A Community of Faith in the Jupiter, Tequesta and Hobe Sound Area
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
"We Have A Place For You."
The Rev. Douglas F. Scharf
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Fr. Doug's Pastoral Response to tragedy in Las Vegas
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we look forward to the year ahead, one of the particular areas of ministry we hope to further expand is the area of Christian formation and spiritual development. Through our baptism, we are called to be disciples of Jesus. The word disciple means student or learners. In the ancient world, it is the word that was used to describe the relationship between a teacher and an apprentice. Therefore, we are called to be students of Jesus; we are called to be intentional about the work of education, formation, and spiritual development in our lives.
In the Episcopal Church, we believe that Christian formation is the lifelong process of growing in our relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. This process includes personal prayer and study; corporate worship and community outreach; and intentional opportunities for learning and spiritual enrichment. In other words, almost everything we do contributes in some way to our ongoing journey of formation and growth as followers of Jesus. This month, there are two specific Christian formation opportunities I would like to highlight.
The Difference Heaven Makes: Our Christian Hope & Why it Matters
In the life the church, our liturgy and hymns are full of references to the promise of heaven. In our lives, we speak of our loved ones who have died as being in “a better place.” In our wider culture, many recent best-selling books and movies have explored the topic of heaven, often based on dramatic true stories of near-death experiences. However, many of our common conceptions of heaven do not originate from the Bible or our Christian tradition. So, how do we make sense of heaven? What difference does heaven make? On Wednesday nights in September, we will be exploring this important topic!
The Beauty of Holiness: An Instructed Eucharist
One the defining characteristics of the Episcopal Church is the centrality of the Eucharist in our common life of worship and prayer. However, many people have questions about exactly what we do when we gather on Sunday for worship. Even those of us who have been Episcopalians our whole lives need to be reminded from time to time about the meaning and significance of our liturgical tradition. As our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, likes to say, “we are the Episcopal branch of Jesus’ movement in this world!” On Sunday, September 17, I will be leading an Instructed Eucharist at both our morning worship services. I will be offering reflections and commentary throughout the service about what we are doing in our worship and why we do it!
I hope you will join me as we seek to answer the call of Jesus to be his disciples in this world! May God bless you always!