It is my great honor to have begun my tenure as your priest. Good Shepherd will be the eighth Episcopal parish I’ve served since I was ordained nearly 33 years ago, but in coming to be with you I feel a freedom to devote myself more purely to the essence of my call to be a “pastor, priest, and teacher” (cf., The Book of Common Prayer, p. 531) than I’ve ever felt before. I’m very, very grateful to your Senior Warden, Gary Millhollon, and your Vestry for calling me, as I am to Bishop Mayer for affirming the call.
I’ve been around the Episcopal Church for quite a while, but I know of no other parish with a history quite like yours. First, through no fault of your own and against your will, you found yourself bereft of your parish church and buildings. But you didn’t let that defeat you. Instead you rose from the ashes and simply built a new church! To my knowledge no other parish community that lost their property in the ecclesiastical imbroglio managed such a feat. You and the Rev. Dr. Suzi Robertson are much to be commended.
Of course, many of you already know me. I’ve taught a class at Good Shepherd, and I’ve preached and celebrated for you several times. I even tried singing in the choir for a brief period but discovered that my inability to read music really hampered my attempts to make a joyful noise to the Lord!
Normally when beginning a new ministry in a parish I’d make every effort to get to know each of you personally as well and as quickly as I could. I’d come to your homes, sit down with you, drink coffee, and in a leisurely fashion get to know you. Unfortunately COVID-19 renders such an approach impossible. I myself am 67 years old and diabetic, so I’m being very, very careful, as I suspect many of you are.
That said there are other ways we can get to know each other. During this peculiar time I’ve discovered the delights of Zooming! While it’s not quite the same as being face to face, it’s a close second. I’d welcome the opportunity to Zoom with as many of you as possible, and of course we can always talk on the telephone. In the next several weeks I’ll be contacting each of your households to try to find a time when we can connect.
Though I’m not quite yet sure what this means with COVID restrictions, I anticipate being in the office at church from 10 till 2 Monday through Wednesday. The rest of the time I’ll be working from home. I’ll also be working most Saturdays. (Before I realized I was coming to Good Shepherd I made a few Saturday commitments I’ll need to honor.) And of course I’ll be leading worship on Sundays with Mother Leslie. Thursdays I’ll set aside as my study day because, even after having been preaching for nearly forty years, sermons still require quite a bit of preparation, at least for me! And Fridays I hope to take as my Sabbath.
I anticipate my personal cell phone becoming the parish’s emergency phone. I’ll leave my ringer on 24/7 except when leading worship and for about an hour in the mornings when I pray. That number is 512.745.0917. My mother taught me that it was appropriate to call anybody after 9 a.m. or before 9 p.m., so please feel free to call me during those hours. In the event of an emergency, please call me at any time!
The best email to reach me at is email@example.com.
One final word on what to call me: I’m quite content simply being called “Doug” or, if someone is younger than 18, “Father Doug”. I look forward to being with you for several years and simply and thoroughly enjoying our friendships. I’m from West Texas, and in West Texas friends are casual!
And that gives me the opportunity to close out this first missive with one of my favorite quotes from Jesus, who said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:12-14)
I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you very, very well and to entering into deep and true Christian friendship for the next several years.
Welcome to The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd official Website. We are the only Episcopal Church in Granbury, Texas and are a member of the world wide Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian Communion in the world. Good Shepherd is a vibrant congregation in the historic tradition of the Christian faith. We welcome, embrace and involve all persons, regardless of gender, age, color, sexual orientation, creed, race or social status. We are deeply spiritual and base our day to day life on the supremacy of Holy Scripture. We respect the dignity of every human being. In our ordination and membership, we do not discriminate. We sing. We Pray! We forgive! We cry and mourn when we hurt. We spend much of our money and our energy on, "others." We help children in Mexico and Tanzania. We support refugees and people who live in regions where there are natural disasters. We help feed children in our own community. We support Habitat for Humanity, Mission Granbury, and many other service agencies in our area. Our worship involves pageantry. We love beauty! We make collective decisions. We love each other! We believe the world is a big place, and that to be genuinely present with God, we must fully embrace the entire world in our prayers and in our work. Currently, we are a congregation without walls.