Month: March 2017

March 19, 2017 complied 25 facts about Lutherans and Lutheranism in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the ELCA.  It’s also fitting to look at ourselves this year as it’s also the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation!

  1. The Lutheran Church is the oldest Protestant tradition.
  2. Martin Luther issued the “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” that became known as his “95 Theses” in Wittenberg on Oct. 31, 1517.
  3. Lutherans went viral nearly 500 years ago, when Martin Luther and his allies used the new media of the day — pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts — and circulated them through social networks to promote their message of the reformation of the church.
  4. Following the practice of naming a “heresy” after its leader, the name Lutheran originated as a derogatory term used by Johann Eck during the Leipzig Debate in July 1519.
  5. Rather than “Lutheran,” Martin Luther preferred to describe the reformation as “evangelical,” which is derived from the Greek word meaning “good news.”
  6. Generally speaking Lutheran teaching can be summed up by “Three Solas”: (1) Grace Alone; (2) Faith Alone; (3) Scripture Alone.
  7. The split between the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics began with the Edict of Worms in 1521, which officially excommunicated Luther and all of his followers.
  8. Luther’s Small Catechism (“Der Kleine Katechismus”) was published in 1529 for the teaching of children at home by their parents.
  9. Luther’s Large Catechism consisted of works addressed particularly to clergymen to aid them in teaching their congregations.
  10. The Book of Concord or “Concordia” (1580) contains documents that explain what Lutherans believe. It includes the three creeds of the ancient church and Reformation writings such as Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord.
  11. Composer Johann Sebastian Bach, a devout Lutheran, is credited with 1,126 musical works listed in the complete Bach catalog (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, or BWV). He wrote about 200 cantatas, including at least two for each Sunday and holy day in the Lutheran church year.
  12. Lutherans believe in “Salvation by grace through faith” — that salvation comes by grace through faith alone, not by works and sacraments.
  13. Philipp Melanchthon (Feb.16, 1497 — April 19, 1560), was one of the primary founders of Lutheranism. Born Philipp Schwartzerdt, he translated his name to its Greek form —  Melanchthon. He made the distinction between law and gospel the central formula for Lutheran evangelical insight.
  14. Since 1520, regular Lutheran services have been held in Copenhagen.
  15. During the 16th century, Lutheranism spread through all of Scandinavia as the monarchs of Denmark-Norway (also Iceland) and Sweden (also Finland) adopted Lutheranism.
  16. The first Lutheran worship service in North America is believed to have taken place in what is now known as Manitoba on Jan. 23, 1620. The sermon was delivered by Pastor Rasmus Jensen.
  17. Massive immigration from traditionally Lutheran countries to the United States between 1840 and 1875 resulted in 58 Lutheran synods being formed.
  18. The first Lutheran pastor to be ordained in the United States was German-born Justus Falckner on Nov. 24, 1703.
  19. German Lutheran Pastor Henry Muhlenberg was sent to North America as a missionary upon the request of Pennsylvania colonists. He is considered the patriarch of American Lutheranism.
  20. As late as the 19th century, Lutherans in the United States still looked to their European homelands to supply pastors and worship materials.
  21. Founded in 1826, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania is the oldest operating seminary in the ELCA.
  22. Lutherans form the largest religious denomination in Namibia, formerly German Southwest Africa.
  23. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, The Lutheran World Federation now has 143 member churches in 79 countries around the world representing 70.5 million Christians.
  24. On Jan. 1, 1988, The American Lutheran Church, The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and The Lutheran Church in America officially merged to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
  25. The ELCA is the largest Lutheran body in the United States.


March 19, 2017

When is the last time the two of you did something to enrich and revitalize your marriage? Make 2017 the year you spend a weekend making your marriage a more intimate, loving, Christian union.

Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekends

Running from Friday 8 p.m. to Sunday until 3 p.m., these weekends have been enriching marriages for over 40 years! To nights lodging, 5 meals and all supplies are included for a $100 registration fee.

2017 Northeast Weekends

March 24-26 at Toftrees Golf Resort Conference Center – a peaceful resort nestled in 1500 wooded acres in State College, PA. FULL – waiting list available.

April 28-30 in Lancaster, PA at the all newly-renovated Heritage Hotel Lancaster –  home of the unique tree-house-inspired restaurant, “Loxley’.” FULL – waiting list available.

September 15-17 at Spruce Lake Retreat Center, Canadensis, PA – a new hotel-style facility on Spruce Lake in the heart of the Pocono Mountains – an hour north of Allentown, PA.

October 6-8 at the Black Swan Inn in Lee, MA. – a hidden gem overlooking Laurel Lake and nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains – an hour north of Hartford, CT.

Check it out at or contact Fred & Julie Schamber at 724-325-3166 or by e-mail


March 19, 2017

To continue on the journey of Strategic Planning and getting a read on the Overall Health and Vitality of our congregation, we have scheduled the following events:

History Event – Sunday, April 2 – 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

This is a fun event where the congregation explores the life and faith journey of their worshipping community. Discussion will include, “highs” and “lows” and how challenges were overcome. The event is not a chronicle, it is an opportunity to hear the personal stories and perspectives of current members and to connect the congregation’s ministry and mission with world and community events. Themes and patterns revealed during this event will be carried forward into later discussions.

Unpacking Your Purpose – Sunday, April 30 – 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

We will gather to “unpack” what our current Purpose Statement means to our ministries today; what it may mean in the future, and we’ll discuss how our Guiding Principles are utilized in decision making. Data collected using the Church Assessment Tool is introduced to help the congregation discern why or not the current mission/purpose statement is or is not working well.

Healthy Communication and Conflict Management Workshop – Wednesday, May 17 – 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

This workshop will help members identify unhealthy communication practices and become active listeners and learn strategies to transform conflict into safe and meaningful interactions.

Asset – Mapping and Connecting the Dots – Wednesday, June 7 – 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Volunteers will be gathering community listening data through surveys and interviews while engaged in the visioning process. That information will be collected and quantified over the course of the next few months. Once that listening phase is complete, the congregation gather to connect assets, resources and the priorities of the congregation with the issues, challenges, assets, resources, and needs of the community. The data from the CAT Vital Signs report is used to narrow down specific areas of focus. This is the final phase of the visioning process where he congregation will create 3-5 short and long-term goals based on the purpose statement and guiding principles and what they have heard during the community listening phase.

Articulating Strategic Directions for Mission – Summer/Fall 2017

Sub-teams will form around each of the goals to formulate specific action plans and time-lines using the SMART Goals Workbook. A final draft of the congregation’s vision and strategic directions for mission will be presented to the congregation and council for final discussion and implementation sometime in late summer/early fall.

March 5, 2017

To Support Veterans Base Camp

Shepherd of the Hills Evangelical Lutheran Church of Simsbury (SHELC) will be holding its 2nd annual 5k run/walk on Saturday, May 13, 2017 and welcomes members of the community to participate.

My Best Friend’s 5k Road Race begins at 10:00 a.m. at the church located at 7 Westcott Road in Simsbury.  In addition to the 5k course there will be a 1.5 mile course for walkers, kids and strollers.

The event will also feature music, food, a Veterans Base Camp information booth and products from its online store and other surprises. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Veterans Base Camp Community Training Center, Chaplin CT.

Founded in 2013, by area businessmen and veterans, Darrell Chaloult and Bruce Maneeley, the Veterans Base Camp is a 501c3 charitable non-profit organization dedicated to providing wellness programs, educational resources, job training, tech skills and business opportunities for Veterans and first responders.  First responders include EMT personnel, combat nurses, medics, firefighters, police and their families and supporters.


Located on an expanse of gently rolling hills along a winding road, the camp is a welcoming combination of old homestead and summer camp. The 1921 red frame house offers an abundance of comfortable spaces for conversation and relaxing.  The main dining area is warmed by a large stone fireplace and looks out onto a view of the grounds, a fishing pond and the woods beyond. There are plans to set up hiking trails in the spring. Spacious, rustic cabins circle the rambling main house for additional residential space.

The partners collaborate with volunteers and private, government and community organizations to offer assistance to veterans who wish to gain competitive career skills and employment opportunities in fields such as agriculture, food services, renewable energy, fiber optics, IT, and other essential skills. Bi-weekly meetings are held to establish relationships among the veterans and plan opportunities, access and secure benefits necessary to achieve their wellness and economic goals. All are welcome and encouraged to attend these meetings  – see calendar on their website or their Facebook page.

Veterans Base Camp is also in the process of developing a series menu of Wellness Retreats for veterans, first responders, and supporters in the form of a day or weekend event.  Activities such as yoga, hiking, massage therapy, and team building activities will be offered.

One of the most important founding principles of the Veterans Base Camp is for the veterans to be self-sufficient.  Ultimately it is veterans helping veterans; as they had one another’s back while serving, they will continue to have each other’s back in civilian life.  Their special bond of experience, loyalty and duty will persevere.

Important Dates

Sunday, April 2, Darrell and other volunteers from VBC will attend the 10 a.m. service and 11 a.m. coffee hour at Shepherd of the Hills Church to discuss Veterans Base Camp and his plans for the future.  The local community is encourage to join  – all are welcome!

Saturday, April 8, there will be a Wellness Day at the Camp in Chaplin for Veterans, First Responders and families.  To register for this event, please contact the Veterans Base Camp by phone (860) 477 1333 or email

Registration is currently open for the 5k run and 1.5-mile walk

To register, please go to

Register by April 30 to receive a free tri-blend t-shirt.

For more information about Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (SHELC) visit

Or call (860) 658 0583


March 5, 2017

Wednesdays 9:30-11:00 a.m.

From……Written in the form of letters, The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis is an amusing and insightful correspondence between a senior devil, Screwtape, and his obstreperous and incompetent nephew, Wormwood, a “young fiend.” All of the letters are from Screwtape to Wormwood, and the subject of the correspondence is a human being, newly converted to Christianity, whom Screwtape refers to as “the patient.” Throughout the correspondence, Screwtape tries to help Wormwood tempt the patient away from Heaven and into Hell. He encourages his nephew’s successes, suggests various and devious ways to enter the man’s thoughts and influence him, and berates Wormwood for his failures as the man begins attending church, goes through various ups and downs of faith, falls in love with a Christian girl, and is called to service in the War. All in all, the letters and “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” the last chapter of the book, are a witty and cautionary commentary on the state of the modern human soul.

It’s Not Too Late to Join Us – All are Welcome!

Obtain his book and come and explore its content with helpful study guides, a biblical lens and lively conversation. In a season of temptations, this study is just the thing to strengthen your faith.


March 5, 2017

Wednesday evenings during Lent 6:15 – 7:30 p.m.

What is a Church Dinner Service?

It’s worship and learning as and a meal all inclusive held in the Fellowship Hall. The event follows the Lutheran 4-fold order of worship with a twist: Gathering, Meal (soup/bread), Word (theme exploration), and Sending.

What is the Learning Theme?

Economic Justice and Faith is the theme. The connection between faith, worship and justice was central for Martin Luther. His concern for the poor and his sharp rebuke of economic injustice helps us today see the many way our faith calls us to strive for justice in our world.

In this 500th year since the Reformation, Luther’s call for economic justice is more pressing than ever. Each week, along with congregations throughout the ELCA, we’ll explore themes related to economic justice and faith. The message is geared toward everyone – youth through adult.

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

If you can bring a crock of soup, please pick a week and sign-up on the kiosk in the Gathering Space.