From the Rector
We are delighted that you have visited this site and that you are curious about the Church of the Good Shepherd. We believe that we are called to be a people of purpose - offering caring service to others as an expression of God's love to all and sharing the Good News of God's grace given to us in Jesus Christ.
Responding to these two callings in this rapidly changing world requires courage and a willingness to stand apart from the comfort and security of the crowd.
Therefore, we welcome any and all who yearn for a life of hope and purpose. We believe following Jesus is the way to abundant life now and in the life to come.
Come and see us!
The Reverend Robert D. Fain
Information for Guests
Where is the church located?
The Church of the Good Shepherd is located at 2230 Walton Way, situated between Episcopal Day School and Woodlawn United Methodist Church. For more detailed directions, visit maps.google.com/maps.
Finding a parking place
Three entrances to the church allow for convenient parking on Sunday mornings. For more detailed directions, visit our Campus Map.
- Enter at the church's main drive on Walton Way. You will see designated guest parking immediately on your right. A walkway will lead you directly to the front entrance of the sanctuary. Or, continue driving around the parish house and park in either the spaces behind the parish house (Bell Tower lot), the spaces between the church and the middle school (Middle Lot), or in the spaces directly in front of Episcopal Day School.
- You may also park at the Appleby Library (Sunday mornings only!), which can be accessed at its Johns Road entrance, or by driving through Episcopal Day School parking lot.
- Finally, you may also enter the church from Milledge Road, by driving through the driveway of Woodlawn United Methodist Church. Woodlawn permits us the use of the last 20 lined spaces along the back, or south side of their own parking lot (Sunday morning only!). These spaces can only be accessed from the Milledge Road entrance.
Finding a seat
Though our church building is small, there is always a seat for you! Ushers are available to assist you in getting seated. Our church can accommodate up to 300 people. We also have a closed circuit TV system that allows us to seat another 200 people in our parish house. This feature is used mostly on special occasions. Those who have worshiped in that space have found it to be satisfactory and enjoyable.
What is the "Holy Eucharist"?
Eucharist is a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving," and is used to name this central act of Christian worship that expresses the lives of gratitude and thanksgiving that Christians are called to live. The Church of the Good Shepherd is a parish community gathered around a table. All who have been baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who have been admitted to communion in this or another church, are welcome to share in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and to receive the bread and wine of this special meal. We are all called to repent of our sins, to be in love and charity with God and all people, and to approach Holy Communion as an expression of the real presence of Jesus Christ.
How do I take Holy Communion?
All baptized Christians are invited to share in the Holy Communion. The ushers will guide you to to the altar, when it is your turn, if you wish to receive. You may stand or kneel to receive the bread and the wine when it is offered to you. If you do not wish to receive wine directly from the chalice (cup), you may dip your wafer into the wine or have the chalice bearer do this for you. If you do not wish to receive wine at all, you may simply cross your arms across your chest when you are approached by the chalice bearer. Young children who do not yet receive communion may come to the altar for a blessing.
What if I am not baptized or I am not a Christian?
You are welcome to come forward to the altar and the priest will be honored to ask God's blessing on you, or you may remain seated. If you come forward, please cross your arms across your chest as a sign that you wish to receive a blessing. If you are not baptized and would like to know more about following Jesus, please speak with one of the clergy.
A Christian is a person who has encountered Jesus Christ and made a conscious decision to follow him, to pattern their own life after his teachings and example. This is what it means to name Jesus as Lord. In a Christendom world, it was entirely possible to identify oneself as a Christian without ever really encountering Jesus or being confronted with the need to make decisions about him and his claims. In that world, holy baptism alone made one a Christian and a Christian life did not look all that different from the lives of other good citizens. Most people were attempting to build their lives and raise their children around a widely assumed and shared core of moral and ethical beliefs, practices, and customs.
Not today. No longer is there any consensus held by a critical mass of people about the appropriate choices involved in creating a life. Individuals see themselves as the final arbiters of what is truth, a dynamic often referred to in the culture as moral relativism. As a way of thinking and deciding, it has been a long time coming, at least since the Enlightenment, which began in the mid-eighteenth century. Yet, it was in an age very similar to our own that the first disciples decided to follow Jesus on "the way" that called Christians to live by values that were counter to the culture, expressed in Jesus’ own life and teachings.
We find ourselves in a world where it is necessary for those who identify themselves as Christians to intentionally take up disciplines or practices that create a life that reflects our belief in God and that is observably different from that of others inhabiting this world with us. St. Francis emphasized something like this when he exhorted people to "preach the Gospel, preach the Gospel always … and if necessary, use words."
Despite the human failure to consistently practice what we preach, people respond positively where actions and examples speak louder than words. Authenticity and credibility proceed from a good faith effort at making our lives reflect the beliefs we hold. Early Christians offered a compelling message of hope that, combined with the example of their lives lived out in the ethic of agapé, was appealing, inviting and spread to every corner of the Roman empire in a generation.
The heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, does not involve living good or disciplined lives in order to gain something from God. Quite the contrary. The Gospel understands that human beings in and of themselves, cannot offer anything that is powerful or effective enough to alter the consequences of being broken, limited people living in a broken, limited world. Neither can human beings prevent their inevitable death and its resulting separation from all they know and love.
The Christian Gospel proclaims that it is God alone who possesses this power and in his love has taken the initiative to set human beings free from the bondage, alienation, and anxiety that characterize our lives. The long story that began at creation and continued in the story of ancient Israel, reaches its decisive, history changing climax in Jesus Christ. The goal of that history is that God’s purposes for all creation and all who inhabit it will finally be realized and brought to their fulfillment. God has accomplished this in his Christ and the invitation to share in God’s life and in his ongoing redemptive mission in the world is offered to all as a gift of grace.
Everyone in the world knows and understands that gratitude is the only appropriate and reasonable response to receiving a gift of great or life-changing value. The Gospel maintains that in our creation, preservation, and redemption, God has given us just such a gift of inestimable and eternal value. Following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, in an intentional life of emulating his example as disciples through Christian practices, is the response of gratitude that the Christian offers. This is what we mean in the eucharist when we say "it is right, good, and a joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Becoming a Part of Good Shepherd
The first and most important affiliation with this parish is the one that you create when you decide in your head and heart that Good Shepherd is the place for you. Beyond that first step, deeper association can be expressed in a number of ways:
- Transfer from another Episcopal Church. Call the parish office to initiate a Letter of Transfer.
- Transfer from another denomination. If you were baptized in another denomination, your baptism is accepted and recognized here. If you were confirmed in another denomination, you may also be received by the Bishop when you decide to continue your faith journey with the Episcopal church. If you have not yet been confirmed, or made an adult profession of faith, you are urged to be confirmed by the Bishop during his visit in the fall. Those who wish to be confirmed or received should contact one of the clergy for more information.
- By baptism. If you have never been baptized into the Christian faith, you are urged to contact one of the clergy to discuss this important decision.
Members in good standing at Good Shepherd are those who are regular in corporate worship and who are working, praying, and giving for the growth of the kingdom of God.
A Welcoming Class
Persons interested in becoming part of Good Shepherd, or who just would like to learn more about the life and ministry here, are invited to attend this class, which is offered twice a year in the fall and in the winter. This class is offered on Sundays during the Sunday School hour. Please contact Ginger Flanagin, Membership Ministries, for more information about this class.