Note – Council Chair

A Note from the Council Chair

Happy New Year! I hope you and your family had a Joyful Christmas! We did so much over the holidays at SOV, it is hard to keep track! We helped PACH (Pepperell Food Pantry), Loaves and Fishes (Devens Food Pantry), and the Groton Senior Center with food donations in November and December; we bought presents for 28 children through our giving tree and some others that were in need over the holidays; our youth helped set up the toy distribution at a toy drive in Bourne with the youth from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Harwich; we had a wonderful Advent Prayer service on Dec. 17th to prepare ourselves for the Lord’s coming; and we welcomed Pastor Jerry Janisko as our new part-time transitional pastor on Dec. 14th. A busy end of the year, indeed!

I hope you have used the Church Assessment Tool (CAT) This is an on-line survey that will collect input from the congregation. The last day to add your voice to this survey is Sunday, Jan. 4th. Once all the data has been processed, we will get a report and a summary that we will share with the congregation. Pastor Ted Asta, Associate to the Bishop, is well versed in this process. He will help us interpret the results and we will share that information with the congregation. This assessment will provide valuable input to the profile that we will create in order to find a new permanent pastor for SOV.

If you are looking for something NEW to do in the New Year, 2015 promises to hold many exciting opportunities for Shepherd of the Valley and our ministries! The Come and Seek evening service will continue to be held the second Sunday of the month at 5:30 p.m. This is a contemporary worship service that is offered once a month as an alternative to the morning worship program. We have many opportunities for faith sharing and faith development at SOV — Adult Discipleship meets on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m.; on Monday mornings at the Main Street Café a group meets for faith sharing in Spanish; once a month, on the third Monday evening, a small faith sharing group gets together called Nicodemus’ friends; prayer shawl meets monthly on a Saturday; and on Wednesday evenings we have a Prayer Service at the Grange for an hour of contemplative reading and prayerful reflection. There is so much more, it is hard to list everything! Check out our ministry web page for more information if you are interested in these, or other opportunities: .

Our youth group continues to be very active and will again be participating in City Reach, an overnight urban outreach program in Boston that works with the homeless . The program gives people the opportunity to learn firsthand about homelessness from those who have experienced it. During the 20-hour session, participants join City Reach staff in street ministry and offer hospitality, food, and clothing. This is followed by times of sharing and reflection. Over the years this has been a transformative experience for both the youth and adults who have participated. Understanding that homelessness exists so close to us, even on very cold winter days, and that we can perhaps impact it in some small way is certainly one way to show others what the Lord’s love is all about!

I am happy to report that Pastor Giuseppe has accepted a call to Nativity Lutheran, in Weeki Wachee, FL (about an hour north of Tampa) . He will be starting there March 1st. In the meantime the Mattei family will be looking for a new house in Florida and making all the necessary preparations for moving. I know we are all happy for him, Stephanie, and the kids as they put plans together to start on this new path. Please continue to keep them in your prayers as they transition to their new home.

Pastor Jerry’s first sermon to SOV was about how we all need to let God into our lives, and trust that he knows the way – even when that way is hard. Following where God is leading us is something that we at SOV continue strive to do as we work to be His hands and feet in the world! We look forward to our next steps with Pastor Janisko, as we walk this new and exciting path towards our future.

Please make sure you mark your calendar for our Annual Congregational meeting on Feb 1st (Super Bowl Sunday). We will present the budget for 2015, the results of the Church Assessment Tool (CAT) survey, where we are with the profile process and what our timeline may look like for calling a new pastor. Please plan on joining us. This is an important meeting for SOV and for our future, and we value your input and participation!

God Bless,

Kathy Johnson, SOV Council Chair