area shepherd letter

December 15, 2022

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night…” We all grew up hearing those words read at Christmastime, but a shepherd’s work goes on year-round. Sheep always need love and care. It’s about a shepherd’s work that we are writing to you.

As most of you know, last year, we resurrected the Parish Visitor Committee. This committee, formed just before COVID hit, is there to help keep our entire congregation connected with their church family, particularly when they need an extra helping of God’s love. At one meeting of the committee, Win and Evelyn Devonshire shared with us a practice that they had used at Holy Trinity Lutheran in Hershey. This program is called the Area Shepherd Ministry. The congregation is divided into groups based upon where each family lives, and each area is assigned a shepherd. This person checks in with the folks living in their area from time to time, helps anyone in need connect with the pastor or the church staff, and makes sure that everybody knows how much their church family cares for them. We liked this idea so much that, with the support of the church council, we’ve decided to try it out at Palm. That’s where we need your help.

We have mapped out where the households in our congregation are, and divided them into eight “areas.” Each area will need at least one volunteer to serve as a shepherd, and some are large enough that it would be nice to have multiple shepherds. This would be a great task for couples, as well as individuals. Each shepherd would be asked to simply check in with their area members once or twice a year, let the church know of any needs, and, also, to hold their folks in prayer.

On January 8th, the Parish Visitor Committee will host the fellowship time after church, and we will hold a Q and A session for anyone interested in this ministry. Feel free to come with any questions! You may also get a call from one of us, asking if you would have any interest in serving as an area shepherd. On January 15th, after worship, we’ll have a meal in the MPR for the shepherd candidates to welcome them aboard and orient them to their duties. We hope to launch this ministry on February 1, 2023.

Please prayerfully consider this invitation. We have a large church family scattered over a wide geographical area, and we want to make sure that everyone in our congregation knows how much God loves them, and how much we love them. Together, let’s remember what the angel told the shepherds: “Do not be afraid!” Then, together, let’s go out and share with our whole parish good tidings of great joy!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Craig Housel and Pr. Carl Rabbe for the Parish Visitor Committee