ALPHA is a 10-week course designed for those seeking something missing in their lives, or they simply want to build the foundation of their faith.  The course is about the basics of the Christian faith and Jesus Christ.  It is a great place to ask those questions you’ve always wondered about, but were not sure who to ask, or were afraid to ask.  Topics covered include:  Who is Jesus? Why and How do I Pray?  Why and How Do I Read the Bible?  Does God Heal Today?

 ALTAR GUILD is comprised of dedicated persons who take care of the Altar and Sanctuary of the Church. There are four teams which rotate on a regular basis. The guild prepares the altar for three weekend services, the Wednesday morning Healing service, special services during the liturgical year, which includes funerals and weddings.

 OUR MUSIC MINISTRY seeks to minister to our diverse congregation.  The choir sings at the 10:30 a.m. service, which is a traditional style of worship, along with other special services as requested by the Rector. The Saturday liturgy draws more from praise style musical resources.  Whether traditional or contemporary, everyone is invited to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

ORDER OF ST. LUKE (OSL)  The  International Order of St. Luke the Physician is made up of clergy, health professionals, and lay people throughout the world who feel called to make Jesus’ Ministry of Healing a regular part of their vocation.

The Order maintains a prayer list which we pray daily, participate in the weekly Wednesday morning Healing Eucharist, and meet once a month to share with and support one another in our ministry.  Each member also observes a Daily Rule of the Order which includes prayer, study, and service.

To request prayer for yourself or someone else, either fill out a Prayer Request Form in the narthex, leave a message at the church office, or call or e-mail an OSL member, especially when the need is urgent.

CHRISTIAN FORMATION  Christian Education for Adults is offered from September through May at 9:15am with Sunday School and Nursery at 10:30am Sundays. Weekly Bible studies for adults is on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. and on Wednesdays following the Healing Service. ECW quiet days, retreats, ALPHA .and Cursillo, are also offered. Cursillo comes from the Spanish and means “a short course in Christian living.”  The purpose of the Cursillo movement is to bring Christians to a deeper relationship with God and to help them understand their calling to be Christian leaders.  Cursillo is a three-day weekend conducted by a team of lay persons and clergy who give talks, lead discussion groups, and songs.  Prayer and Praise play a vital role as well as fellowship.  Many meet regularly to support and encourage one another in their spiritual growth and apostolic endeavors.  Anyone interested to know more about Cursillo can pick up a pamphlet from the rack in the narthex or speak to one of the clergy.

EPISCOPAL CHURCH WOMEN (ECW) assists and enables the women of  the Church to carry out their mission and ministry; encourages proactive advocacy for educational initiative, and provides for women to come together at the Triennial Meeting for worship, study, and action.  All women at Shepherd of the Hills are members.  Our local ECW offers spiritual growth and nourishment, fellowship, education, and leadership training.  It is noteworthy that the men of the Parish are very supportive of the ECW.

OFFICE VOLUNTEERS  are always welcome a nd are involved in several aspects of administrative support, from folding mail and communications to helping with financial duties. Ask at the Office, Monday –Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

FATHER CHRISTMAS BALL is a semi-formal dinner dance presented to Citrus Country by Shepherd of the Hills and co-sponsored by the Citrus County Chronicle.  The ball is held on the first Friday in December and has become a major social event in Citrus County.  Each year the Father Christmas Ball Committee chooses a special person in the community, whose identity is revealed at the Ball, to be Father Christmas. Pproceeds go towards Serving 0ur Savior Ministry.

FLOWERS can be donated on a given Sunday as a memorial to a loved one or in thanksgiving for a birthday, a birth, or anniversary.  A flower sign up sheet is located in the Parish Hall of the church.  More than one person can sign up for a Sunday.  Envelopes marked “Flowers” are in the Parish Hall for your contribution, which can be placed in the offering plate or taken to the church office.  During the Lenten season there are no flowers. At Christmas and Easter special flowers adorn the sanctuary.

THE FRIENDS IN SERVICE: GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION ministry serves the needs of God’s people through mission.  An example of local mission work is laying sod for Habitat for Humanity houses.  In 2012 and 2013, the team went on domestic mission trips to Minot, N.D. for flood recovery work.  A team is going to Nanticoke, Pa. in July 2014 for the rebuilding of a deconsecrated church, turning it into a Community Flood Shelter and food kitchen.

GREETERS AND USHERS welcome persons at the back of the church for worship.  Worshippers are greeted with a warm smile, a handshake, and given the worship bulletin.  In addition, our greeters/ushers take up the offering, assist persons at communion, and straighten the sanctuary following services.  At Shepherd of the Hills we like to think of all our members as ex officio Greeters!

HEALTH AND WELLNESS MINISTRY Commissioned in April 2001, this ministry is led by the Parish Nurse under the direction of the Parish Health and Wellness Commission. Services offered include:  Health screening blood pressure screening, monthly articles, seminars on pertinent subjects  as requested, assistance with referrals – helping parishioners identify and obtain the services, listening and health counseling for individuals, training volunteers – preparing and coordinating groups of parishioners who provide auxiliary services, home and hospital visits,  determining needs and facilitating planning, a limited lending closet of home health needs  for short-term loan. Volunteers needed.

HOSPITALITY Our focus is to welcome visitors at each service and to integrate newcomers into church life.  Either a member of the Hospitality Ministry or a Greeter welcomes our visitors, asks them to sign the Guest Book, invites them to coffee hour, and introduces them to other church members.  Many times individual parishioners will take the initiative to fill this role if there is no one available to do it when a guest arrives. Visitors’ names are then passed on to team members to deliver bread to our first time visitors.  Art Swanson faithfully bakes the bread for team members to deliver.  This act of hospitality is to show our appreciation to first-time visitors for their visit and to encourage them to return and become a part of our church family. As a part of integrating newcomers into our church life, The Hospitality Ministry sponsors the Annual Ministry Fair to showcase all the ministries at SOTH to our new and old members alike.  We also sponsor the New Member Get-Togethers with a pre-dinner social in the Narthex or the Sr. Warden’s home with various ministry leaders twice a year.

The Foyer Group Ministry started in September 2012 is an outgrowth of the Hospitality Ministry as a fun and easy way for parishioners to gather together in small close-knit groups where they enjoy the company of church members of long standing and meet new members.

 

Let mutual love continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.                           

                                                                                                Hebrews 13:1-2

DAUGHTERS OF THE KING The Esther Chapter of the Daughters of the King was established in 2011. The Daughters are an Order for Women grounded in Prayer and service within the Church and is ordered by a rule of life. Anyone interested can talk with the clergy or look for the distinctive cross worn by all members.

LIGHT SHINE The Florida Humanities Council has designated SOTH a “Partner” in its Florida humanities programs and awarded SOTH a $9,000 grant for three years at $3,000 per year.  We also have the Citrus County Chronicle as a co-sponsor that helps with publicity for the Light Shine Events.  Light Shine puts on “free” events for the community at least four times per year and also coordinates other events of local and congregational interest, such as a its annual Christmas program.

 LITURGICAL MINISTERS are persons who either read the Lessons and Prayers of the People and or serve as Acolytes, Lay Eucharistic Ministers and/or Lay Eucharistic Visitors.   LEM’s are persons licensed to administer the chalice and bread at the Eucharist.  LEV’s are persons licensed to visit persons who cannot attend the Sunday Eucharist, bringing them the sacrament.

MEMORIAL FUND was established during the annual meeting of January 2002.  A Board of Trustees was elected whose duty is to administer the gifts and donations to the Fund in accordance with the By-Laws and to acknowledge these donations to the donor and enter their names in the Book of Remembrance or the Book of Thanksgiving.  There are two types of gifts:  1) A gift of Memory of a Loved One.  2) A gift of Thanksgiving.  These gifts are usually monetary, including stocks, bonds, etc., but can also be a physical gift.  Physical gifts may be for direct use by the church or church staff, e.g. vestments, computer, garden tool, etc.  The acceptance of physical gifts is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.  Any gift may be designated by the donor as “restricted.”  This means that the gift has to be used for a particular purpose, e.g. the purchase of prayer books.  Envelopes for gifts can be found on the table in the back of the church.  Completed cards may be placed in the offering plate, given to the church office, or handed to a trustee.

PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY is a ministry of love to those having any kind of difficulty in their lives that a warm covering may help. The Shawls are blessed at the Altar and then distributed to those who need comfort, warming, a hug or just the knowledge that they are loved and cared for by God and their Church family. Shawls are also available at the back of the Church for anyone in need of some warmth during the service. Please return them after use.

The mission of the ST. FRANCIS FESTIVAL: BLESSING ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL is to celebrate God’s creatures through education, fun, and love while supporting ministries to serve the community.  The festival is held the first Saturday of October and includes such activities as adoption opportunities, animal related booths, kids games, and a blessing of the animals.

SERVING OUR SAVIOR (SOS) is an ecumenical ministry offering food weekly to those in need. The program was founded at Shepherd of the Hills and is now joined by eight churches —  Shepherd of the Hills, Good Shepherd Lutheran, Unity of Citrus County, House of Power, House of Peace, First Church of God, Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church FLCA, Joy and Praise Fellowship A/G. The ministry is now housed at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lecanto and is open 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday mornings. In March 2014, S O S served 421 families with a total membership in the families of 1,100. There were 246 children, 669 adults and 185 seniors. We distributed 22,880 pounds of food or 20.8 per person.

S O S also provided funds through donations to send 27 people to go to a dental clinic.

RESTAURANT NIGHT Most months a night out at a local restaurant (dutch treat) where good food and fellowship are offered and enjoyed.

NURSERY a nursery is available for children 4 years of age or younger on Sunday mornings at 10:30am.

SHEPHERD STAFF is part of the parish’s communication system. A monthly newsletter, it also provides an outlet for the arts and information on ministries. Contributions are sought from members of the congregation and its ministries but all submissions are accepted as to space and appropriateness.

THE VESTRY, according to the Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church (and except as provided by the law of the State or of the Diocese), is an elected body and shall be agents and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the Parish to its Clergy.  Furthermore, the Vestry serves to empower and support the various ministries of the Parish or Mission  The Vestry is comprised of the Senior and Junior Wardens and seven members,  plus a Clerk of the Vestry who has seat and voice but no vote and the Treasurer who has seat and voice but no vote. The Rector presides at Vestry meetings, and if there is none, the Senior Warden acts as the presiding officer.  Vestry members are elected each year at the Annual Meeting for a rotating three-year term.