Faith Story shared by council member and Community Outreach chair Denise Gray
Good morning. My name is Denise Gray and this year I am Chair of Community Outreach. This morning I will be speaking about one of the five priorities that Council identified as focus areas for our congregation. I hope you were able to personally hear the previous speakers and if not, their stories are available in print on our Facebook page. Meredith Hurt started us off by discussing the importance of sharing our Time and Talents – and a updated survey is available now both on-line and in paper form that is very important for each of us to complete. The following week, Sue Cottrol shared powerful testimony about racism and her personal experiences. At Good Shepherd we have committed to educate and challenge our thinking with the help of the recently formed an Anti-Racism committee and I hope you will try to join in on their discussions and events. Next, Bruce Purdy shared about his own spiritual growth – and Council is committed to creating as many opportunities as possible for each of us to experience and grow in God’s love. In a couple weeks, Patrick Anderson who chairs the Stewardship committee will speak about another priority – living our lives with a “Culture of Generosity, ” the importance of which cannot be understated. And today I will share some thoughts about our fifth identified priority – Feeding the Poor.
Feeding the poor is something Jesus was very specific about wanting us to do. When Jesus and Peter were walking along the Sea of Galilee, three times he turned to Peter and said “Do you love me? Three times Peter answered him, “Yes Lord I love you.” And three times Jesus replied “Feed my Sheep.”
I wonder what he meant by “Feed my sheep.” What is it that Jesus cared about so much that he repeated himself three times? Is it literally to provide food to those who are hungry? Or did he mean we should feed our souls and those around us with the Good News? Did he mean we should live our lives with compassion for others, by being welcoming and inclusive, and by living our lives generously? Maybe he meant all of those things.
We kind of have a new theme here at Good Shepherd – #feedmoresheep. I really like it. I like that we get updates in the bulletins and newsletters and blogs about where our money goes and how we are feeding sheep. Our Welcome Bags now include this really cute sheep figures. And it motivates me – it sends the right message. When I think back on my tenure with Good Shepherd, I think of Pastor Schutze and Let Your Light Shine. Pastor Ray dubbed us The Little Church on the Triangle. And now Pastor Jen has given us Feed More Sheep. I think it is exactly where we should be and what we should be doing.
At Good Shepherd we feed more sheep by participating in Saturday meals at Meade Memorial, we provide a complete dinner for the residents of Guest House every month, we prepare a program and monthly luncheon for our community’s senior citizens, we assemble Bags of Joy for the homeless and collect food for ALIVE and the list goes on. The time I spend participating in some of these activities are often the most rewarding hours of my month. All of these opportunities – and many more – are open for you to be part of, whether by offering your time and talent or your financial support. Both are important and both are needed. Please make sure your financial support to our church is consistent and appropriate.
I like the way Feed More Sheep ties all of our church priorities together. It’s what Jesus very clearly – three times – told us he wants us to do. I’m glad Council members recognized it as the priority it should be and I look forward to all the ways the people of this little church on the triangle will let our lights shine by feeding more sheep.