Open Christianity • Open Hearts • Open Minds • Lead us to God

Phone: (865) 687-9420

ONE SERVICE at 10:00 a.m. this Sunday, September 4

to welcome our new Rector, Mother Dorrie Pratt


Regular Worship Schedule resumes on Sunday, September 11, with services at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. and Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. for all ages.


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Welcome to Good Shepherd, a vibrant congregation committed to our community’s forgotten, open to new ideas yet steeped in the Episcopal Church’s rich liturgical tradition: a place where the mysteries of the Christian perspective engage the world around us in sacred conversation. This may be just the church for you!

Thoughts From The Priest


“Woman, you are unbound from your ailment!”  With those words Jesus, in Luke’s account, heals the woman bent over by a spirit of weakness, bound by Satan for 18 years.  It is a powerful image of healing.  It is more than healing.  It is a liberating act.  Jesus frees this woman from her disease, from her bondage, from her imprisonment.


Many who suffer from chronic illness would likely describe their illness as a prison.  At least they might do so at times when the disease is getting the better of them.  I wonder how much this image of Jesus laying hands on this bent-over woman speaks to their desire for healing and more than healing, liberation.


As a doctor who is also a priest, people come up to me to ask me medical questions, and they ask me to pray for them.  As a doctor, I can give advice.  To my patients, I can sometimes prescribe medication.  As a priest, I can pray, anoint and lay hands on the sick.  In both roles, I can feel effective, and sometimes woefully limited in the face of suffering.


The rite of anointing reminds us of the spiritual and psychological suffering that accompanies many illnesses.  Being bent over, as the woman was for 18 years, is crippling.  In modern terms we might call her disease hyperkyphosis.  It has many causes and is difficult to effectively treat.  Calling it a prison, is an apt metaphor.  What could laying on of hands bring to a person who suffers like this?   How could sacramental oil alleviate this suffering?


I wish that the oil, that my hands, could free as Jesus did.  But that is not a power given to any of us.  We are not the messiah, and we probably should be thankful for that fact.  Nonetheless, I think that these images of healing, our sacraments of anointing, our getting together to pray for one another can soothe suffering.


 Yes, modern medicine has limits.  We all have limits.  Aging, debility, illness and death are facts of life.  Many feel bound, trapped, imprisoned by their illness and weakness.  Let us behold, the suffering around us, as Jesus saw the woman of our story.  Our efforts do not have to be miraculous to be freeing and healing.  In fact, we are often most effective when we simply recognize, acknowledge and empathize with the suffering of others.


Let our presence, our touch and our prayers be a balm against suffering.  For neither priests, nor doctors have a monopoly on the power to soothe spiritual and psychological suffering.  It is a call sent out to all of us.


(The Reverend) Dr. Rick Carter


Upcoming Events

Weekly Newsletters


August 28 - September 3



Centering prayer 7 - 8 pm



Bridge club 10:30 am - 2 pm



Bible study 11 am - 12 pm



Knitting and crocheting ministry 10


September 4 - 10



Labor Day - No Centering Prayer



Martha’s Kitchen 10 - 11 am



Bridge club 10:30 am - 2 pm



Bible study 11 am - 12 pm



Knitting and crocheting ministry 10 - 11 am

Archived "Thoughts from the Priest"


Aug. 22 - 28


Aug. 15 - 21


Aug. 8 - 14

5409 Jacksboro Pike Knoxville, Tennessee 37918 | 865.687.9420

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Sunday Schedule








 (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend)