Our highlighted ministry for the second quarter of 2019 is Grovetown Episcopal Lutheran Mission Grovetown, GA. The GELM is a joint ministry supported by the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches. In November 2017, the Reverend Thomas Barron from the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia was named Pastor-Developer of the new mission. This developing congregation held a series of fellowship meals on Thursday evenings to discuss the mission and vision for the church.
In October the group expanded their ministry to include programs for children and youth. During the last week of Advent 2018, Father Barron baptized six parishioners and the community celebrated their first Holy Eucharistic service. Over the next few months, the group reworked their mission statement and core values to reflect the “new feel” of their Thursday night gatherings.
In January, Father Thomas and a group of lay leaders enrolled in CDI (Church Development Institute). They began a two-year process to identify needs within the community. They are now in the process of developing a Strategic Ministry Plan that will target the needs of families living and working together – especially on the Fort Gordon Army Cyber Command Unit. This military installation has already added thousands of new jobs which should result in a projected 51% population spike in Grovetown over the next three years.
At the present time, GELM averages around 30-40 people on Thursday Evening. They are working hard to double their attendance by Advent 2019 at which time they hope to add a Sunday Morning Worship Service.
When asked about the mission, Father Thomas said this…
Our mission is simple, love God and love people. We are a community committed to rediscovering the lost narrative of God's redeeming grace through ancient liturgical practices. We believe that our best selves are lived within the mystery and beauty of the Holy Trinity and that our best lives are expressed in community through acts of loving service toward all people.