While it seems we are passed the worst of it, during the last few weeks we've been deep in the heart of winter. When my family moved to North Carolina last summer, we had no idea to expect multiple weeks of below-freezing temperatures with ice and snow to boot. It's been a crazy month, weather-wise.
In his book,  Let Your Life Speak, Quaker teacher and activist, Parker Palmer, reflects on the gifts and challenges of winter. He reminds us that while winter is difficult, it also brings quiet renewal, brilliant clarity, and remarkable beauty. He writes, "I am not sure that any sight or sound on earth is as exquisite as the hushed descent of a sky full of snow."
And yet, winter tests our limits. Parker writes, "In the Upper Midwest, newcomers often receive a classic piece of wintertime advice: 'The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.' Here people spend good money on warm clothing so that they can get outdoors and avoid the 'cabin fever' that comes from huddling fearfully by the fire during the hard-frozen months. If you live here long, you learn that a daily walk into the winter world will fortify the spirit by taking you boldly to the very heart of the season you fear."
He continues, "Our inward winters take many forms - failure, betrayal, depression, death. But every one of them, in my experience, yields to the same advice: 'The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.'"
In so many ways, winter is a season of loss. And this week, our church community is losing our dear musician, Clifford Badgley, as he answers God's call to serve at Christ Church in New Bern. We wish him well and celebrate this new venture with which the Holy Spirit has surprised him. We are also so very sad to see him go.
So, let's mark this moment together. Come on Sunday after the 10:45 worship service and join us for Clifford's farewell reception. Let's send him off in style with countless good wishes and prayers.
And as we move into the future, let's take Parker Palmer's advice. While this change is hard, let's "get out into it." Let's lean into life together during this transition. Let's keep singing joyfully, playing music boldly, and praising God together, even though what God has in store for Good Shepherd isn't clear yet. Let's trust the good work of the search teams that are forming to seek an interim musician and a permanent one. And let's pray for the Holy Spirit to show us grace we didn't even know to hope for.
God is Lord of all seasons, friends. So let's get ready to be surprised by those winter gifts of renewal, clarity, and beauty. And let's trust that spring is on the way.
Peace be with you,
Pr. Marsha

Sunday's Readings
1 Samuel 3:1-10
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

Interested in getting to know more about Good Shepherd?  Join us for Way of the Shepherd, an all-church study where we gather for conversation and a time to get to know each other, this Sunday at 9:30 am in Fellowship Hall.

Help Us Say Farewell to Clifford Badgley  Join us in Fellowship Hall this Sunday immediately following the 10:45 worship service to say a few kind words, share some food, and send Clifford off with our blessing and best wishes.

Commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. & Service of Holy Communion this Sunday at 3:00 pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Raleigh There is no better way to honor Dr. King's faithfulness than by gathering together in worship: hearing the Word and sharing the Lord's Supper as One Body in Christ.

Preschool Registration Is Now Open  Find out more about our preschool and registration at  gslchurch.org/preschool .

Rams Mens' Ministry Dinner and Discussion: Christian Financial Planning -  Tuesday, January 16, 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall  If you've ever wondered how to integrate your faith into your money decisions, this is for you. A $7 donation for catered meal is suggested. Contact  rams@gslchurch.org with questions or to  RSVP.

Preschool Open House and Art Show -  Thursday, January 18, 6:00-8:00 pm  Interested in learning more about Good Shepherd Lutheran Preschool? Join us for our annual open house!

Guest Experience/Welcome Team Training - Sunday, January 21 at 12:00 pm - If you are interested in being one of the first friendly, knowledgeable people that a guest encounters on a Sunday morning, come join us to get all the information you will need to feel comfortable in this position. Please  let us know here if you will attend. Lunch will be served.

Blessing Bags Assembly - Saturday, January 27 at 12:00 pm in Fellowship Hall  Join us for fun and fellowship as we assemble Blessing Bags with the donations from our congregation to help those we see in our community that are in need.  Learn more and RSVP.    

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

The January edition of The Shepherd's Voice is available  online.

Health and Healing for Carlton Pernell, father of Courtney Pernell; and Lisa Huff and John Bass, friends of Taryn Peachey.
Thanksgiving for the guests and team leaders attending Teens Encounter Christ ( TEC) this weekend; for Clifford Badgley's six years of music and leadership at  GSLC; and for all those remembering their January baptism this month.
For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Belinda Mavigire and Patrick Ndlovu.
Belinda, 21, is a tall, striking young woman, with bright eyes that mirror her ever-present smile. She spent time with our 2017 mission team. She is currently taking "supplemental" courses to complete high school requirements. Once she completes these classes, Mnene staff will discuss post-secondary education plans with her. She is staying at boarding school while she completes her classes. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Bob and Robin Kirk.
Patrick, 22, is no longer active in the  GSLC support program. He struggled with staying in school. During our 2015, visit he asked to take a course to become a "driver" but never arrived to take the test. It is believed that he succumbed to the lure of the gold panning craze which has caused a "wild west" atmosphere in a district outside of Mnene. We continue to hold him in our prayers.

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