Greetings, fellow Good Shepherd-ites!
As Summer finally relinquishes its last grip on North Texas, the old-fashioned song stirs my memory:
"Shine on; Shine on, Harvest Moon...up in the sky. ....
Shine on, Shine on Harvest Moon...for me and my Gal!"
This weekend is one of the signature town festivals here in Granbury, Texas: "The Harvest Moon Festival of the Arts". If you are new to the area...or have just never been...you will be blessed to attend this great little gathering downtown around the Courthouse. I remember the Smiths' first few Octobers in Granbury: we loved the arts, the crafts, the sales...the celebration of autumn.
Well. This weekend is a big one for our GSAC women's group: the A nglican C hurch W omen (aka: the ACW). In addition to that, I'm letting you know about a special mission trip to Africa I will be a part of 11/06 through 11/20. And, then there is a series of significant Sunday Christian Formation hours coming in November. And all of that BEFORE we enter the beautiful Church Season known as "Advent" (Dec. 3rd begins "Advent week One").
Here we go, GSAC Family!
(A) ACW LADIES SHINING UNDER 'HARVEST MOON'
For the past several weeks, our ACW ladies have been fervently creating wonderful wares to sell downtown at the Arts Festival...aka "Harvest Moon Festival"...on the Square here in Granbury. I've seen many of them hard at it back in classrooms and in the Parish Hall, building and adorning a number of bird houses with Church and Chapel themes worked into their art! ACW President Cora Werley has been gently cracking the whip, and the ACW ladies have been responding with some beautiful pieces. Later this evening, all of their merchandise will be toted from GSAC to the Square (with assistance from the ever-faithful Brotherhood) to set up for Saturday and Sunday festival days!
The women are not just "selling" goods. They are, by their own prayerful intentions, planning on using their booth to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church to those who may drop by throughout the weekend. To my mind, the bird "houses" make a great show-and-tell opportunity to speak of how God gently cares for His creation, and longs to provide shelter to all distressed "birds of a feather"...i.e. people who (like Jesus) might not have a roof over their heads. Even people who live in splendid houses in Hood County may feel "unsheltered". You can't judge a human book by its gilded cover, can you?!?
So: God bless our Ladies! And, if you have the time, go by their booth and see for yourself how beautiful are the bird homes made by our equally lovely ladies .
(P.S: I believe there will be other items-Crosses & Angels- on sale!)
(B) "WHY I LOVE MISSIONS TO MALAWI !"
On Monday, November 6th, I will be flying out of DFW with the diocesan Treasurer (Janie Parrott), and one of the key benefactors of the Order of St. Mary's convent in Mzuzu, Malawi (Peggy Bruce), to spend two weeks in Africa. I will return on November 20th. Fathers Bloodgood and Cardona will "hold the home fort" while I am away.
This mission trip to Africa has several purposes:
1. Janie will be working with the diocesan office's employees to improve and strengthen their accounting practices, so that future expected grants to the Diocese of Northern Malawi might be received! 2. Peggy Bruce will be ministering to the Sisters of the Convent their in the city of Mzuzu, the same town wherein Bp. Fanuel and the Diocesan office are located. 3. I will be helping the ladies travel safely, and ministering every way the Bishop chooses to utilize my presence (that is still being planned by the Bishop).
This will be my 4th mission trip to Malawi. You may wonder, "Why does Fr. Smith keeping going to Malawi?" 'Good Question', I would reply. Here's the answer: I love the Church in the diocese of Northern Malawi, and I love to be of whatever small help I may be to their Bishop and his clergy while I am there.
Back in 2015, I helped Fr. Scott Wilson lead a Lenten Retreat for the clergy of the Diocese. In November (I believe it was) of 2009, I was one of two who officially represented Bp. Iker and our own diocese at the Consecration of the first native Malawian bishop: Fanuel Magangani. My first trip to Malawi was in 2007...an "ambassadorial" mission comprised of three clergy, three seminarians, and three laity.
So, you see, each trip was unique.
Please pray for me, and for Mrs. Parrott and Mrs. Bruce, as we make this mission trip together. The three of us will have Bp Iker bless us in the chapel at the diocesan office just days before we leave. But, it means so very much to me to know that my beloved parish family (whom I love more than I can express!) is praying for my travel safety and fruitfulness in ministry. I promise to travel safely and come home in one piece! THANK YOU!
(C) NOVEMBER'S SPECIAL SUNDAYS
The work of Christian Formation (aka "Sunday School", "Christian Education") never ends! Nope, you don't graduate from it when you are confirmed! And, you are never too sophisticated or spiritually superior to benefit from it!!
Christian Formation happens every way you are "formed" more in Christ's Image. It happens in Mass on Sunday (and Tues. & Wed.). Morning Prayer, 6 days a week includes Readings from the Fathers of the Church (very deep formation!). It's available to you in Bible Studies (too numerous to list!), and it most certainly is "front and center" on Sunday mornings after Mass & Refreshments!
In November, here is the menu (some tentative, as noted):
11/05 HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR DEATH IS FOLLOWED BY YOUR WISHES FOR YOUR BURIAL (OR INTERMENT). PART 1: "the Theology of Death and its aftermath for the Church"
(Led by Fr. Smith)
11/12 HOSPICE CARE, AND HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE LIFE AFTER DEATH
(Led by Fr. David Cardona)
11/19 Part 2 of "How to make sure your death is followed by your wishes for your burial (or interment") The Practical steps to take (Led by Fr. Bill Bloodgood)
11/26 MORAL ISSUES AT THE TIME OF DEATH (Tentative: led by Dcn. Gail Kleinschmidt)
The overall Theme is: "Death: the Christian's Friend, because of Christ's Resurrection"
Though many Americans prefer not to acknowledge or speak of death, it is even surer than Taxes as a reality every single one of us WILL face. Christians should not fear the means of passing from this veil of tears (life in our world), to the "bosom of Abraham" (life in the nearer presence of Jesus Christ our Lord...via death). I hope that many of you who routinely skip Christian Formation on Sunday morning, might stay for this practical and yet spiritual month of November CF . You won't be sorry you did!!
(D) THE CALENDAR FORWARD
Here's 'wassup' at GSAC for the months to come....
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
10/22 19th Sunday after Trinity: MASS AT 9:15; Refreshment; Special Presentation
10/23-10/27 MORNING PRAYER in the Chapel; 8 a.m.
10/23 SANDWICH MINISTRY: Each Monday, 5 p.m. in the Parish Hall
10/24 TUESDAY MORNING MASS & Bible Study; 10 a.m. in Chapel; 11 a.m. in parish hall
10/25 WEDNESDAY MASS 6:30 P.M. in the chapel, followed by “dinner on the town”
10/28 BOSA: Regular meeting; 8 a.m. MP; breakfast, Study in “Mere Christianity”
10/28 “TELET” FOLLOW UP: 11 a.m. in parish hall;
11/03-11/04 DIOCESAN CONVENTION @ St. Vincent’s & Hurst Convention Center
11/05, 11/12, 11/19, 11/26: Sundays in November: Special Christian Formation series; 11:15-Noon
11/06-11/20 FR SMITH AWAY ON MISSION TRIP TO THE DIOCESE OF N. MALAWI
11/07 PRAYER SHAWL MEETING; 10 a.m. in the parish hall
11/23 THANKSGIVING DAY “POT-LUCK” FEAST IN PARISH HALL - 1pm Feast; 3pm Cowboy Game
12/03 FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
12/09 “ST. NICHOLAS’ WORKSHOP”, led by GSAC’s BOSA.
12/16 ADVENT QUIET DAY
12/24 (part one): Advent IV- 9:15 Mass will be in our historic Chapel!
12/24 (part two): Christmas Eve- two masses…5pm & 10:30 pm… in the Main Church
May God bless and keep you...every one of you...
In Christ's Love,
Fr. Stuart Smith