Category Archives: covid19

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 Health Department, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the city of Chattanooga.

During this crisis, this page will be updated, at most, twice weekly – on Mondays and Fridays.  If any updates are posted outside of this schedule, we will make an announcement on our Facebook page.

Our current online service schedule & remote parish activities are below; the listing begins on the entry dated March 20, 2020 and is updated as the schedule and activities change.

March 25, 2022

Beginning Sunday, March 27, 2022, the 5:00 pm Eucharist service will return to the chapel.  Beginning Tuesday, March 29, 2022, the 10:30 am Healing Eucharist will also return to the chapel.

March 11, 2022

Face coverings are now optional at all indoor services and activities at Good Shepherd.  Face coverings will still be available should anyone wish to wear one and does not have one with them. Click here to learn more.

March 1, 2022

Normal communion with bread and common cup will be offered once again as one option beginning this Sunday, March 6, 2022.  Per the CDC’s latest guidance for face coverings, we continue to monitor local data for Covid-19 community spread.  Hamilton County still remains in the HIGH category per the CDC’s data collection, with face coverings recommended indoors.  As such, we continue to require face coverings at our indoor worship services and activities and are watching our community’s data closely.

February 26, 2022

NOTE: We are aware of the new CDC guidelines which just came out late Friday, February 25, 2022, and we will be assessing how they may impact our Covid protocols this coming week. For now, our face coverings requirement remains in effect.

September 17, 2021

Our Covid Protocols were updated this week and the full booklet can be found by clicking here.  Further, we are adjusting our Sunday schedule as follows beginning this Sunday, September 19:

  • 9:15 am – Lectionary Bible Study via Zoom
  • 10:30 am – Rite II Eucharist instead of at 10:00 am.  This service will continue to be livestreamed to Facebook and YouTube, and will also be available on our Church Today page here on our website.  The stream will begin at 10:20 am.
  • Curbside Communion has resumed and will be offered immediately following the conclusion of the 10:30 am service for 20 minutes.

July 28, 2021

Due to the surge in Hamilton County of the delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, we are requiring face masks to be work at all indoor worship services and activities effective immediately, and are re-introducing socially distanced seating in the church sanctuary by closing off every other pew.  For a complete overview this update to our Covid protocols, click here.

June 18, 2021

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.

May 28, 2021

Beginning June 1, 2021, we are making the following changes to our Covid safety protocols

  • 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

To watch Fr. Robert’s update about these changes, click here.

May 21, 2021

Updates to Covid protocols

Good Shepherd will continue to require masks for the following two Sundays (May 23 & May 30) at all Sunday services.


  • If you have been fully vaccinated and are 2 weeks beyond your second shot, masks are optional at our midweek services.
  • If you have not been vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask to our services and activities.
  • We will continue to observe socially distanced exchanges of the peace, and will offer communion and dismiss services as we have been.

To watch Fr. Robert’s update about these changes, click here.

May 17, 2021

We are updating our Covid safety protocols as of Monday, May 17, 2021 with the following:

  • We are no longer requiring sign ups for any in-person Sunday services
  • We are removing the social distancing ribbons from the pews in the nave and ask that you continue to Love Your Neighbor as you seat yourselves for any of our services
  • We will continue to livestream the 10:00 am service to Facebook and YouTube

As a reminder, we are awaiting a diocesan update on wearing masks and will update the parish later this week on what impact this will have on our own Covid safety protocols.  Click here to watch Fr. Robert’s video that walks us through this decision in light of last week’s CDC update.

We will publish our updated Covid safety protocols document later this week and make this available to the parish once again.

Before attending any of our in-person services, we ask that you continue to assess your and your family’s health as regards Covid. Please help us continue to Love Our Neighbors and care for those in our community who are unable to get vaccinated.

  • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last two weeks?
  • Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat?
  • Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
  • Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
  • Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?

Please stay home if you answer “yes“ to any one of these questions.

May 14, 2021

On May 13, the CDC updated its guidelines again for fully vaccinated people and mask wearing.  Today, Fr. Robert shares a brief update on our current plans as we await diocesan guidance next week.  Click here to watch this update.

April 30, 2021

On April 27, the CDC updated its guidelines for actions to take with a mixed population of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.  You can read those guidelines here.  In light of this,  Hamilton County’s health department has also issued a press release (click here to read it).  Both guidelines encourage the continued use of face coverings, particularly indoors and outdoors in large gatherings.   We continue to follow CDC and local health department guidelines in order to love our neighbors and protect those in our congregation who are immunocompromised and/or who are unable to get vaccinated at this time.  To watch our video regarding mask requirements at Church of the Good Shepherd and Good Shepherd School, click here.

April 26, 2021

Beginning this week, we are no longer having pre-registration for the Sunday 5:00 pm service!  Because of the smaller congregation size of this service, we will also begin re-introducing congregational singing with masks on.  As with the rest of our Covid safety protocols, we will pivot should we need to depending on the public health situation.

April 16, 2021

Today, Fr. Robert Childers, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and Sandy Skorput, director of Good Shepherd School, walk us though how Good Shepherd will approach mask wearing through this summer after the lifting of Hamilton County’s mask mandate on April 29, 2021.  To watch their video, click here.

March 1, 2021

After a successful trial run last Wednesday, Godly Play returns to our in-person activities schedule on Wednesday afternoons.  Kids through 5th grade can join Miss Kathleen in Talbird Hall on Wednesday afternoons at 5:30 pm to join the Godly Play circle.  Parents are invited to attend the Reconciliation Eucharist service at 5:30 pm in the church while the kids are in Godly Play.  Make an evening of it and take your Shepherd’s Night Out to Go (SNO2Go) dinner home with you at 6:00 pm from Talbird Hall courtyard!

February 8, 2021

All in-person midweek services resume this week.  Registration is not required for these services, but our Covid safety protocols are still in effect, just as they are for our in-person Sunday services.  For a copy of our full protocols booklet, go to:

February 1, 2021

In-person Sunday services resume this week with Holy Eucharist services offered at 8am, 10am, and 5pm on February 7.  Registration is required for these and should be completed by 4pm on Friday, February 5.  Registration can be completed online from this page or by calling the church office, (423) 821-1583.  Tuesday and Wednesday midweek services will continue online only; Thursday midweek service continues in-person without registration required.

January 5, 2021

During this time of Covid surge in the community, we will continue to offer only one Sunday service – a virtual livestream of our 10 am service.  We will also continue to offer curbside communion following this service.  No in-person Sunday services will be offered at this time.  We will revisit this decision after January 19 in accordance with any public guidance by the Governor of Tennessee and the Hamilton County Health Department.

Midweek services, however, have resumed beginning today as in-person services.  Because these services traditionally are attended by less than 10 people each, we feel we can have the most social distancing at these services.  The Wednesday Reconciliation Eucharist, offered at 5:30 pm, will also return to our Facebook livestream schedule this week.

January 2, 2021

We’ve had two church staff members test positive for Covid-19 in the past three days.  Fr. Robert wrote to the parish on December 31 and again on January 2.  Out of an abundance of caution, we will offer only one service on Sunday, January 3 – a virtual service at 10 am.  The church office will remain closed on Monday, January 4, 2021 and the staff will meet by Zoom to determine our next steps.  We will communicate any changes to upcoming services and office schedule on Tuesday, January 5.  The online Daily Office will resume from its holiday break on Monday, January 4.

December 21, 2020

In light of Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order #70 limiting public gatherings to groups of no more than 10 people, we are making adjustments to our Christmas Day plans, and are changing our in-person Sunday worship schedule for December 27, January 3, 10, and 17.  Click here to read about or watch the announcement.

December 15, 2020

Fr. Robert walks us through our Christmas services plans following much prayer and discussion after going through the results of our parish-wide Christmas survey.  Click here to read about or watch the announcement.

November 27, 2020

Per Fr. Robert’s November 27 letter to the parish, we are temporarily suspending in-person services and activities due to a staff member Covid case.  All Good Shepherd church staff are undergoing Covid testing and will be out of quarantine on Thursday, December 3.  If this situation changes, we will alert the parish.

September 4, 2020

Midweek services will resume beginning Tuesday, September 8, 2020 as follows:

  • Tuesdays, 10:30 am – Healing service and Holy Eucharist, church
  • Wednesdays, 5:30 pm – Reconciliation Eucharist, church
  • Thursdays, 5:00 pm – Holy Eucharist, church

August 16, 2020

We will begin live-streaming one in-person Sunday service beginning with today’s 10 am Holy Eucharist service.  The service will be simulcast on Facebook and YouTube.  See our Church Today page details.

July 9, 2020

Today, Fr. Robert walks us through what church will look like on resuming in-person Sunday worship on July 12, 2020 at Church of the Good Shepherd. Click here to watch the video.  For a copy of our full protocols booklet, go to:

June 26, 2020

Fr. Robert has sent a letter to the parish to begin introducing our covenant and plans to resume in-person Sunday worship beginning July 12.  Click here to the read the letter.

June 12, 2020

Fr. Robert has now tested negative and is finishing his mandatory quarantine.   Please click here to read the announcement.

June 5, 2020

Today, Fr. Robert announced that all church staff members’ Covid-19 test results are now back.  With this, however, we have an unexpected positive test result – Fr. Robert’s.  Please click here to read the announcement.

June 3, 2020

This week, we have begun a staggered re-opening of the church office to staff only.  We are not open to the public.  To read Fr. Robert’s announcement, please click here.

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 and onsite services & remote activities – last updated September 10, 2021)

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 on our Facebook page and on our YouTube channel for ease of finding.  As of April 19, Sunday’s 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

Daily Office

  • 8:30 am – Morning Prayer with Kathleen and others (Live)
  • 5:00 pm – Evening Prayer with Mtr. Michele (Live; Mondays and Tuesdays)


  • 10:00 am – Intercessory Prayers Group (in church)
  • 10:30 am – Healing Prayers and Holy Eucharist service (in church)
  • 11:15 am – Centering Prayer (in church)

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, 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 Sandra and I will share these with our healing prayers intercessors.


  • 7:00 am – Men’s Bible Study in person (socially distanced) or via Zoom.  For information and details, contact Pat Conroy at (423) 903-4746
  • 6:30 pm – Youth Bible Study and Discussion
    The Youth Group is now meeting in person around the fire pit outside of the Youth Building

Small Groups & Bible Studies
Several small groups and Bible studies will be meeting online in video conferencing 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.


  • 8:00 am – Holy Eucharist with Fr. Robert, Mtr. Michele, and Deacon Janice in church (not livestreamed)
  • 10:00 am – Holy Eucharist with Fr. Robert, Mtr. Michele, and Deacon Janice on Facebook and YouTube and on our Church Today page
  • 11:30am – Lectionary Bible Study with Fr. Robert and Mtr. Michele.  This class will take place via Zoom and will not be livestreamed.  If you do not already have the link, contact Sandra to obtain it.
  • 5:00 pm – Holy Eucharist with Fr. Robert and Mtr. Michele in church (not livestreamed)
  • Wednesday – Music offerings for Sunday – shared on Facebook

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! (No longer happening.)

Ongoing Outreach

April 2021 update – Outreach updates will continue to be shared in our weekly e-newsletter, The Good News, and in our service bulletins.  They will no longer be updated on this page.  To access our e-newsletter archive, click here.

Since 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.

August 18 update – We are once again collecting food items for Fairyland Elementary School for an additional Sack Pack donation sometime in September or October.  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).

September update – We are collaborating with Fairyland Elementary School once again, and have an ongoing collection for non-perishable snack items from now until the end of 2020.

February 2021 update – We are collecting new or gently used winter coats and jackets to be distributed at Chattanooga area ministries and non-profit agencies this winter.  Donations may be dropped off in the narthex and left in the marked wagons.

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.