Church of the Good Shepherd

The Anglo-Catholic Parish of the Episcopal Diocese Of Upper South Carolina

A vision for worshipping and serving Christ

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Columbia, S.C.

October 2013

The Church of the Good Shepherd is the principal Anglo-Catholic parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. We are a spiritual home for people from all walks of life who gather under one roof to celebrate the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition. As the third-oldest Episcopal Church in Columbia, we have been serving the city and its metropolitan area since 1883. Here, Anglo-Catholic tradition and a vibrant parish community create an environment particularly conducive to worship.

We had our beginnings in the principles of the Oxford Movement, whose proponents argued against the increasing secularization of the Anglican Church, and sought to recall it to its heritage of apostolic order, and to the Catholic doctrines of the early church fathers. Our mission is to provide liturgies, music, environment, and facilities that celebrate and help to build up the Catholic faith as expressed by the Episcopal Church. As an Oxford Movement parish, we are a liturgical church, which means we worship together in a consistent and formalized manner, observing the seasons of the traditional church year and employing the many liturgies and rituals of our rich Catholic heritage. We seek through our liturgies, music and community to provide a worshipful high-church experience that fills hearts with the love of Christ, enriches minds, and inspires us for Christian service.

We recognize the Holy Eucharist as the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day and other major feast days. All baptized persons who are admitted to Communion, who recognize the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, whose own conscience permits, and who are duly prepared to make their Communion are invited to receive the Holy Eucharist at Good Shepherd.

In addition to our emphasis on liturgy and music, we provide opportunities for prayer, study, charitable service, and social interaction for all ages, as we strive to fulfill Jesus Christ’s Great Commission that we preach the good news to all creation and make disciples of all nations. Our members seek to know each other well and to have loving and supportive relationships. We seek constantly to grow this love and support, and to make it apparent and available in reaching out to one another and to our visitors, as we work to help one another and our visitors understand who we are, what we do, and why we do it.

I. The Church as a Community of Worship, Prayer and Dialogue

The Church of the Good Shepherd is distinguished by reverential worship, not just in form but in our hearts. That worship, culminating in the Eucharist, unites us as a community of Christ. We seek to further strengthen this community by increasing our corporate worship opportunities, by encouraging active prayer lives and by supporting an open exchange of ideas among parishioners about our parish community and the Church Catholic. Toward these ends, we commit to:

  • Develop a parish-wide prayer partners ministry, selecting new partners monthly.
  • Develop “Guide to Worship” pew cards.
  • Add a smaller tract rack in parlor with most important tracts, including Acts of Devotion. Perhaps also the Guide to Worship cards.
  • Create a “prayer of the month” program to help educate the parish on the prayer resources in The Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal. A new feature in The Messenger will explain the program and include that month’s prayer, which also will be printed in the ordo and highlighted on the website.
  • Set up a suggestion box, to be monitored by the rector and Vestry.

Additionally, we will continue work on these initiatives from our previous visioning process:

  • Offer bimonthly Daily Office of Morning Prayer as part of Men's Prayer Breakfast.
  • Encourage ecumenical relationships with other Catholic communities (Church of Rome and Orthodox) through shared worship experiences.
  • Offer Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament as a regular part of Lenten worship, in conjunction with the Stations of the Cross.
  • Make Saint Mary’s Chapel available for private meditation and devotions during office hours.
  • Encourage participation with the rosary group that meets between Masses on Sunday.
  • Promote the blessing of homes.
  • Inform area parishes and neighbors and friends about Advent and Lenten Quiet Day offerings.
  • When possible, have the Quiet Day leaders come from monastic communities and make provision for them to preach at Sunday Mass.
  • Encourage the participation of youth and young adults in liturgies.
  • Place Voice from the Pew cards and the Daughters of the King prayer request cards in the pew racks.

II. Formation, Teaching and Vocation within the Church

In order to live as Christ taught us, we must understand Christ’s teachings. In order to function as the body of Christ, we must acknowledge that ministry is a constituent of membership, and not just an option. In order to serve, we must discover our talents and recognize where they are needed. Toward these ends, we commit to:

  • Expand the Inquirers Class for those who are new to the Episcopal Church as well for those who want a refresher on the faith and practice of the Anglican expression of Christianity.
  • Create a weekly Bible trivia challenge, to be published in the ordo.
  • Conduct a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to help identify opportunities for parishioners to participate in existing ministries and to learn of the untapped human resources we have to develop new ministries. Include in survey a solicitation of parishioners’ ideas on new programs they would be willing to participate in.
  • Offer a Bible study challenge exploring the messianic roots in the Old Testament.
  • Host a teaching mission in 2014.

Additionally, we will continue work on these initiatives from our previous visioning process:

  • Encourage parishioners to attend Diocesan sponsored workshops and conferences.
  • Have the Vestry attend Diocesan leadership training events.
  • Encourage and train youth for lectoring, ushering and other liturgical and pastoral ministries.
  • Have the Vestry support the youth by attending their activities and by volunteering at youth events.
  • Provide funds for youth participation at summer camp and conferences.
  • Have youth ministry advisors give quarterly reports to the Vestry.
  • Maintain contact with youth at college and encourage their participation in campus ministry.

III. Witness, Common Mission and Service to the World

It is too easy to focus so much on meeting our own spiritual needs that we forget the larger world. But Christ demands that we tend to the spiritual needs of our neighbors, sharing the good news throughout the world. This means serving others both as individuals and as a community of Christ, and it means making our parish a welcoming place for those seeking a church home. Toward these ends, we commit to:

  • Redesign the parish website and update it regularly.
  • Add the monthly newsletter, The Messenger, to the parish website.
  • Use social media to reach out to the masses.
  • Place announcements of upcoming events in the local newspapers.
  • Establish a Welcome Committee to implement a secret greeters program, send welcome notes to visitors and develop other initiatives.
  • Design prayer cards for the Welcome Committee to distribute, with Good Shepherd’s Pantrocrater on the front and the Good Shepherd Gospel and basic church information on the back.
  • Offer Good Shepherd as a venue to feature talent from local colleges and universities.
  • Conduct a Parish Evangelism Challenge in 2014, challenging everyone to invite at least one person to a parish event during Easter. Post a running list in the Parish Hall of parishioners who bring a guest.
  • Identify fundraising opportunities for mission and outreach such as soup sales and bake sales.

Additionally, we will continue work on these initiatives from our previous visioning process:

  • Host community events to raise funds for local outreach programs.
  • Designate a Vestry liaison to local outreach programs in the Columbia metro area.
  • Provide financial and logistical leadership for the work trip to Valle Crucis, N.C.
  • Support Mission Cange in support of the MDG.
  • Support the local outreach ministries of Harvest Hope, Cooperative Ministry, Children’s Garden, Souper Bowl of Caring and the Heifer Projects as well as others.
  • Recruit youth and adults to serve on the mission work trips sponsored by Homeworks.
  • Send notices of parish events to the communications officer at the Diocesan House.
  • Have the ushers invite and escort newcomers to coffee hour, making sure to introduce them to parishioners.

IV. Stewardship and Care of People, Place and Money

Our revenue has been declining for a number of years as a result of the death of a major donor, the lingering effects of the recession and the national church’s continued drift away from Christian principles. In 2013, the Vestry adopted its first-ever deficit budget, forcing us to confront the reality that our stewardship campaign has lost focus and energy. As an outgrowth of our visioning process, that campaign now is being overhauled, with new leaders and tactics focusing on the theology of stewardship. Simultaneously, we aim to improve the stewardship of our human resources, in keeping with Christ’s admonition that we love one another, even as he has loved us. Toward these ends, we commit to:

  • Create a stewardship committee to develop and oversee a smarter stewardship campaign. The committee reports to the vestry, which retains responsibility for the budget.
  • Add email addresses to the parish directory.
  • Add photos to the parish directory.
  • Email day-before and day-of reminders about church events.
  • Place recycling bins throughout campus alongside trash cans.

Additionally, we will continue work on these initiatives from our previous visioning process:

  • Maintain an email database to notify parishioners immediately about deaths and illnesses.
  • Continue Daughters of the King ministry of calling parishioners when there is a death or birth.
  • Expand the ministry of Eucharistic Visitors.
  • Have the Vestry send sympathy and get well cards to parishioners.
  • Improve the method of determining who delivers and receives flowers after Mass.
  • Have the Episcopal Church Women continue to offer visitations in the parish hall following funerals for the bereaved and their friends.
  • Identify volunteers who would provide practical assistance to parishioners who become sick or incapacitated.
  • Host receptions in the Parish Hall for Feast Days, the annual kickoff of the mission work trip to Valle Crucis, baptisms, and special visitors.
  • Offer annually a progressive dinner, parish picnic, Shrove Tuesday celebration, Lenten suppers, and Lenten fish fry.
  • Maintain small-group activities through the Classics, Middlers and Young Adults Good Shepherd (YAGS) fellowship groups and men’s dinners.
  • Ask the men of the parish to on take more responsibility for hosting fellowship events.
  • Host an annual cook-out for newcomers.
  • Make stewardship education a year round effort through newsletter articles, sermons, group discussions and personal contact with parishioners from members of the Vestry.
  • Have a member of the parish give a personal reflection on their understanding of stewardship at Sunday Mass at least one a year.
  • Teach the concept of time, talent and treasure as central to Christian giving.
  • Encourage estate planning, explaining how Christian stewardship should inform such planning.
  • Provide reading material on stewardship in the tract rack and in bulletin inserts.
  • Have a clearly defined stewardship program for the pledge drive each fall.