On Saturday, September 28, 2019, standing bathed in the light of a westering sun before the front doors, Bishop Rayford B. High, Jr. said, “Let the doors be opened.” And with that, the celebration of the new space of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Granbury began.
The bishop then marked the threshold with a cross using the end of his crozier and said, “Peace be to this house, and to all who enter here. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
And with a great Amen and to the sound of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace, the people began streaming in, broad smiles and not a few happy tears marking their faces. Among those attending was Bishop Vithalis Yusuph, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Biharamulo, Tanzania, East Africa and the Rev. Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley and Mr. Walt Cabe of the Episcopal Church Building Fund, an organization instrumental in making this day possible.
This day had been a long time coming. And while all worship spaces are important, this one marks a new era in the life of this congregation of faithful Episcopalians and all those who care about them. For the last several years they have been worshiping in shared spaces, and outgrowing them. This space allows them room for growth and space that is theirs to use 24/7.
The building was built and is owned by the Episcopal Trust of Granbury. Good Shepherd rents the space from the trust.
The priest in charge, the Rev. Dr. Suzi Robertson preached, saying, “A very good question to ask, although perhaps a bit late in the game for us, is this: why does the world need women and men of God to build churches? We have spent a good deal of time working towards this night, and I don’t want to imply that we don’t need a new church in Granbury, but why does God need the Episcopal Community Trust of Granbury, Texas, to build a new church.
“I think that the answer is found in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus says, ‘I am the Good Shepherd.’ And just so you’ll know early on, I don’t think that Jesus is just referring to people and churches, here. I think that we all have the responsibility to become good shepherds. And yet, there is that part of us that needs people and churches, to help us understand how to grow in this identity. So we can begin to answer the question of the night by saying that the world needs churches so that we can all learn to live into the image of Christ the Good Shepherd.
“But what in the world does that mean? What in the world do shepherds – good or bad – have to do with anything at all that is happening at the violence in this twenty-first century? Perhaps the Good Shepherd has something to say about that thing which the world needs most just now – forgiveness.”
During the service, the baptismal font, the lectern, the pulpit, and the altar were dedicated. The leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church were honored for their gracious hospitality in sharing their worship space with Good Shepherd since 2011.
The handcrafted furnishings came from the Plymouth Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in 1794 in Plymouth, PA. The church existed until 15 years ago, when it was forced to close and the furnishings put into storage. Now they have come into gleaming new life in service to God in Granbury.
The congregation of Good Shepherd invites all to come see the new space and join them in Sunday worship at 9:30 am.