Pastor Jen Fite
Good Shepherd is a congregation filled with followers of Christ who seek to deepen their own faith, and to share their faith with the world in their day-to-day life. We invite you to come to worship on Sunday mornings or Monday evenings, to get to know the congregation and to hear more how we live out our faith in the Howard community and beyond. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Pastor’s Annual Report for 2020
I remember singing the song “We are the Church” back in my Sunday school days as a kid. It was one of my favorites. I liked it because we got to essentially shout the refrain:
I am the church!
You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!
Yes, we're the church together!
As a kid, this chorus declared to me that I had a place in the congregation and that the church was for young and old alike. And now, in light of 2020, it is the first verse of this hymn that grabs my heart:
The church is not a building,
the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place,
the church is a people.
2020 has reminded me again and again that Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is so much more than a building. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “church” is ekklésia, which means “the called-out people of God.” As we have lived and served in Christ’s name outside of our building in 2020, we have truly been living into our identity as the church, and we have embodied the core values of our congregation:
SERVE We strive to support our worldwide community in faith and service because Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor.
In 2020, Good Shepherd continued its ministry with the Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, caring for the Matthew House and its residents. Together we afford families a safe and supportive place to call home.
We continued to our ministry as a partner congregation in the Green Bay MobilePack for Feed My Starving Children. Because of the generosity of our community, 1,700 children will receive a daily meal for an entire year.
We served meals and rang bells for the Salvation Army, providing food and resources for people in the Green Bay area. We coordinated the annual Back-to-School event for the Giving Tree which provided school supplies for 450 students in the Howard-Suamico School District, and we gave funds for an additional 528 backpacks to be purchased for next year. We collected personal care items for the Help for the Homeless hygiene drive, and this summer we supported local food pantries with our new Veggie Share ministry.
On “God’s Work, Our Hands” Sunday, we packed soup meal kits for the Giving Tree, created items to support the ministry of Habitat for Humanity, braided jump ropes for Operation Christmas Child, and packed personal care kits for Lutheran World Relief.
SHARE We are called by Jesus to share the Good News so that others may know the transforming power of God’s grace.
In 2020, Good Shepherd expanded its web presence and began sharing worship services online. Sunday worship is now streamed live each week at 8 am, and the Good News of Jesus Christ shared in worship is heard near and far.
On July 5, we began drive-in and outdoor worship, witnessing to all pass by our campus, as we found new ways to share the old, old story.
SUPPORT Together we seek to love and support each other in our joys and sorrows through prayer and service.
In 2020, twelve members of Good Shepherd volunteered to reach out, call, and pray for other members of Good Shepherd. Others sent cards, prepared meals, and found new ways to connect the body of Christ while we are physically apart.
Our Power of Prayer ministry continued to connect us and deepened our prayer life together.
WORSHIP Because God is forgiving and loving, we are called together to worship joyfully.
During Lent our worship centered around the theme of “Wilderness,” and the congregation engaged in devotional readings. During the summer, we hosted a sermon series entitled, “Unraveled: Seeking God Went Our Plans Fall Apart.” And this fall, in conjunction with our annual stewardship appeal, we explored “Our Money Story.”
We celebrated Holy Communion via Zoom on Maundy Thursday and on Pentecost Sunday.
The Ringers Jubilate found new ways to share their musical gifts and to give glory to God, and our music director Andrew Helmann enabled us to broadcast drive-in worship over the radio.
On Christmas Eve, we lifted our voices together for the first time in a long time, as we sang “Silent Night” together in the parking lot during candlelight drive-in worship.
GROW As God’s children, we engage in life-long learning of God’s story so we can grow in faith and be rooted in Jesus.
This summer our Youth Director Drew Swanson hosted weekly “Backyard Bible Study” for the youth of the congregation, and our confirmation students continue to meet weekly via Zoom.
This fall our Christian Education ministry developed “Faith at Home” curriculum for families to share God’s Word and to grow in faith together.
Twelve adults in the congregation participated in the seven-week “Dialogues on Race” study that explored racism in the United States and in faith communities. The Wednesday morning men’s Bible study and the Wednesday afternoon women’s Bible study both continue to meet, both via zoom and in-person.
The church is not a building; the church is a people. I give thanks to God that together we have found new ways to live out our faith in 2020. And in 2021, I pray that we will continue to be the called-out people of God, living out our calling to love and serve the world.