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.


September 4, 2020

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

  • Tuesdays, 10:30 am – Healing service and Holy Eucharist, outdoor deck of our fellowship hall
  • Wednesdays, 5:30 pm – Holy Eucharist, church
  • Thursdays, 5:00 pm – Holy Eucharist, outdoor deck of our fellowship hall

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: https://bit.ly/GSLoveYourNeighbor.


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 services last updated August 18)

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 sandra@gslookout.com.

Daily Office

  • 8:30 am – Morning Prayer with Kathleen and others (Live)
  • 12:00 pm – Noonday Prayer with Fr. Robert (Live)
  • 5:00 pm – Evening Prayer with Mtr. Michele (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, 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.

Wednesdays

  • 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
  • 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

  • 5:30 pm – Meditation with Fr. Robert (Live)
    In lieu of the 5:00 pm Eucharist service, Fr. Robert will share a devotion

Fridays (occasional)

  • 5:30 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

  • 10:00 am – Holy Eucharist with Fr. Robert, Mtr. Michele, and Deacon Janice on Facebook and YouTube and on our Church Today page
  • 11:15 am – 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.
  • 11:30 am – Music by John Wigal and guest musicians – shared on Facebook

#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.

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).


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.

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