March 8th

Day 20

4th Thursday of Lent

Why do you stay and continue to participate in good Shepherd?

The year was 1965 and the day was Christmas Eve. My oldest son Mark, who then was two years old, and I came to the evening worship service held at the Community House on East Main Street,  I have been coming to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church ever since. I consider myself a long time member, but not an old member.   There is no reason why I should not continue to stay with our Church unless I would move far away.   For over 40 years I’ve lived within walking distance of GSLC and I have walked there a few times on early cold and stormy Sunday mornings before they plowed the street or my driveway.  About two years ago, after my husband passed away, I sold our house and moved into a condominium in the center of Westborough. Again, walking to the Church is a possibility.  It is important for me to stay in Westborough, and Good Shepherd certainly is one of the deciding reasons.

My youngest son Kirk was baptized by Pastor Polansky in 1967 in the Episcopal Church, (we shared that church for a short period of time prior to our church being built) and Arthur Matson was the Deacon (today it might be the Worship Assistant).  Another important reason for participating at Good Shepherd is that I have made good friends in Arthur and Nancy Matson ever since. They were both present when my husband was baptized by Pastor Jeff in May of 2013.

After Pastor Polansky, Pastor Bean was called and that happened very quickly, it took a phone call from one of the members and the rest is history.  Pastor Bean came in 1970 and I worked twice a week in the office while my youngest son was in nursery school and the following year I worked three days in the office as my son then was going to Kindergarten.  We did not have the fancy technology we do today and we typed the Sunday Bulletins on mimeograph papers.  Pastor Bean was with us for 35 years and he was not only loved by our congregation, but also by the community.   One of the many strengths he had, that he was a very good listener.  He confirmed my three sons.

We remember the third commandment: “Remember the Sabbath Day, and Keep it Holy”. This was my Lenten Devotion for 2017.  It is important to practice our Faith regularly, and our Worship at Good Shepherd reinforces this and I would not want to be without it. 

We have many good role models in our Church, and I would like mention Joan Olson especially. For me, she is “Mother Theresa” for Good Shepherd.  She faithfully visits sick people and helps others in addition to being a Worship Assistant, member of the Altar Guild, leader of the Prayer Circle, and also has two bible studies per week. She together with Diana Barton organizes the OWL’s luncheon. 

I can name many long-time good friends, Gretchen M., Greta M., Ellen C., the Black’s, the Golden’s, and Arlene Calder, who passed away in June of last year, and others over the last 50 plus years. 

I cannot think of any reason why I should find another church.  The church is my family and that is what it feels like especially in the 7:45 a.m. Worship Service.  It is at this service that we have a true Christian Servant in Ellen Cloutier who helps Elaine and Bill Rissmiller to come into the sanctuary. During the service, she sits next to Elaine to support her in every way she can.

I love Christmas Eve in our church, it is a beautiful service with wonderful music thanks to our organist, Bess.  It seems that I am not the only one that loves Christmas at Good Shepherd. The attendance is very high at each of the 4 services.  The sanctuary is beautifully decorated, we are listening to the Christmas Story and without that, it is just not Christmas.  Again at Easter, it is similar to our three different services, very meaningful, especially if one attended the Tenebrae Service on the evening of Good Friday. 

As noted earlier, I have been a member for many years and naturally, there are many reasons why I continue to come to Good Shepherd.   Our current Pastor Jeff Goodrich has similar qualities as Pastor Bean, during communion he remembers our names and that is special. I know that most of us really like our “Transitional Pastor” John Nieman.  His Wednesday evening classes are wonderful and so are his sermons, we learn a lot.  This was also true of Pastor Baines.



Now that I am a “Senior” it is important to stay active and chairing the Altar Guild is one of the tasks I enjoy with 9 other dedicated ladies.  Monday mornings I come to the office to see if Caryn, our hardworking Parish Secretary, needs help. This includes updating our Church Records, i.e. Baptisms, Funerals, etc.  I am also knitting blankets and shawls for the Prayer Shawl group headed by Greta Magenis.  Lastly, I attend the worship service that is held monthly at The Beaumont Nursing Home in support of our Pastor and Organist.  Ellie Bigwood always remarks that it is so nice to give the patients a little bit of joy.

In September of last year I helped Ned and Celeste Rich and others in building the Float for the 300th year anniversary of Westborough, but for Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, we were celebrating the 500th Year Anniversary of the Reformation.  We had a lot of fun walking as sheep in the parade, but Jochen Salfeld as Dr. Martin Luther really was outstanding. He stopped ever so often to explain who he was representing, that he had come back after 500 years to celebrate the Anniversary.

I cannot finish my article without mentioning our Education Director Emeritus, Suzanne Gilliam. She was and is loved by the Sunday School children and their parents as well. I appreciated her sense of humor and the stories she told me about her travel on the Autobahn in Germany.

In closing, I would like to thank the Call Committee for their dedicated work in finding a New Co-Pastor.  May Our Lord bless them as we look forward to the future. I thank the Lord that Good Shepherd was founded in the year 1959, the same year I came to the United States of America.

Heavenly Father, my life as a disciple in Christ has been full because of you and your church through Good Shepherd. Bless those whose lives have been and will be touched as mine has been. Amen.

Christiane Merrow

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