Worship & Devotions

After 15 months of physical separation, we’re grateful declining COVID cases and increasing rates of vaccination allow us to begin worshiping together in our building again! As we move into this time, we’ll continue streaming worship for those who prefer to join online and take continued precautions for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of all who gather in-person. We’re building a #biggerTable and all are welcome – newcomers, members and friends.


Go to: In-person protocols || Details on Altar Live, our new online worship experience || Simple prep for online, home worship

In-Person  Worship Protocols

The COVID-19 Task Force proposed and Council approved the following guidelines for resumption of in-person worship.


We ask anyone who does not feel well to stay home.


When You Arrive

  • To love our neighbors who haven't yet been vaccinated, we ask everyone to wear a mask. Parents/guardians, please direct your children to wear masks as appropriate.
  • Everyone will enter through the Luray Avenue door, unless needing the accessible entrance.
  • We’ll keep a list of those in attendance, in the unlikely event that contact tracing is needed.
  • We’ll have a section of pews reserved for those that wish to attend worship but maintain physical distance from those not in their family/pod.

During Worship

  • Those speaking in front of the congregation will remove masks while they are speaking. They will be at least 12 feet from the congregation. All those speaking will be vaccinated.
  • With masks on, all may sing to their heart’s content.
  • The sharing of the peace will be done verbally and as a whole community. Please do not move around to share the peace.
  • The offering plate will be stationary and all are invited to place an offering there. Offering plates won’t be passed from pew to pew.
  • The elements of holy communion (wafer and grape juice) will be distributed by Pastor Wendy through all-in-one cups. Come forward to receive your cup then return to your seat and consume the elements there.

Once Worship Concludes

  • Following the postlude, use the side aisles to leave through the Luray Avenue door for those in the pews closest to Luray and the Braddock Road door for those in the pews closest to Braddock.
  • Wait until leaving the sanctuary to talk; once outside, you may visit as long as you like!

New,  Interactive Online Worship: Altar Live

Toward continuous improvement of our virtual worship experience, we’re launching a new streaming service called Altar Live.

  • Just like a physical church building, Altar Live has a lobby that will open 30 minutes before worship.
  • Folks can meet in the lobby and chat at tables of four, connecting face-to-face via video chat.
  • From the lobby, each person can pick their spot in the virtual sanctuary, just like at church.

How do I access Altar Live?

Simple Preparations for Online, Home Worship

You may want to light a candle for worship.


We’ll celebrate Holy Communion even while we’re apart.

  • For most people having the physical elements of communion available will mean a piece of bread or cracker and a cup of wine, grape juice or water. Gluten-free bread or crackers are also welcome.
  • You don't need anything fancy to celebrate. Please, this isn't the time to joke on social media about your choice of wine or bread (a concern raised by our bishop).
  • Jesus used the most common and basic foods to bless so that Holy Communion would be accessible to all.

During online worship, Pastor Wendy will speak the comforting words, “In the night in which He was betrayed…”

  • The bread and wine you have at home will be tangible signs of God's promise to be present in, with and under the elements of Holy Communion.
  • We receive this meal and the forgiveness, grace and love it brings as an act of faith.
  • We trust that God will be where God has promised to meet us, transcending physical boundaries during the pandemic.

Pastor Jen talks about Holy Communion preparation (video) | A letter from Pastor Jen: Background considerations and discernment

GSLC communion bread recipe | Making GSLC communion bread (video)

Morning Prayer: What It Means to Us

We are grateful to Pastor Jen for having started a fixed time for group daily prayer at the start of the pandemic and for continuing it until her departure and we are so very privileged to have continued this practice during this transition period.


Words cannot adequately describe how uplifting it is to start each morning [except Sundays] in the company of this band of “Prayer Warriors.” It is a blessing to be able to pray for, on behalf of, and with individual family members and friends, as well as for members of our congregation and the church community as a whole. It is also empowering to have the opportunity to lift our collective voice along with that of fellow believers across the country, and around the globe, in support of the marginalized, the outcast, the poor, and on specially designated days of recognition.


Everyone is welcome to join this daily ministry whenever they can. Feel free to email prayer requests. We look forward to continuing to serve Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in this ministry as long as there continues to be a need.

In Gratitude,

Brenda Froberg and Lisa Howard

A Community Within This Powerful, Welcoming Group

Nate and I moved to Alexandria about a year ago from MacDill AFB in Florida. We are a military family and have moved quite often. However, this move was unique in that it was at the onset of the pandemic. The stress of moving to a new place with no friends or family was difficult. I was looking for churches in the area and was excited to find Good Shepherd Lutheran Church with the offering of a daily prayer group.


I started attending the prayer group via Zoom and immediately felt uplifted and encouraged. I feel a strong sense of community within this powerful, welcoming group. The daily routine of the group: reading scripture, fellowship, and lifting our fellow beings up in prayer is now foundational to my daily life. It has led to my growth and evolution of connection and faith.


I am sincerely grateful for the group and know miracles have happened as a result of these daily prayers.

Thanks so much for what you do!

Lisa "Kitty" B

Worship

June 20 - August 29 schedule

Sundays 10 AM


What will I experience in worship at Good Shepherd?

  • A community of people who are passionate about growing in faith and reaching into the community around us with the love of God embodied by Jesus.
  • Worship that is joyful, inspiring and relevant to your life today.

Is there any difference among the worship services?

  • Summer 2021 worship

    From June 20 through August 29, we have one 10 AM worship service each Sunday. These tend to be a blend between the traditional and casual. There’s always a communion meal and children’s message. We often have special music in the summertime.

  • The 8:30 AM and 11 AM services (Sept. - June)

    ...tend to follow a more traditional liturgy that varies by church season (we change it up every six to eight weeks or so) and often includes the ancient form of chanting. The adult choir usually sings at the 11 AM service.

  • The 9:45 AM service  (Sept. - June)

    ...is more casual in nature. Children begin in worship with their families and hear an opening prayer, gospel reading and children’s message before going to Sunday School. Some children choose to stay in worship rather than attend Sunday School and that’s okay too. This service usually uses the piano for accompaniment rather than organ.


    On the fourth Sunday of the month, there’s no Sunday School and children remain with their families in worship. They also take worship leadership roles by reading Bible texts, helping to serve communion, collecting offering, etc.

  • All worship services

    ...follow a pattern of worship that includes singing, prayer, Bible readings, a sermon, communion meal, receiving offering and a children’s message. Occasionally, members of the congregation or others share a faith story as part of our worship. Services are about an hour long.

Children in Worship

At Good Shepherd we believe that worship is for all God’s children. Infants to children of every age are welcome to fully participate in worship, and parents with young ones can feel comfortable knowing that the sounds of children are part of our joyful praise.


Nevertheless, some parents prefer that their younger children be cared for in a nursery setting during worship. We have a staffed nursery during the 9:45 AM service (10 AM in July and August).


Go to additional details

What is Communion?

Every week when we gather, we participate in Holy Communion, sometimes called Holy Eucharist. As we share in bread and wine, we believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament and among us.


We welcome all baptized persons to join us for communion as they are comfortable doing so.

Baptism

What do I do if I would like to be baptized or have my child baptized?


That’s easy – talk to Pastor Jen! She typically meets at home with those desiring baptism for conversation about what baptism is (and isn’t!)


Baptisms are public acts done in the midst of a worship service so the one who is baptized experiences the love and prayers of the faith community they’re entering into.


We schedule baptisms throughout the year at any of the worship services on a mutually-convenient Sunday.