A couple of years ago, I was talking to a good friend, and the talk got REAL. I was having one of those "blah" kind of weeks, and I said, "I just don't feel like God is with me. God feels really far away." She nodded and then paused, like you do when you aren't sure whether you should say something. Then she said, "I hear you, but you know that's a fallacy. It's just not true. Whether or not you feel it, God IS with you."

Well, you can guess how much I loved that....not one bit! I wanted to have my big feelings and be annoyed that God wasn't being more obvious. And I wanted to find a way to fix it. I wanted to be able to DO something, preferably something quick and easy, to feel more spiritually connected.

But as I sat with her comment over the next few days and weeks, I appreciated the truth she shared. God is with me, however I feel in the moment. God is with me, when it is plain as day, and when it seems impossible. God is there, always.

This Sunday, on Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, who, in the Greek, is described as the one who is called alongside us. That Holy Spirit comes alongside us through our whole lives, when we feel it and when we don't. We will especially give thanks for the Spirit at work in the lives of our 15 confirmands, who will affirm their baptisms that day.

The Holy Spirit comes alongside us, always. But, when it's hard to feel it, we can remind each other. We can be that Spirit-led Body of Christ in the world, coming alongside one another through joys and sorrows and those "blah" weeks in between.

The Good Shepherd community is stunningly good at the ministry of accompaniment. You all care for each other all the time, in so many ways. Stephen ministers, eucharistic ministers, flower deliverers, meal preparers, drivers, prayers, visitors...there are so many ministries of Spirit-led accompaniment in this place. We also look outward, to Raleigh and the wider community, for ways that we can accompany all of our neighbors, not just those we know by name. When we give, serve, advocate, and organize, we are doing Spirit-led work in the world.

So know, today and every day, we want to accompany YOU through all life brings. If we can do so, please let us know. We'd love for you to call the church office to let us know you are in the hospital, or would like communion, or could use a ride to the doctor. If you'd like to know more about Stephen Ministry, let's talk! But please know, we're in this life together, with the Holy Spirit right here with us.

Thanks be to God for the gift of community. Thanks be to God for the Spirit!


Sunday's Readings
Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 

Confirmation Sunday - Fifteen of our youth will be confirming their baptismal faith and taking on the promises and commitments of baptism for themselves. We give thanks to God for those who are committing themselves to life in a community of faith!

Pentecost - We celebrate Pentecost with lots of fire (and fire colors) to honor the idea that the Holy Spirit moves through the world like "wind and flame." Wear fire colors to church, and bring in fire-colored flowers to help decorate the Sanctuary.

Sunday School Classes will meet this Sunday, May 20, and then take a break for the summer.

3rd Annual Kicknic is this Sunday, May 20 at Baileywick Park at 2:00 pm.  Join us to play and/or cheer! Bring a dish to share. **Rain date: June 3 at 2:00 pm. If a change in date is necessary, we will send out a notice by Saturday.**

Support your Kicknic Team & Mnene Orphans; Buy Your Hats This Sunday -  Two different colors of hats are on sale for $15 in the Narthex. As in years past, we will unveil the teams' colors at the Kicknic. 

Penny Wars continue through May 27! Bring your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, bills and checks to the Narthex to support the orphans of Mnene Parish.

Mail for Mnene Collection  Through May 27, drop off your letters of love and support for the orphans of Mnene Parish in the Narthex.  

While it may be hard to believe, our summer sermon series starts in a month. Check out this year's topics and resources.

Coffeehouse - Friday, May 18, 7:00-8:30 pm   Youth and adults are encouraged to sign up here to serve at this evening of food, fun, and music for adults of all abilities!

Last Day to Register for Vacation Bible School is This Sunday!  All are invited to join In The Beginning, a cross-generational weekend celebration (July 20-22) of our relationship with creation and one another. Learn more and register or contact Andrew Buck.

Worship on Wednesdays (WOW) - Wednesday, May 23, 5:15-6:00 pm, Fellowship Hall Pizza at 5:15 pm followed by a family-friendly worship at 5:30-6:00 pm.

Summer Worship Schedule Begins May 27 - Worship at 8:15 am, 9:45 am and 5:30 pm.

Good Shepherd celebrates 15 years of ministry with Family Promise this year! And, to celebrate, we are inviting you to become one of 15 new volunteers to serve June 17-24 when we will be hosting families at our church. Opportunities are available for groups and families to serve, or you can sign up by yourself. Learn more and sign up to serve , password: homeless.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements .

Health and Healing  for Naomi Nagy, Barb Newcomer's aunt; and Frannie Crum, friend of Barb Newcomer's family .

Thanksgiving for the graduates and confirmands; and for Carl and Barbara Kjellberg's golden wedding anniversary.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including Wiseman Moyo and Nyaradzai Dube.

Wiseman is 20 years old and was taking Form 5 classes at Masase Boarding School.  No word yet on the results of his test results for that level.  He enjoys singing in the church choir.  He is 1 of 5 siblings in the GSLC support program.  His Mail For Mnene partners are the Whittecar group and a GSLC Christcare group.
Nyaradzai is 17 and taking Form 3 classes at Mnene Boarding School.  She especially enjoys her math and science courses.  She manages her physical disabilities with crutches and a wheel chair, provided through GSLC support.  Her Mail For Mnene partner is Abigail Beebe.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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