?  That’s ok!  Come to church anyway; we have overflow seating in case the main church gets filled.  The ushers can write your names down for contact tracing (should we need it) and will seat you.

NOTE: There are multiple screens to click through with a “Next” button.  The final screen will have a “Register” button to submit and complete your registration. Once you’ve successfully completed your registration, you will receive a confirmation email.  If you’re in doubt, please call the church office to verify.

Worship Services

Please note that you can also signup by calling our parish administrator, Nicole Seiferth, at the church office (423-821-1583).

For Sunday, May 16

Love Your Neighbor: Update on phased re-opening of church office


Dear People of Good Shepherd,

As we announced in last week’s Good News email, the church office is beginning to re-open on a limited basis. At the present time, not all of the church staff will be in the office at the same time, as we have decided it is best to stagger our physical presence in the church building. In addition, we will not be open for visitors or appointments. If anyone would like to see me regarding pastoral or other matters, feel free to contact me – email or cell – and I will arrange to meet you in an appropriate and safe manner and location. I am grateful for your patience with us as we seek to live into this new rhythm.

In preparation for the re-opening of the office, we have put into place several protocols to keep our staff safe. One of the protocols includes having all staff members tested for COVID-19 prior to our coming back to the office. A little over two weeks ago, on the morning of May 15, one of the Good Shepherd School teachers was in the building at Good Shepherd preparing her classroom for re-opening. While in the building, the teacher encountered three members of our Good Shepherd Church Staff with less than the recommended social distancing space between them.

The following morning, this teacher was notified that she tested positive for COVID-19. She was and has remained asymptomatic, as have all the Good Shepherd church and school staff she came in contact with. Because our three church staff members had “come in contact” with the teacher, they were tested for the virus. Two staff members tested negative while one tested inconclusive, “presumed positive;” a subsequent retest had the same result: “inconclusive, presumed positive.” This person has self-quarantined, following the guidelines of the health department, and was asymptomatic during that period. After 14 days of self-quarantine, the health department said the staff member was “deemed as having completed [the] quarantine and any amount of virus material that might show up is just a remnant. You can’t infect anyone at this point.” With all of our staff members now deemed “safe,” I have decided we will open the church office only on a limited basis beginning June 2, 2020.

All of our Good Shepherd Church staff will continue to self-monitor our own health conditions, checking for fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc. Should any of us exhibit any of these signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, we will immediately be re-tested for the virus and quarantine pending the results of the test and the recommendation of our health care professionals. While we are onsite at the church, each member of the staff will wear a mask and practice social distancing from any other persons in the building. When we are in the privacy of our offices by ourselves, these doors will remain closed and masks may be taken off. We will not congregate or gather together in any common areas.

We want to assure you, the people of Good Shepherd, that your health, safety and peace of mind is our utmost priority. We want to do everything we can to keep you and our fellow staff members safe. Should you have ANY questions about our re-opening or our protocols, or any other matters, please do not hesitate to contact me by email, robert@gslookout.com or cell, 423-463-4397.

Blessings, grace, and peace,
Fr. Robert+

Being the Church in the time of Covid-19, a Pandemic, and Stay at Home Orders

Well, though some say church folks only work on Sunday, all of you know that is not the reality at Good Shepherd. Between the church staff, our mid-week activities and Good Shepherd School, there is something going on at 211 Franklin Road virtually ALL the time. And what we do requires many hands in order for everything to run smoothly and to serve the people of Good Shepherd, as well as the children and parents of our school.

On Friday, March 13 all of this came to a screeching halt. That was the last day all Good Shepherd staff and school personnel were together in one place—the church. On that day, we told 140 students and about 120 families that the school needed to close, and the bishop decided we needed to suspend all in-person gatherings and worship services for the foreseeable future.

Now, it’s been 8+ weeks, and I hope you’ve noticed, but we’ve been busy. Busy doing what we can. And we’ve learned that we can do a lot. We can use our Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website to broadcast services. In Week 1 we managed to go online with Morning Prayer from the church, offer Godly Play, meditation time, and beautiful music from the choir. It wasn’t necessarily smooth, but I’d like to think it was a pretty good effort. Since then, we improved our sound quality and have added more and more content. This week you can find the following online: Morning and Noonday Prayers, Compline, Godly Play with wondering and response time two days a week, Youth group time with Bible study and Evening Prayer, Sunday formation classes, music from the choir, and continuous online engagement with Good Shepherd School students. I remember thinking at the beginning of the shutdown, “What will I do with the building closed?” Honestly, the staff and I have worked harder than ever to “Be the Church” online. And I want you to know that it has been a labor of love. It’s not the same as “Being the Church” at 211 Franklin Road, but it’s as close as we can make it for y’all and the many new folks who have seen our offerings.

Although we aren’t gathering at the church now, we will soon, God willing. So, Barbara’s team continues to care for the building while the office staff is hard at work, though from home, planning the week’s activities, recording, editing, communicating, and creating all that you see each week online. Our regular ongoing church expenses haven’t changed much due to the shutdown, but our income is down somewhat since we haven’t regularly gathered or passed the plate, though some tithe envelopes have been mailed to or dropped off at the church.

In an effort to ensure we were able to pay our church and school staff during this time, we applied for a loan under the Payroll Protection Act (PPP). This was a time-consuming and arduous process that fell mostly on the backs of Nicole Seiferth, our parish administrator, and Sandy Skorput, our school director. I am excited to tell you that our application was approved, and we received our loan on April 20th. This loan is merely a stop gap, safety net to ensure that we can continue to employ ALL church and school staff during this time period, while they continue to work hard to maintain our faith and school communities. The PPP loan will be forgiven as long as we maintain our current workforce and personnel for the duration of the loan (8 weeks). We are so grateful to have received this loan as it will certainly be a great help to us during this period. It is not a windfall, nor is it meant to substitute for our pledged gifts from the members of the parish.

At this point we don’t know when we will get back together for regular, “live” worship or even what that might look like. And yet we are committed to doing everything we can to offer worship and formation as best we can, utilizing our staff and the technology at hand.

In this time of “exile” from church, please know how precious and dear the Good Shepherd community is to all of your staff. We miss you and look forward to when we are back together.

Grace, peace and love to you all,

Alleluia! He is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Robert +

Church Today

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost:
July 3, 2022

Today at Good Shepherd we offer these three services.  The 9:30 am service will be livestreamed. The livestream will begin at 9:15 am and the service will begin at 10:30 am.

NOTE: Face coverings are now optional at all indoor worship and activities.

The 9:30 am Holy Eucharist service bulletin can be downloaded by clicking here.

PLEASE NOTE beginning Sunday, June 19, our second Sunday service time changes for the summer to 9:30 am.  Livestreams will begin at 9:15 am and will ONLY go to YouTube with a link to the YouTube broadcast posted to our Facebook page, our website here, and in our Sunday email. (This change is due to frequent Facebook technical issues of late.)

On the schedule today:

  • 8:00 am – Holy Eucharist in church (not livestreamed)
  • 9:30 am – Holy Eucharist in church and livestreamed to YouTube and our website
  • 5:00 pm – Holy Eucharist in the chapel (not livestreamed)

Not attending in person? Where to watch

The 9:30 am Holy Eucharist Sunday service will be streamed to our YouTube channel; click on the linked image above to go directly to the service’s stream on YouTube.  The service will also be available at the top of our this page 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.