Frequently asked questions

  • Why a church-school in Pleasant Grove?

    • In Good Shepherd's partnership with Church of Our Saviour, it became clear to us that a new way of being the church was needed for success in this neighborhood. The faithful members of Our Saviour have kept the fire of mission burning, but, like the neighborhood, this church deserves a second chance to flourish. We believe this church can be the best version of itself as a school, and that our neighbors in Pleasant Grove can have the second chance to flourish that they deserve if their children can attend a Christian school like this one.
       
  • What is Episcopal?

    • The word Episcopal comes from Greek: "epi," which means "over," and "scope," meaning "sight." "Episcopal" means that our church is governed by certain people entrusted with oversight, whom we call bishops. Our church has three kinds of ministers: bishops (who govern), priests (who pastor local congregations), and deacons (who serve the poor and assist priests). We are a church rooted in the ancient traditions of the Christian faith, and our worship centers around the preaching of God's Word in Scripture and the celebration of the sacraments.
       
  • Is there another Episcopal church in the area?

    • This church is the only Episcopal church in Pleasant Grove, and the next nearest Episcopal church with clergy is Church of the Incarnation, a twenty minute drive away. 
       
  • Are there many Episcopalians in Pleasant Grove?

    • Not yet.
       
  • What will happen to Church of Our Saviour?

    • Church of Our Saviour will become a part of Good Shepherd; we will be one church, committed to one mission in two parts of our city.
       
  • Is everyone on board?

    • Yes. The members of Good Shepherd and Our Saviour have spent several months getting to know one another, and building relationships and trust.
       
  • What do you mean by “bi-vocational,” and why this model?

    • By "bi-vocational," we mean one institution with two sorts of work. In this case, the two sorts of work are being a church and being a school. We believe these two vocations complement one another, and make one another stronger. A church that is a school from Monday-Friday is a church dedicated to mission; a school that gathers for worship on Sunday is a school that is transforming the lives of students and families. We believe this is the best, and most financially sustainable way for us to be the church in Pleasant Grove.
       
  • How is this institution being financed?

    • Our business model relies on five sources of income. First, we will have sliding-scale tuition. Everyone will pay something, but will only pay what they can afford. Second, the members of the church will continue to give sacrificially to God's mission in our neighborhood. Third, we will rely on the generosity of others in our diocese who share our passion for this neighborhood and its children. Fourth, interest from endowment money and grants. Finally, we expect every family involved in the school to give sacrificially of their time by volunteering, which we expect will reduce our operating costs by 15%.
       
  • What’s the governance structure?

    • Under the authority of Good Shepherd's vestry (board), the church and school will share a local, relatively autonomous board comprised of elected church members, Good Shepherd clergy, a Good Shepherd layperson, a diocesan representative, and community stakeholders, which include school parents. This board will delegate operational authority to the head of school.
       
  • What grades will the school have?

    • We intend to start with one small class of 5th grade students, and to add a grade each year until we have a school of 5th-8th graders.
       
  • Why middle school students?

    • Middle school students are the students in greatest need in Pleasant Grove. Many students in the area are struggling academically and socially, and an intervention in 5th grade can change a child's life. Moreover, students who are behind in 5th grade are least likely to catch up; but we are committed to giving every person a second chance to flourish, and so we are especially interested in serving those students that might be overlooked in a public or larger private school. Middle school is also the time when students begin to get into trouble, and we believe  faith formation, seminar-style classes, and outdoor education can make a significant difference in these students' lives, and so in our neighborhood.
       
  • Are there other private schools in the area?

    • Pleasant Grove has a number of charter schools, and a private Catholic high school. There is no other Christian middle school.
       
  • Aren’t many of the students in Pleasant Grove underperforming?

    • Yes. We intend to help change that.
       
  • Won’t a private school hurt the public schools that are already struggling?

    • No. We have already been in conversation with the local public elementary school about ways that we can support their work and their families. We are committed to the good of our neighborhood, including its public schools. The program we are offering will not be well suited for everyone, but it will be perfect for some students and families, and those are the people we intend to reach. We will support families and students who are not enrolled in our school.
       
  • Isn’t Pleasant Grove dangerous?

    • Despite this reputation, Pleasant Grove is in fact no more dangerous than other, lower-income neighborhoods in Dallas. In fact, if you look at the economic and educational data, you'll see that Pleasant Grove is actually safer than one would expect. There is crime, but not significantly more than elsewhere. It is a culturally diverse neighborhood of young families and working people. Pleasant Grove has great potential to become a vibrant, thriving neighborhood in Dallas (with a thriving Episcopal church and school at its heart!).
       
  • How will this church-school serve the neighborhood?

    • Apart from educating and forming students, our long term plans involve a partnership with local public schools for before- and after-care, a community center, a school-based medical clinic, and, of course, our ongoing commitment to feeding the hungry with the food that we grow in our farm.
       
  • Why farming?

    • In 2003, the members of Our Saviour realized that they were sitting on a sizable piece of land, and that, even though they were few in number, they could make a difference. The farm began as an effort to feed the hungry. It remains an important hunger ministry. As the church transitions into a church-school, the garden ministry will expand to feed students and to give them the important experience of gardening and community service.
       
  • Where does the produce from the farm go?

    • Each week, a team of volunteers brings produce from the farm to our local food pantry. We have donated thousands of pounds of produce, and have fed hundreds of people in need.
       
  • How can I help?

    • You can help in at least four ways. First, you can pray for us and for our neighborhood. Second, you can donate or make a recurring monthly donation that supports this mission. Third, you can come volunteer, which reduces our operating costs and changes lives. Fourth, you can tell your friends about us.