We Proclaim our Faith without Hesitation

May 26, 2016


Three states, eleven towns, thirty-eight individuals.

That describes the participants in My Best Friend’s 5k Road Race and Walk on May 14, 2016 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Simsbury.Race Start  It was the first annual 5k event to support SHELC youth group activities and to promote the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF), a local organization with the goal to prevent suicide in the high school, college and college entry student population.


Most were from local towns in Connecticut from Avon to Vernon. A few came from just over the state line from Southwick, Massachusetts and one flew all the way from Georgia (okay, full disclosure, she was the daughter of the race organizer!) For some it was their first 5k race and for others it was a way to heal from loss or to add hope for others. 5k MBF BannerPastor Chris Dion began the event with a blessing for the health of the runners and for the mission of the Jordan Porco Foundation.

Tucker, a physical trainer from Healthtrax of Avon, led the group in warms-ups before they hit the trail – the Rails to Trails in Simsbury. The trail entrance is only half a mile from the church – down Wolcott  Road and through the church’s quiet Wescott Road neighborhood.

The first to cross the finish line was James Guidice 1st Placeof Simsbury and the first female was the runner from Georgia, Meagan Riordan. 1st FemaleTwo walkers missed the mile and a quarter turn and ended up completing the entire 5k with their aunt, becoming the youngest runners at the ages of three and four years old!

So why did someone walk away with a turkey fryer?

The Holloway’s sponsor was the reason. Holloway’s Appliance Center contributed the turkey fryer as a prize and the winner was determined from a drawing from the listing of participants. Other contributors were Central Rock Gym of Glastonbury, M.E.L.T.30 of Simsbury, New Balance of Avon, Antonio’s Restaurant of Simsbury and RoadID.

Participants left with the satisfaction of a race well run and the knowledge that a local organization is working to save lives. JPF CheckThey learned that one in ten college students contemplate suicide. The foundation’s Nine out of Ten is a peer run program that teaches “Nine out of Ten students have an opportunity to help each one who is struggling. They teach about the warning signs of suicide, available resources, and action steps to take if a friend is thinking about suicide. With this knowledge, students are empowered to be gatekeepers for their peers and get them help if they’re struggling with their mental health.”

For more information on the Jordan Porco Foundation and their programs go to www.remeberingjordan.org

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church would like to thank prize contributors as well as their Gold Sponsor, Healthtrax of Avon and the Silver sponsors Avon Plumbing and Heating, Maher’s Paint and Wallpaper of Avon and Simsbury, and Poochie Pets LLC.

April 25, 2016

Suicide Prevention Awareness

Community Contributor Audrey Dolman

Written by Kathryn O’Neil and Eva Chambers


April 11, 2016 – Shepherd of the Hills Evangelical Church of Simsbury (SHELC) will be holding its first annual 5K run/walk on Saturday, May 14. The event will raise money for the SHELC Youth Program which welcomes members of the community to participate. The Race begins at 9:00 AM and starts at SHELC located at 7 Wescott Road in Simsbury.

Registration is currently open for the 5k run and 1.25-mile walk.

To register, please go to http://www.shelc.org/my-best-friends-5k-road-race/ or http://www.Runsignup.com/Race/CT/Simsbury/MyBestFriends5kRoadRace/

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

SHELC hopes to promote health and wellness within the community during this outreach event. A personal trainer logo_ccecb522-5722-42e1-adae-86a399eac173_largefrom Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness will lead the pre-race stretching and warm ups. The course route starts at SHELC, continues to the scenic Rails to Trails path, loops around and ends back at SHELC.

Another goal of the event is to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to remember friends who were lost too soon to suicide. SHELC will display a remembrance banner available for anyone to sign to remember a lost friend. Jordan Porco FoundationAt the conclusion of the race, SHELC will make a financial donation to the Jordan Porco Foundation, a Hartford based non-profit organization committed to preventing suicide in high school and college-aged students through awareness, education and innovative programming.

The Gold Sponsor, Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness of Avon, will provide two lucky participants with a complimentary 1-month membership. Anyone who completes the 5k run or 1.25 walk will be eligible, so you don’t have to win – you just have to finish!

For more information about the SHELC Youth Program and the Church visit www.shelc.org.

April 2, 2016

Camp Calumet Job Openings

RN’s Needed at Calumet

Rn’s needed for 1 or 2 weeks at Calumet! You must be employed as a nurse now in an area that pertains to children’s health. Great benefits and you get paid too! Call Bonnie at (202)925-2070 to interview.

Cooks and DIning Room Staff Needed at Calumet

Cooks and dining room staff for the conference center are also needed this sumer. If you are interested, call Chef Wade at (603)539-4773.

Calumet is a great place to work, the people are awesome, the food is delicious, plus you get to look at a spectacular view every day!


March 28, 2016

Islamic Radicalism – Webinar

Religion and the Identity in the Middle East: the Rise of the Islamic Radicalism


Presented by The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies an Christian-Musim Relations, Lutheran Seminar at Philadelphia (LTSP)

About the course:

The “Middle East,” as it is commonly known by Americans, has been a land of fascination, frustration, and fear. May Americans find the tapestry of its peoples, languages, cultures, and religions to be confusing, and yet the Middle East is so prominent in our news and media. These five sessions will look at the cultural perspectives of the people of the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the rise of Islamic Radicalism as protest movements, including al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS). The purpose of this course is to help North American Christians move beyond fear to become creatively engaged as peacemakers and responsible citizens in our own communities.

Thursday, March 31: 7 – 9 p.m.

  1. What is the Middle East?: geography and its effect on identity 

    This session will review the geography and political arrangement of the modern Middle East and how that has impacted political identities.

Thursday, April 7: 7 – 9 p.m.

  1. Communal Identity: the religious communities of the Middle East 

    In this session we will provide an overview of the numerous indigenous religious communities of the region. We will also look at general cultural values and the importance of religion on traditional family and communal identity.

Thursday, April 14: 7 – 9 p.m.

  1. The Arab Spring: causes and aspirations

    This session will uncover the source of general discontent of the last twenty years, and the hopes of the “soft revolutions.”

Thursday, April 21: 7 – 9 p.m.

  1. Sources of Islamic Radicalism in the Middle East, part I 

    The final two sessions will look at the responses to Arab Nationalism, the 1967 was, and the “failed states” of the Middle East. Islamic Radicalism will be defined and placed with in the broader category of other Muslim pieties. 

Thursday, April 28: 7 – 9 p.m.

  1. Sources of Islamic Radicalism in the Middle East, part II

    Viewed from the historical and cultural framework of the last four sessions the final session will loo at the rise of al-Qaeda and DAESH (ISIS), and Muslim responses to these organizations.

All are welcome to view the webinar at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 7 Wescott Road, Simsbury, CT 




March 28, 2016

Church Renovation adds Gathering Space

by Susan Gest

as Published in the February Edition of the Granby Drummer

They’ve gone from a capital “T” to a small “t” or more symbolically, a cross.  Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Simsbury, completed an addition in September after almost two years of planning. The new Gathering Space was dedicated on Nov. 8 and fittingly transforms the church into the shape of a cross and provides a transition from everyday life.


“It looks like it was always part of the church” commented George Forler, a longtime member. That’s because the design by local architect, Lorri DiBattisto, of DiBattisto & Associates of East Granby, has experience working with churches. SHELC Building - Oct 2015The project started over two years ago when church members identified the need to replace the 50 year-old skylights that spanned the sanctuary roofline.  As they found out from interviewing many local contractors, this would be no small task.  Rob Proulx from Proulx Building & Remodeling LLC of Stafford Springs, however, was up for the challenge and was selected for the job. “Why not replace the old windows and doors at the front of the church, too, and add a few feet of space?” asked Dennis Gruell Co-Chair of the Facilities Improvement Committee.

Of course, the purpose for adding the new space had to be connected in some way to our mission. “When we looked to the history of the architecture of the church, we saw it. An entry room, or narthex, is used to transition from everyday life to the sanctuary and to emphasize service to the community” explained Kat Smith, Council President.

Funding was the next step, once the congregation approved the overall concept. The (re)Building to Foster Community capital campaign netted nearly half the funds required for the construction phase.  A loan refinancing made up the other half, which made it possible to keep the current monthly mortgage payments unchanged.  Additionally, monies that had been bequeathed a few years earlier provided the resources for the Interior Design Committee to fill the new space.

“We focused on functionality, so we didn’t just end up with more building to maintain,” explained Jack Vanderbilt Co-Chair of the Facilities Improvement Committee. The new construction includes an ADA compliant automatic door and ramps so that everyone has easy access to worship.

Weekly Sunday Services are at 9 a.m. All are invited to see the new Gathering Space and join in worship.