Visitors and FAQs

Welcome to the Church of the Good Shepherd. We are an energetic and enthusiastic congregation of believers, who welcomes you to join us in our worship, our study and fellowship, and outreach to the city, state, country, and the world. We invite you to learn more about us by exploring this site, and by visiting us in person. Our prayer is that in joining us, you will grow in your faith in God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, while experiencing God’s Spirit through authentic fellowship.

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, which may answer some questions you have about visiting The Church of the Good Shepherd, what to expect, where to go and when. However, if we have not adequately answered your concerns with the subjects below, please feel free to call the Church Office at 361-882-1735.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect at my first visit?
When you arrive for worship you will be warmly welcomed by a greeter. Ushers will give you a bulletin and help you find a place to sit if you need it. In the Narthex (the entry to the church) there is a rack with resources that you might find helpful. Please be sure to take one of our “visitor’s bags” with you.  You also might want to stop by the Parlor for coffee and fellowship following our 10:30 a.m. Sunday service.

What does the Church of the Good Shepherd Believe?
View Our Church Vision & Values

Do I need to become a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd to participate in worship and other activities?
You do not need to be a member to worship at The Church of the Good Shepherd or to participate in other programs and activities. However, we encourage you to consider becoming a member and continue your life of faith and discipleship within the context of this community of faith.

What are the worship services like? How do they differ?
There are several types of worship services at the Church of the Good Shepherd.
View Our Service Times and Description

Does the Church of the Good Shepherd have a dress code?
We have no dress code. Weekday and Sunday evening services tend to be less formal than those on Sunday mornings.  However, from South Texas casual to coat and tie, you will find people dressed in all kinds of clothing every time you come to the Church of the Good Shepherd.

How do I get to the Church of the Good Shepherd?
View directions to the church

Where do I park?
We share our three-block campus with St. James Episcopal School and have ample parking throughout the campus.
View Campus Map

Is the Church handicap accessible?
Yes. There is handicap access right in front of the Church as well as from the parking lot on S. Carancahua Street, and the curb on Park Avenue. The entire facility is handicap accessible with ramps and elevators.

What is available for my infant/young child on Sunday?
Infants through 2-year-olds are welcome in the Nursery on Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Reservations are not required.  Children ages 3 through 6th grade are invited to Sunday School at 9:30 a.m.  The Children’s Chapel is open to children from 3 years of age to 2nd grade during the school year.  They will join their parents in the sanctuary before Holy Communion.

How will I know what to do in the service?
In the Episcopal Church, our worship is shaped by the liturgy of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP). There are BCPs (red) in every pew, along with The Hymnal 1982 (blue) which contains many of our hymns. The Worship Bulletin, which you will receive as you enter the church, directs you to page numbers in both the BCP and in the Hymnal.

Am I required to give money at worship?
There is no monetary requirement to worship at the Church of the Good Shepherd.  Most people find, however, that as they move into a deeper relationship with God and become more involved in ministry and community, giving becomes a natural part of their Christian lives.

Can I take communion? How does it work?
All baptized Christians of any denomination or tradition are welcome to receive Holy Communion at the Church of the Good Shepherd. We have an open table and all are welcome. When your pew is released by the usher, walk forward toward the altar. Proceed to the next available spot at the altar rail where you may kneel or stand to receive. To receive the bread, place one hand over the other, palms up, so that the priest may put a wafer on your palm. If you are going to drink from the chalice, you may consume the wafer immediately. When the chalice comes to you, you can help the chalice bearer guide it to your mouth by placing your hand on the bottom of the chalice and tilting it or by gently taking it in your hands and guiding it. If you choose to intinct (dip) the wafer in the wine, you will hold the wafer until the chalice comes to you. After receiving the sacraments, you may return to your seat through the side door and down the side aisle.

What else happens on Sunday?
On Sundays, there is coffee set up in the courtyard throughout the morning.  From 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. we gather for fellowship in Munds Hall Auditorium where our Breakfast Ministry team prepares and serves a hot breakfast. There is no charge for breakfast, but donations are gladly accepted. After breakfast, the Christian Formation (Sunday School) hour begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the 10:30 service. After the 10:30 service, parishioners typically gather in fellowship in the courtyard and in the parlor where we have coffee and cookies. We also offer an Evening Eucharist at 5:30 p.m.
View our Sunday Schedule

Are the clergy considered ministers or priests? How should I address them? Reverend? Father? Mr. or Mrs.?
There are three orders of clergy in The Episcopal Church: deacons, priests, and bishops. The Catechism in The Book of Common Prayer (p.845) tells us that the ministers of the church are the Laity or the non-ordained parishioners. At the Church of the Good Shepherd, many parishioners use “Father” to address the clergy, such as “Father Milton” and “Father Philip”. The best way to know how to address priests and deacons is to ask them how they like to be addressed. Chances are it will be their first name!

Can I meet with a priest?
Of course! The clergy at the Church of the Good Shepherd is privileged to meet with you. Click on Clergy, to go directly to their page, where you can email them. Alternatively, you may call them at the church office at 361-882-1735.