Congratulations to Linda Bartholome who is transitioning from being the Director of Youth & Family Ministry to our new Congregation Engagement Director. She will transition to her new position of building and deepening relationships of new members, long time members, and guests so that all may know the Good Shepherd. We are blessed by the many gifts she will bring to this position. We appreciate your prayers as we look for a new Director of Youth & Family Ministry.
Hello, Good Shepherd! My name is Jeanette Perrault, and I just finished my first year at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. I'm currently pursuing my Master of Divinity with the hope of becoming an ordained pastor in the ELCA church. This summer I am interning as a chaplain at Sanford Medical Center and assisting with Good Shepherd's summertime services. After graduating from Concordia College in 2013 and working for five years in the Fargo-Moorhead area, it's great to be back!
My first year of seminary was full of personal growth and intentional learning, discovering God's mission in the world through the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Without schoolwork this summer, I am looking forward to spending time with friends and family, practicing and teaching yoga, rollerblading around town, and reading (for fun!). Oh, and definitely eating ice cream. I am excited to be back with the Good Shepherd community and can't wait to get to know you all more!
Happy Summer, Friends!
I am excited about the ways we can grow in our relationship with Jesus this summer at Good Shepherd. We continue to have worship services every Sunday at both our Fargo and Moorhead locations, and our outdoor Wednesday evening service at 6:15 p.m. is a wonderful mid-week refresh for our souls. Our Spiritual Gifts Teaching Series, Gifted, is going to help us see how God has gifted each of us to make an impact in the world.
If you can’t join us in worship, please join us on Facebook Live. You can even pick up a Summer-Worship-To-Go Bag from the office to bring with you on your summer adventures. Continue to check out Facebook and the bulletin for summer service opportunities. Maybe you would enjoy passing out cold water at the Red River Market or Streets Alive!
Please pray for our students, staff, and volunteers who help with Vacation Bible School (June 10-14), Cross Training Basketball Camp (June 17-20), and Camp Emmaus Bible Camp all summer long!
Summer blessings to you all!
Happy New Year!
Our mission at Good Shepherd is to “Gather joyfully, grow spiritually, and go faithfully, so that all may know the Good Shepherd and have abundant life in His name.”
We are blessed with another year to gather, grow, and go together as a church family.❖ What new things does God have in store for us?
❖ What unexpected challenges will we take on as a church family in Jesus’ name?❖ What novel activity will we get to participate in?
If you are like me, and many other people, you may think that a new adventure involves moving to a new town, buying a new home, or starting a new job. Many of us suffer from what Melody Warnick describes as Restless Soul Syndrome, which is a constant search for the new and novel. Sometimes we even view our churches that way, constantly seeking a church that will do something new for us.
Yes, sometimes we are called to new places and we need to try new things, but what if our new adventure means staying where we are and seeing that place with NEW eyes? What if we are called to engage with the life we are living, to invest in the community of people that God has surrounded us with, and to be surprised by the delight of every day?
Here is my church-wide challenge for all of us this year:
Engage and invest in this congregation in a new way!
If you have never been part of a small group, join one!
If you have never taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, do it!
If you have never joined the Good (Shepherd) Men in a service project, come and bring a friend!
If you have never sung in choir, try it!
If you have never attended the Marriage Enrichment Retreat, make it your pre-Valentine’s date night! If you have never worshiped at Sanctuary in Fargo, or the Main Campus in Moorhead, try it!
And, if you haven’t made worship a regular faith practice, try it!
Here are our upcoming Teaching Series:
Never Alone: A 5-week Teaching Series on Loneliness (January 2 – February 3)
It’s Complicated: A 4-week Teaching Series on Relationships (February 6 – March 3)
Lent: A 6-week Teaching Series on Faith Practices (March 6 – April 14)
Go: A 6-week Teaching Series on passing on Faith to the next generation (April 21 – May 26)
I look forward to seeing the unexpected people we will meet and the unexpected places we will see God by investing in the mission that God has given us in 2019!
Pastor Mary Suomala Folkerds
Greetings from Dubuque, Iowa! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Jeanette Perrault, and I am a first year student at Wartburg Theological Seminary. After graduating from Concordia College in 2013, working for five years in the Fargo-Moorhead area, becoming a member at Good Shepherd, and creating a wonderful community, I felt the call to move across the Midwest and become a full-time student again. Talk about a big change!
I’m currently pursuing my Master of Divinity with the hope of becoming an ordained pastor in the ELCA church. So far, I’ve become semi-proficient in reading and writing Biblical Greek, have been studying the foundations of Christian Worship and the Gospels, have learned about church history and where we see God’s mission today, and have been challenged by looking at who our neighbors are in a pluralistic world.
My first semester has been full of transitions, changes, relearning how to be a student again, and finding community in this new setting. I am thankful knowing I have Good Shepherd supporting me through prayer and encouragement, knowing I always have a place to come back to when I visit or a community to worship with via technology on Sunday mornings!
Fun Fact: Seminary is for everyone! In my class, we currently have students who just graduated from college, people in their 2nd or 3rd careers, people in their early seventies, and everywhere in between!
More than half of Americans say that they are isolated, that their relationships aren’t meaningful, or that they lack companionship. In other words, many are lonely. Where is God in this? What can we do about it as Christians?
Join us in worship for our January preaching series! YOU are welcome here!
Pastor Keith came as Interim Associate Pastor this past June. His contract will conclude on December 31. We are thankful for his presence and contribution to ministry at Good Shepherd! He has been the primary visitation pastor during his 6-month tenure. He has accepted a new call as Interim Associate Pastor at Martin’s Lutheran Church in Casselton starting on January 1st, 2019. His final Sunday with us is Sunday, December 30, so please join us for worship and wish him well!
Thank you, Keith!
“A bit of gratitude for the past goes a long way to redeem the past. The therapy is in the thanks. Thanks therapy is God’s prescription for joy.” -Ann Voskamp
When writer Ann Voskamp was able to look back and find things that she was thankful for in her broken relationship with her mom, she was able to move into the future with her mom in a new way. She shares many lessons about her road to thankfulness in her weekly blog and in her books: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas.
A recent Harvard University study, and many other studies coming out of the field of positive psychology, shows that gratitude/thankfulness makes us MORE generous, MORE happy, MORE resilient, MORE kind, MORE healthy and LESS anxious, LESS depressed, LESS isolated, and LESS angry. (Yes, I realize that I could have written happier, kinder and healthier above, but I wanted to stress the MORE part!)
These are great findings, but being thankful does even more for our spirits: Being thankful is our most effective tool against the darkness (the darkness in our world and the darkness in our hearts). Being thankful unites us with God and connects us to each other as the body of Christ.
We are in the season of Advent. Advent is the season where we wait for the coming of Christ. It is the darkest season of the year. The days are short, and the nights are long. Advent can get swallowed up by preparations for Christmas, and many concerns can fill our hearts.
This year, let’s remember Ann Voskamp’s advice as we move through Advent toward Christmas:
“Thanks therapy is God’s prescription for joy.”
What are you thankful for RIGHT NOW?
Here are some things that I am thankful for when I think about our church family:
❖ I am thankful for all the ways that God mobilizes people to give and serve and grow in this congregation. The joy and willingness to pitch in is a beautiful thing to be a part of! Every event – from worship to administrative tasks – takes an army of passionate people to make it happen.
❖ I am thankful that we have every age group present and active in our congregation – from new babies to wise elders, and every age in between. I am thankful for the support that I see between people going through the stresses of different stages of life.
❖ I am thankful that people show up for each other at church. I believe God is working through our caring conversations about issues like loneliness, infertility, aging, chronic pain, depression, addiction, parenting adult children, etc.
Thank you for letting God use you to shine a light for others who need it this Advent and Christmas season. I am thankful for each of you!
God’s Peace, Pastor Mary
Thank you for the ways that you help to make Good Shepherd a thriving Christian community! YOU make a big impact by your presence and participation here!
In Ephesians 4:4 it says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all!”
Together as this ONE BODY, we are #FOR Fargo-Moorhead!
In order to help more people to participate in our mission, we are offering a new way to give financially. It is called Pushpay, and it allows people to give through their smart phones or computers.
For people who do not regularly carry cash or a checkbook, it is:
A secure way of giving,
Less cumbersome to navigate, and
Allows you to conveniently manage your giving from your own smart device.
You can give one-time gifts or set up recurring giving from your phone during worship, or at a time when you are managing your other giving priorities at home.
You will NO longer have to:
• fill out the offering envelopes that you find in the pews.
For those of you who have been giving through the Simply Giving program that we have had for many years at Good Shepherd, you will be receiving an e-mail from me that helps you CANCEL your Simply Giving offering (including your Capital Campaign Pledges through Simply Giving,) and SET UP your giving and continue your Capital Campaign Pledges through Pushpay. If you would like help with this process, please call the church (218.233.4980), and we are happy to assist you. Once you have set up your Pushpay giving, you can monitor and manage your giving through your phone or computer.
We are excited to offer this more convenient giving method to the congregation! Your giving helps the church continue its work in the community and globally! And, it helps us provide this beautiful space in which we worship and learn with dedicated ministry staff here to walk with you in faith!
God’s Peace, Pastor Mary
I am excited to start serving as interim associate pastor. My wife, Michelle, is an artist and Deacon in the ELCA. We recently moved to Moorhead and have enjoyed biking around to see the neighborhood. We grew up in the area around Tampa, FL and found our way up north when going to Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
(From the devotion that Vice President of the Congregation Council, Katherine Halvorson, shared on Sunday, May 20)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear down and
a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh...” (Ecclesiastes 3)
We’ve been through many seasons at Good Shepherd. And God is calling us into a new one. So that makes this a good time to pause and be thankful for people who have come before us... Pastors, Leaders, and Members who made this church what it is today and now we have so many hopes for this next season! To continue to do the amazing work God has called us to:
❖ Joyful and faith-filled worship
❖ Meaningful relationships with one another
❖ Welcoming others into our community of faith
❖ Being #FORFargoMoorhead through our love and service to others
And this new season can include new opportunities, too:
❖ To build trust and open communication
❖ To rebuild relationships
❖ To find even more ways to share God’s love with the world
So here we are today – joined together to call a new lead pastor, and what a gift she already is in our community. She knows and loves this congregation, and she’s uniquely prepared to lead us into this new season at Good Shepherd.
I think of Esther in the Bible – Who can say but that God has brought her into this place for such a time as this? For such a season as this!
But it is not just Pastor Mary who has been brought to this season for such a time as this. We all have. All of us together. And it is good to be together—for we belong to each other.
I am so filled with gratitude for all of you! I am excited to keep doing ministry with you in my new role, to keep wrestling with how to live our faith, how to build community, and how to reach out with the love of Jesus!
Grace and Peace to you, as we start this new season of ministry together,
Big things are happening!
We broke ground for The Beverly (Gerhardson) Paulson Education Wing last fall on October 22.
Since then crews have been working hard to bring the architectural designs to life. Because of your generosity, the Education Wing is nearing completion! We are so pleased with how the project has been going, and we are aiming for the addition to be completed at the end of June.
I want to share with you some pictures of what it looks like on the inside so that you can share in the excitement of this project and see the progress:
If you have driven past the church recently, you have seen the bricklayers hard at work. And here is what has been happening on the inside of the new addition:
Steel studs are up and complete.
Sheetrock is being installed.
Taping of the sheetrock is in process.
Heating and ventilation ductwork is being installed.
Classroom windows are in place, and the two large windows on the north side will be installed this week.
This space will be used to accommodate the needs of our growing congregation! It will be used for Sunday and Wednesday church school, Confirmation class, small groups, adult forums, and community groups.
Everything we do at Good Shepherd, including this addition to our building, is so that ALL may know the Good Shepherd! Thanks for sharing your gifts so that this addition could be possible! Thank you for inviting people to this place to get to know Jesus with you! Thanks for openness to follow where God is leading all of us!
One of the things I love most about ministry is the chance to walk alongside others in faith. As a pastor, the call to Word and Sacrament ministry provides the opportunity to preach and teach… but also to learn.
In my first year and a half at Good Shepherd, I’ve learned quite a bit about what makes our history important, our present so bright, and our future filled with possibility. All three stages are because of the people who came before us that laid the groundwork for Good Shepherd to grow disciples, and the people that gather together today to not only live into the work done by others… but to roll up their sleeves and get to work enhancing the future, by continuing to live out our church’s mission in a changing world.
In April and May, our sermon series will dive into Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together, about the gift of community and how it connects us to Jesus. As I look back at another successful season of Small Groups at Good Shepherd, I’m reminded of how important it is to connect with God and each other. Whether it’s through participation in one of our service or discipleship groups, singing praises to God in the choir or praise team, or through breaking bread and sharing stories (like our new 55+ ministry – Adult Christians Together!) with friends old and new, there’s something special about doing life together… especially when it’s rooted in faith.
If you’d like to get involved in the ministry that’s currently taking place, have ideas about future small group or sermon topics, or ways to be the church outside these walls, let me know! I’d love to continue learning about what God has put on your heart, and discern ways to faithfully be the church together.
- Pastor Taylor
Martin Luther once said that prayer opens our hearts wide like an apron to receive God’s gifts. It reminds me of a print I have in my home of a painting at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I am kind of embarrassed by how much I love it!
You see, I fell in love with this painting the first time I saw it at the Minneapolis Institute of Art as a teenager. It seemed to fit my wistful, idealistic view of the world since I hadn’t actually encountered much of “real” life yet. The painting is called “Springtime of Life” by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, a French painter from the 1800s.
I visited the art museum many times in college. I even dragged my boyfriend to see it. “Isn’t it just amazing?” I asked him. He agreed it was great (mainly because he thought I was great.) And that painting came to that same boyfriend’s mind when he needed a creative way to propose marriage to me, (after his original plan of taking me flying in an airplane in mid-September of 2001 was not possible due to the terrible events of September 11). So he took me to the art museum and when we got to my favorite painting, I noticed that he seemed really nervous. I looked over at him and was about to say, “I know, this painting just GETS me.” But he wasn’t looking at the painting; he was down on one knee and whispering “Will you marry me?” I whispered “YES.” And we lived happily ever after…
Actually we lived, and continue to live, “realistically” ever after with all the battle scars that accompany building a life together for almost 16 years – after many moves, transitions, new jobs, having a child, losing a child, having another child, and figuring out how to be grownups. Our lives don’t look like a French meadow where we catch flower petals in our aprons (and I could never get my husband to put on a pink frock anyway). Our lives are more real than that.
Reading Martin Luther’s words about prayer brought me back to this painting: God wants us to share our needs and concerns through prayer, “not because he is unaware of them, but in order that we may kindle our hearts to stronger and greater desires and spread our apron wide to receive many things.”
The word “Lent” means spring. And this painting seems to offer a Lenten/Springtime prayer posture to us: heads bowed down and aprons open wide to receive the good things that only God can give us (French meadow and pink dress optional!).
Blessed Lent to you all!
We are in a time of transition at Good Shepherd. We are thankful for three and a half years of ministry that Pastor Dan Dornfeld shared with us, and we pray for him as he discerns where God is leading him next. Good Shepherd is a healthy and vitalized congregation and has journeyed through staff transitions before. In every transition, we continue to live out our mission: to Gather, Grow, and Go, so that ALL may know the Good Shepherd.
In times of transition, it is good to revisit how to BE the church in the “in between” times of change. One way to do that is to remember healthy faith practices! The faith practices that I find most helpful come from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a Lutheran pastor and professor in the time leading up to and during World War II in Germany. He led an underground movement of pastors that opposed Adolph Hitler. He wrote about this experience in a book called Life Together.
His community tended to seven key faith practices, or ministries, that helped them hang together as a community and deepened their faith in God during the uncertain times they found themselves in. Here are his seven ministries (I teach them to the Confirmation students, and I have actions connected to each one):
1. The Ministry of Holding One’s Tongue. Bonhoeffer said that learning how to hold one’s tongue teaches us how to stop harshly judging our brothers and sisters and helps us to see them as valuable. (Action that goes along with this discipline: Literally holding your tongue)
2. The Ministry of Meekness. Meekness is NOT to be confused with weakness. Meekness is restrained strength! It means being strong enough to hold others up! (Action: Raise the roof gesture)
3. The Ministry of Listening. See James 1:19. Bonhoeffer said, “He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either.” (Action: Hand to the ear)
4. The Ministry of Helpfulness. Bonhoeffer challenges us to be “interrupted by God” and to help those who cross our paths. (Action: Patting your neighbor on the back)
5. The Ministry of Bearing. Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. As I tell my Confirmation students, each one of us is annoying in our own way, and so this is a gift we can offer to one another. (Action: Growl like a bear!)
6. The Ministry of Proclaiming Christ. The first 5 ministries lay the foundation for this practice! We need to witness to Christ in how we treat one another. In other words, walk the walk! (Action: Make a cross sign with your two pointer fingers)
7. The Ministry of Authority. All authority belongs to God! Bonhoeffer wanted his community to not place their faith in their leader, but in their Lord. No matter who leads a congregation, we all need to remember that God is the Lord of this church!
Thank you for being part of this community of faith! I am looking forward to where God leads us this year!
God’s Peace, Pastor Mary
Sunday, February 11th from 3-7pm
$30 per couple (Dinner and dessert provided!)
Led by Aaron and Mary Suomala Folkerds
Sponsored by Good Shepherd and Christ the King Lutheran Churches, open to the public!
Marriages can’t run on auto-pilot. They need to be maintained. Healthy marriages enrich individuals, families and communities. Aaron and Mary Suomala Folkerds are both pastors, and have been married for 16 years. Pastor Aaron is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, and brings a wealth of experience working with couples and families. Please join us for this fun and meaningful afternoon!
Budget Forum & Preview of the Annual Report on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2017 9:30 a.m. to review the proposed 2017 Budget
Good Shepherd’s Annual Meeting: Sunday, January 28, 2017 9:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary
**Important** If you have questions and/or want more information and time for discussion on the budget, please attend this Budget Forum or talk with a Council member before January 28. With the Annual Meeting between services, our time is limited.
In Traveling Mercies, author Anne Lamott says there are really only two prayers. One is "Help me, help me, help me." The other is "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Sometimes these are the only words we can muster, and that is enough! Starting January 3 and continuing for 6 weeks, we will be doing a teaching series on prayer. Even though our prayers can be as simple as “help me” and “thank you,” there is mystery and complexity when it comes to communicating with God. Maybe you have asked yourself these questions:
Is God listening?
Why should God care about me?
Does prayer really help with physical healing?
Why does God seem sometimes close and sometimes far away? Does prayer change God?
Does prayer change me?
We will be digging into the Bible, and also be drawing inspiration from a book by Philip Yancey called Prayer: Does it Make a Difference. We encourage you to find a copy of this book for your personal reading. Other books on prayer that have inspired me are:
Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott A quirky and honest book about prayer.
Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be with God by Bill Hybels. A great read for how to get started in your prayer life.
Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton. A Roman Catholic monk who drew a deep connection between silence, solitude, and prayer.
Before Amen by Max Lucado. How to have a richer prayer life. A number of people at Good Shepherd have done a Bible study with this book, and it has changed many lives!
Praying Our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp. A book about how to express your grief through meaningful prayer rituals.
Fingerprints of God: What Science is Learning About the Brain and Spiritual Experience by Barbara Bradley Haggerty. This book is for those who get excited about the mind, body, and spirit connection discovered through science.
Happy reading! Happy praying! And Happy New Year!
God’s Peace, Pastor Mary
As we close out 2017, I look back with thankfulness, and I look forward with excitement for the year that is to come. One of the powerful things we did this fall, as a congregation, was launch a second worship site for Good Shepherd in the FM area. While many of you might never step foot in that Holy space, please know that we’re in this mission together, and your prayers and encouragement mean the world to me as the Mission Developer.
Each Sunday, we have over 20 volunteers serve in a variety of roles at our Fargo location. This might be news to some of you, but it’s something I’ve become quite aware of, and inspired by, every Sunday! They come in a variety of ages and backgrounds, but one thing that’s evident among our leaders is their love for Good Shepherd. Some have spoken of the warm welcome they received when they first came to Good Shepherd and their desire to share that same welcome with others. Others are grateful for a way to serve “outside-the-box.” No matter their role, they serve with a smile on their face, as they lead in areas of Hospitality, Worship, Production, and Children’s Ministry. With each interaction, the mission “... that ALL may know the Good Shepherd...” is lived out through our leaders. It’s inspiring... and it’s making a difference.
One guest remarked, “I went to service here yesterday and left completely blessed and renewed. I really need a place to help me reconnect with God and give my faith a boost, and Good Shepherd helped me do that and so much more! Incredible staff, friendly members and fellow attendees, and the experience as a first timer was one I will not soon forget.” Another said, “I felt at home the minute I stepped in, and knew that this is where God wanted me. Everyone is so welcoming. Services are contemporary with amazing teaching that you will think of through the week, and apply to your life. The music is so great as well. Hands down, I'd recommend Good Shepherd to anyone!”
It might not be for everybody... but it’s for somebody. By the grace and empowerment of God, we’ll continue to live out our mission in 2018 with joy in our hearts. If you’d like to serve in Fargo, let me know! Come check out a service, and as always, keep this location in your prayers.
- Pastor Taylor Wilson