Forward Today: The Good Shepherd

Note: As we continue to pray for healing for the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, this weekly message will feature guest writers from the Forward Movement staff and board of directors. Today’s message comes from Jamie McMahon, Member of the Forward Movement Board.

For about 15 years now I have participated in the life of an international Anglican religious community called the Oratory of the Good Shepherd. While my day-to-day and week-to-week faith community is my parish of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my experience with the Oratory has deepened my spiritual life in numerous ways.

The Oratory is a community of brothers, both lay and ordained, founded in Cambridge, England in 1913, which has provinces in North America, Australia, Southern Africa, and Europe. Although brothers do not generally live in community, they are grouped together into local and regional colleges and meet regularly for prayer and support. They follow a common Rule and discipline for their lives. I am a Companion of the Oratory and follow a modified Rule in my own life based around daily prayer, regular Eucharistic participation in addition to Sundays, a regular examination of conscience and use of the sacrament of reconciliation, participation in an annual retreat or quiet day, and charitable giving.

Earlier this fall, I attended the Oratory’s annual retreat in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Over the course of those days I was able to spend time in silence and prayer with God and with the other brothers and companions.

Our retreat leader provided several short talks to assist in our spiritual work. At one point, he talked about how we don’t always know what God is doing in the corners of our lives, in the bits we cannot see, but that God is always there. In keeping with the theme of the Oratory, we were also reminded that when we recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd in our prayers, we recognize that we have, in fact, never been alone. This voice is not the voice of a stranger and the Good Shepherd has spent time with us even when we haven’t noticed.

Spend some time with John 10:1-18 and think about where the Good Shepherd may have been active in your life, perhaps in some way that you didn’t even pay attention to at the time.

If you are interested in learning more about the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, please have a look at the website or connect with us at

Yours faithfully,

Jamie McMahon
Member of the Forward Movement Board

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