Frequently Asked Questions
“Ritual, Community, & Free Food”: What’s that all about?
This has been Good Shepherd’s unofficial motto for some time now. John Nickles was a graduate student in English at Purdue—and a member of Good Shepherd—in the early 1990s. While he was here, he made this comment: “All great religions share three things: ritual, community, and free food.” That one-liner has since taken on a life of its own. The first thing we probably did was put it on a t-shirt. The three categories came to determine the order of bulletin announcements. They’re the organizing principle of the weekly e-bulletin on our home page. One recent variation on the motto has been “Worship, Fellowship, and Free Food.” Whatever way we say it, those are the three things we do here: We gather to share the Eucharist; we enjoy fellowship with one another and reach out to the larger community; and we do free food—lots of free food.
What kinds of people make up your congregation? Is it just students?
No, we have a mix of people here: Purdue students, both undergraduate and graduate; Purdue faculty and staff; several people from outside the Purdue community. We’re younger and older, married and single, straight and gay; several of us have young children. Our religious backgrounds are diverse; many of us fall into the category of “used to be something else.” As one of our older flyers puts it: “We have Roman Catholic women mad at the Pope, Presbyterians interested in liturgy, Methodists who prefer wine to grape juice, a pagan or two—and even a few Episcopalians!”
What’s ESA? What do they do?
ESA is short for Episcopal Student Association. It is a registered student organization at Purdue University and is Good Shepherd’s official link to all things Purdue. Read more information about ESA and be sure to join their on Facebook group and Twitter feed.
Does Good Shepherd welcome LGBTQ persons?
Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: The Episcopal Church’s longtime slogan is “The Episcopal Church welcomes you.” At Good Shepherd, we want to make it clear that this welcome includes absolutely everyone. We want this church to be a safe place; we want it to be a place where you can feel accepted and loved by God, just as you are. Yes, you are welcome here.
Scott Hoffman completed his Ph.D. in American Studies at Purdue in 2004 and was an active member of Good Shepherd. He’s now a member of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. During Lent 2011 Scott wrote this reflection for St. George’s, on his journey towards the Episcopal Church as a gay man. We share it here with his kind permission.
P.S. Good Shepherd always has a table at OUTfest in downtown Lafayette every August. For information on OUTfest, click here.