All Are Welcome In This Place
Good Shepherd Parish grew out of a vision for a community, rooted in our Catholic heritage while reaching out to embrace the challenges and changes of our postmodern world. We are a sacramental and liturgical church dedicated to living the Gospel of Christ and committed to peace and justice. All people are welcome and fully included here, in every aspect of the church's life, without regard to gender, gender identity, state of life, disability, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or age.
Ecumenical In Spirit
The word “ecumenical” comes from the Greek oikos, and refers to the whole household of faith. It is an inclusive word. We understand it at several levels:
- We recognize that the Body of Christ, the Universal Church, includes all baptized Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation.
- We actively engage in promoting Christian unity, seeking to join with all Christians in proclaiming the Gospel, celebrating the liturgy, and realizing the life of Christ.
- We recognize the work of the Spirit in the faith of people of all religions. We see the divine presence in every human heart, believing that all people are the beloved of God. Therefore, we seek mutual understanding and respect with those of other faiths, through dialogue and mutual cooperation in the endeavor for peace and justice in our world.
In short, we understand “ecumenical” as a welcoming word, which gives room for all people, wherever they are on their spiritual journey, to share in a life-giving relationship with us. We are about opening our arms to embrace all that God is doing in the marvelous world in which we live.
Catholic In Nature
The word “Catholic” means “universal”. We are a part of the universal Church of Jesus Christ, sharing in the teachings and liturgical heritage of the Church, and celebrating a characteristically Catholic faith tradition that is not sectarian. Specifically, we affirm:
- Invitation to the sacramental life. We recognize the baptism and faith of all our Christian sisters and brothers. Therefore, all are welcome to share in the Eucharist in faith.
- Invitation to ministry. All persons, male and female, married and single, gay and straight, have the right to respond to a genuine vocation and fully participate in the ministerial priesthood.
- Invitation to intimate commitment. While always traumatic, sometimes divorce is the best and most faithful response to permanently broken relationships. Yet many whose marriages have ended still have the vocation of marriage, the co-joining in intimate love with another created in God’s image and likeness. These new unions can best be nourished in the sacramental life of the Church.
- Invitation to follow conscience. Whether the issue is the freedom to vote according to personal convictions, the use of contraception and artificial birth control, or some other matter, we affirm the freedom to follow one’s conscience as a part of a healthy life of faith.
By these commitments, we affirm the dignity, worth, and essential liberty of all human persons regardless of race, national origin, religious affiliation, gender, or sexual orientation. We follow the ancient wisdom of the Church as expressed in the words of St. Augustine: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
A Place of Renewal
Good Shepherd is a place of renewal, holding out the hope of both personal transformation and a renewal of the Body of Christ. We seek to be a positive presence in the world, spreading the message of hope, love, unity, and healing for the human family.
Our desire is to:
- Nurture and guide people in all their relationships - with God, themselves, others, and all of creation.
- Focus energy and resources on ministry to the poor, to justice, to peace.
- Recognize and celebrate the presence and work of God in other faith traditions.
- Freely share the Eucharist (communion) with all who seek Christ in the sacrament.
- Invite all persons to share fully in the life and leadership of the Church.
- Ordain to ministry as priests or deacons those whom God calls: married or single, female or male.
- Encourage freedom of thought and choice about personal decisions such as family planning and birth control.
- Bless all committed relationships through the Sacrament of Marriage.
- Foster an awareness of the Earth as God's creation, for which we share responsibility as stewards and caretakers.