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Information about next steps in worship and gatherings at Good Shepherd

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The Gathering of God's People

"Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord."
-Zepheniah 3: 14-20

 
 
Dear friends,

Each year at our Easter Vigil, the Old Testament readings conclude with this passage from Zepheniah, which our Book of Common Prayer calls "The gathering of God's people." (BCP 291)  This year, looking out on an almost-empty church, this reading took on new meaning for me and for our life as a parish. Like many of you, I have wondered when we might gather God's people at Good Shepherd again. 

This week, plans began to take shape as our governor and our bishops offered guidance for ways in which religious institutions/ churches may move forward in the coming weeks. These are august decisions that we must make for the safety and well-being of everyone in our parish, and we approach such decisions carefully and judiciously, but it is now possible to imagine opportunities for us to worship together again in the coming weeks and months.

Our governor offered a four-phase plan toward the reopening of the Commonwealth. Click here to access Reopening Massachusetts. 

In conjunction with the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, the Diocese of Massachusetts also offered a four-phase plan for worship and gatherings. (While also containing four phases, please note that the parameters listed here are different than those in the state's plan.) Click here to access A Journey in Stages. In addition to these comprehensive guidelines, our bishop also directed us that we will not be able to open our doors to the public for in-person worship until at least July 1st.

Your Vestry is working diligently to make sure that we proceed carefully in the coming weeks. To that end, we have created a committee of Vestry members who will take on the special task of oversight in this process. Our Re-Gathering Committee at present is made up of the following people:
Deb Molrine, MD, Gene Wayne, PhD, Geoff Gilmartin, MD, Gillian Meek (Sr. Warden), and the Rector.

Thanks to our video/ streaming capabilities, we have been able to broadcast all of our services of worship during the last ten weeks, and I am grateful that so many of you have engaged in worship at Good Shepherd in this way. It has been a joy for me to continue leading worship in a meaningful way despite the many restrictions and points of caution, and I am grateful to many of you who have offered ways in which this has fed your soul in the past weeks. For the time being, many of our parishioners will need to continue to worship in this way, especially those who are older, have an underlying medical condition, or who remain out of public gatherings because of work and family responsibilities.

You will also notice that some of our practices have changed as the pandemic has developed. We continue making adjustments in order to care for the musicians and servers who gather each time we worship. As the information has evolved, so too have our options for continuing to worship under the best guidance.

In the coming weeks, we will be working to identify ways in which our gatherings might again take shape, but this will not happen suddenly or without judicious consideration. To that end, if you are interested in being present at worship, serving in a liturgical capacity, or are in need of one of the sacraments of the church before we can open our doors to the general public, please contact me directly: rector@goodshepherdnewton.org. While I expect a natural and ever-changing development of people's desire to gather physically, I ask that you please contact me directly if you are interested in being a part of our worship during the next stages of this journey. Under the guidelines provided to us, it will be absolutely necessary to confirm in advance any planned attendance. As much as it pains me to say, please do not come to church if your presence has not been agreed to/ scheduled in advance.

Once our Re-Gathering Committee has an opportunity to establish more concrete plans for the summer, we will communicate them to the parish. For now, please know that we are working with that goal in mind despite the ever-changing nature of these circumstances. Please pray for us and know that you are always in our prayers. 

For now, wherever you are, continue to join us Sundays at 10:00 am for Eucharist and on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm for Evensong.

 
     
With hope and prayer for the re-gathering of God's people,
thanks, peace, Jay+
There we leave you in that blessed dependency, to hang upon him that hangs upon the cross, there bathe in his tears, there suck at his wounds, and lie down in peace in his grave, till he vouchsafe you a resurrection, and an ascension into that kingdom which He hath prepared for you with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. - John Donne
Please continue to make your financial contributions to Good Shepherd. In these unprecedented times, remember that we rely completely on the generosity of our parishioners. Kindly continue your giving and mail your support to the church office:

Parish of the Good Shepherd 1671 Beacon St., Waban, MA 02468


Additionally, we have set up an online giving portal. If you are unable to give through traditional means, please consider this new option to support Good Shepherd. Click on the Donate button on our website www.goodshepherdnewton.org. 
Virtual Coffee Hour

Sunday at 11:30 am

Click here to join via Zoom. 

Or join on the phone:

+19292056099,,87185504490#

Bible Study

Tuesdays at 7:00 pm

Currently meeting via Zoom

Click here to join Bible Study.
Evensong 
Wednesdays at 7:00 pm


On May 13th, Veronica Ngyuen sang for Evensong. The Order of Service did not go out because of a technical mistake, but the recording is in our video library.

This Wednesday, for the Eve of the Ascension, Jay Mobley will cantor and sing Cathedral of the Isles and "Come Away to the Skies."
Updates from our Good Shepherd Outreach partners as of Easter, 2020:
Recent updates to this information appear in red.
COVID-19 has brought about a challenging and uncertain time for many in our community, and the world. The Parish of the Good Shepherd is committed to continuing our support of these ministries. Join us in prayers and generosity.

The Newton Food Pantry now has a "wish list" of items needed. Click here for the wish list.
Prior to February 2020, the Newton Food Pantry served over 800 people per month living in Newton who struggled with food insecurity.
Update from the Newton Food Pantry:
Please help us to continue our support to Newton residents by donating HERE today!  Our need has more than doubled. We have been expanding our delivery of groceries to individual households twice per month and providing bags of groceries in bulk to Senior Housing complexes. If you wish to contribute non-perishable goods, you can drop them off at 36 Metacomet Road or 61 Ballard Street. Anyone who wishes to volunteer and is between the ages of 18-60 and not in a high-risk group for COVID-19, please email Regina Wu at volunteercoordinator@newtonfoodpantry.org. 

Flying Kites Leadership Academy is in the foothills of Kenya’s Aberdare Mountains and serves as a model school for children in the region where access to a basic education is not guaranteed. Students receive support aimed at meeting the “whole child” including food, clean water, and social services.  Update from Flying Kites:  “We turned to you to help us meet the most urgent needs of the 3,500 families in our Network of 5 schools. With mandated closures of businesses and farms, families in our community cannot earn the daily wages needed to put food on the table and they are turning to us for help. Our team can begin assembling and distributing Emergency Relief Packs to the 3,500 families in our Network, providing a month's supply of food to 28,000 children, parents, and grandparents.”
-Leila de Bruyne, Executive Director (US), Warucu Kijuu, Executive Director (Kenya). See this message and others as videos on Instagram >>
 
St Stephen’s Youth Programs (SSYP) is an after- school program (B-READY) and summer enrichment program (B-SAFE) administered out of the South End in Boston to help students from Boston’s most disadvantaged communities, founded and supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. SSYP serves about 600 students throughout the year. Update from St Stephen’s Youth Programs:  

Many of us are using the phrase “the new normal” to describe our way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. What is “new” and what is becoming “normal”? Staying at home, wearing face masks, standing six feet apart, going to school online, waiting in line to enter the grocery store. But while we’re all experiencing those shifts together, there is a divide in our society that isn’t new at all. Some of us may be seeing this divide more clearly with “new” eyes but it has been the norm for many people in our community and our society for a long time. 

Every day for the past two decades, we at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs (SSYP) have witnessed racial and economic inequities in the lives of our young people and their families. COVID-19 is merely shining a brighter spotlight on these, including: 

  • inequitable access to high-quality health care
  • housing insecurity that results in crowded apartments or housing that is distant from available jobs
  • unequal access to high-quality education, 
  • low-wage jobs in hospitals or as personal care attendants or at grocery stores or pharmacies that are now high-risk
  • limited hours in jobs in hotels and restaurants, making workers ineligible for unemployment benefits
  • unequal access to fresh and healthy food,
  • a digital divide with limited access to now essential tools, including neighborhoods without high-speed internet
  • limited availability to the social and emotional supports that come from high-quality mental health care
  • systems of racial oppression that deny privileges to our young people that many of us have benefitted from.

Already in the first two weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, 73% of our 200 SSYP families have lost a job. Even more critical, 95% of our families need financial support. For our high school seniors, given their families’ financial situations, the college decision was always going to be based on cost and financial aid, but now the ability to pay for college just got much harder.

 
Again, many of these challenges are not new. Our young people and their families live with them every day. We offer you this update because it calls us to dig in and care even more. These realities reveal the incredible resilience that our young people and families demonstrate every day.  These divides also show why St. Stephen’s Youth Programs is here and has been for over 20 years.  While the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated our society's biggest inequities --and created new ones-- it also highlights the power of building long-term relationships with young people and their families. Because of these relationships, we continue to work in partnership with them and you (albeit virtually) as we strive to build a society where we can all thrive and survive, together.  

-the Reverend Liz Steinhauser 
 
The Second Step provides transitional housing and social services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Update from The Second Step: "You can be a part of our movement to support survivors by taking the following actions: Donate to our Survivors Emergency Fund! To help us respond to the increased needs of the individuals and families we serve, we have established the Survivors Emergency Fund. Click here to give today. Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence with your network! Friend us on Facebook (The Second Step) and follow us on Instagram (@The_Second_Step) and Twitter (@SecondStepInc) to reinforce our efforts."  
 
Boston Health Care for the Homeless is an organization in Boston’s South End that provides high-quality health care for the homeless including dental, mental, substance abuse disorders, palliative and respite care.  Update from Boston Health Care for the Homeless: "People experiencing homelessness are exceptionally vulnerable to the coronavirus and its complications. As this pandemic continues, we will incur significant financial losses, upwards of $1,000,000/ month, as we continue and adapt our emergency plan, but we have no other choice to combat COVID-19. To read more about our work around our COVID-19 Response efforts, click here. Thank you."
 
Epiphany School is an independent school for children of economically disadvantaged families in Boston with scholarshipfor all.  Update from Epiphany School: Epiphany's Spring Gala was an overwhelming success. Hoping to raise $300,000 online to replace the funds usually raised in person at the annual fundraiser, Epiphany has raised $400,000! Some of the generous donations came from Good Shepherd parishioners. It was a joy to have the Reverend John Finley, IV, as our preacher on Easter II.
 
Feed the Fight Boston is feeding medical workers during the pandemic.
"A group of us in Newton were so inspired by my hometown's effort in Washington DC for feedthefight.org that we started FeedthefightBoston to help the medical community, support the local restaurants, and deliver meals to the front lines fighting the COVID-19.  FeedthefightBoston has now served over 1000 meals, in Newton and Boston hospitals who need it most, and we are increasing our support daily with your help! Please check out how to donate today at www.feedthefightbos.com. With love and appreciation, Katherine Kranenburg, katkranenburg@gmail.com"
This joyful Eastertide
Please share with us pictures of your family celebrating Easter and engaging in online worship.
This joyful Eastertide,
away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
Hath sprung to life this morrow.

My flesh in hope shall rest,
and for a season slumber,

till Christ from East to West

shall wake the dead in number.

  
-- The Hymnal 1982, #192    Vruechten
(Photo from our last children's service)
Copyright © 2020 Parish of the Good Shepherd, All rights reserved.


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Parish of the Good Shepherd · 1671 Beacon Street · Waban, MA 02468 · USA

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