Author: gest

October 29, 2017

A seven week course exploring the Small Catechism beginning Wednesday, November 1 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. in the Meeting Room. By Heart has three focuses – Scripture & Tradition; Luther’s explanation of Scripture or doctrine from Christian tradition, and the story of Luther’s own life and times that influenced the Reformation. The book, video and lively discussions are aimed to create faith and help us make sense of our lives as Lutherans in the 21st century. Please notify Pastor Chris if you are interested in this course, so she can order an accompanying book for you. A generous donor has graciously offered to pay for the books.

October 4, 2017

A group spent the day at Enfield Loaves & Fishes this past Monday as part of the ELCA Day of Service. 

Enfield Loaves and Fishes is a Local Area Soup Kitchen providing hospitality to all those in need by offering meals, aid, and companionship at no charge.

The goal was to beautify the yard by trimming & pruning bushes, cutting and edging the lawn, removing bittersweet from the fence and trees, and planting some flowers.

The regular Enfield Loaves & Fishes volunteers graciously provided lunch for the SHELC crew.

 

June 4, 2017

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14

During the Children’s Message or Fellowship Time most Sundays, children are given a treasure chest with a lock and a colored tie on it. Someone in the congregation has the key on a matching colored bracelet. When the child finds the person with their matching colored key, they exchange names, maybe a fun fact for the day and the child then opens their chest and keeps the treasure. The chest with its lock is then returned to Pastor Chris.

Why do we do this?

  • It provides an opportunity for adults to get to know and interact with the children that are part of our congregation or with children that are visiting
  • Adults can model hospitality and demonstrate an active interest in the future generation of the church and help fulfill their promises made when children are baptized
  • Children practice social skills in meeting others and become more familiar with the sea of faces in the congregation
  • Relationships form
  • Most often the treasure somehow reinforces the Children’s Message
  • Adults are “key” to unlocking the mystery of grace for children
  • Children experience grace – free gifts of love – in the smiles and friendly comments of the people they meet, as well as in the treasure
  • People of all ages discover that each person is a treasure to be appreciated


Pastor Chris approaches folks randomly before the service asking if they would like to be a key bearer for the day. Feel free to approach her. It’s ok to build familiarity with any child, if you volunteer regularly and feel free to follow-up and remind the child of your name other Sundays. Pastor Chris would also appreciate a volunteer to distribute keys.

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me. Mark. 9:37

May 21, 2017

ASCENTRIA CARE ALLIANCE is requesting donations at this year’s New England Synod Assembly on June 9 & 10.

Please consider bringing donations for the individuals and families Ascentria serves.  Your thoughtful donations will be shared with:  refugees, including unaccompanied minors, older adults and the elderly, children, youth and families, persons with developmental disabilities, mental illness and deafness, those who are economically disadvantaged.

Items requested include:

         new pillows

         twin or full size new blankets

         twin or full size new sheets

         gift cards:  Wal-Mart,Target or grocery store.

        Toiletry items (full size preferred)

                  Shampoo      

                  Shaving supplies

                  Deodorant

                  Bar soap or body wash

                  Feminine hygiene products

                  Toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss

May 18, 2017

This golfing trio from Avon gave up their tee time Saturday morning for the gun time that started My Best Friend’s 5k Road Race at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.  Why would they make such a sacrifice? To help those who sacrificed for us while serving in the military or as first responders. The second annual 5k event was an event to raise awareness for Veterans Base Camp, a new 501(c) 3 organization in Chaplin, CT with the goal to support wellness, education, training, and employment needs for Veterans and First Responders.

Veterans Base Camp was founded in 2013 by area businessmen and veterans, Darrell Chaloult and Bruce Maneeley. 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.

Where was their fourth player? Golfers typically go out in foursomes….Their fourth player was Jeff Brighenti, owner of Avon Plumbing and Heating. Although Jeff didn’t run, he showed his support as a Silver Level sponsor for the second year in a row.

The Gold Sponsor for the race was Freedom Boat Clubs of Connecticut. Peter DeVilbiss, CEO of the Connecticut and New York locations included a two-hour sunset cruise as a raffle prize. A young volunteer firefighter walked away the winner. Other raffle prizes included one-month memberships to Healthtrax of Avon, Glastonbury and Enfield, three-month memberships to Anytime Fitness in Granby, gift certificates to Table570, @The Barn, and Han Asian, New Balance of Of Avon, and Grassroots Ice Cream in Granby.  

 

The first to cross the finish line was young Zachary Stoddard of Pomfret with a time of 22:32:99 followed closely by Olivia Rustic of Burlington fifteen seconds later. Most returning runners that ran last year for the first time, improved their times. The day was a cool 50 degrees and the rain held off until after the race was over – perfect running weather! For complete race results see RunSignUp.com.

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church would like to thank all the sponsors and participants in supporting this event. For more information on Veterans Base Camp and their programs go to www.veteransbasecamp.org or check them out on Facebook.

April 1, 2017

HOLY WEEK

Maundy Thursday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Join Jesus and his disciples at the Passover and participate in the new covenant between God and God’s people. What does that covenant mean to us today? Celebrate the Eucharist (Thanksgiving) anew. Opportunities for confession and absolution, hand washing & foot washing will be made available as well.

Good Friday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Seven Last Words of Christ. Having heard the Passion story on Palm Sunday, this year we’ll focus on the last words Jesus spoke on the cross. With readings, reflections, singing, candles and stations, come experience the ultimate sacrifice of love Christ made and ponder anew his final teachings.

EASTER SUNDAY, April 16

Ecumenical Sunrise Service at High Meadow Day Camp (6:00 – 6:25 a.m.)

311 North Granby Road, North Granby, CT.

Breakfast refreshments available to follow at First Congregational Church, North Granby.

Easter Brunch at SHELC (9:00 – 9:50 a.m.)

Holy Communion Worship at SHELC (10:00 – 11:00 a.m.)

Celebrate the risen Christ and the Good News that brings. And bring a friend who could use some good news too!

April 1, 2017

PALM SUNDAY – April 8

Celebrate Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem with EcoPalms.

To reinforce our Lenten theme of justice, we will be waving environmentally friendly palms that actually promote environmental and social justice.

Then hear the Passion Story as read in parts by the congregation.

By choosing EcoPalms we….

Promote Social Justice

  • Harvesting palms is an important source of income but gatherers receive a low price
  • Gatherers will receive a higher price for their “fair trade” palms improving their income

Promote Environmental Stewardship

  • Palms protect valuable natural forests because they provide income to forest communities.
  • Palms will be “sustainably” harvested and managed protecting the palms and the forests they need for shade.

Why a “Fair Trade” Palm?

  • To improve income and living conditions for the communities gathering the palm.
  • To protect the palms and  the important forests from which they are gathered through sustainable harvest programs.

Did You Know?

  • Approximately 308 million palm fronds were consumed in the United States in 1998.
  • Palm purchases for Palm Sunday may be worth up to 4.5 million dollars/year.
  • A congregation of 1,100 to 1,500 members will order approximately 700 palm fronds for Palm Sunday services.
  • Palm gathering actually protects valuable natural forests.
  • At least half of the farmers in the Central Petenof Guatemala earn additional income from harvesting fronds and, more than a quarter of household heads support themselves exclusively by collecting fronds.
  • Each palm plant produces 2 to 5 harvestable leaves over a 2 to 4 month period.

 

 

March 19, 2017

LivingLutheran.org 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 www.GodLovesMarriage.org or contact Fred & Julie Schamber at 724-325-3166 or by e-mail fjschamber@comcast.net.