Wednesday Evening Mini-Series – 2017

Follow Jesus: The Light of the World 5 weeks beginning June 7 through July 5

Jesus is the Light of the World

Come for a light supper at 6:45 p.m. and join dis-cussion around five scripture passages that talk about Jesus lighting up dark places (this summer’s Vacation Bible School theme).  We will wrap up this informal group conversation and prayer time around 8:00 p.m.

From Our Pastor – June 2017

Jesus gives us hope, courage, direction, love and power. – Cave Quest VBS daily themes

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

As we near our first year anniversary together, I yearn for some time to reflect on all that has happened since last summer. Often the charge of writing this letter to you for the newsletter offers me this kind of space. This month though I’m feeling the crunch of moving out of our old house and into our new one. I’m working with people to plan sum-mer happenings like VBS and the middle school mission trip. I’m experiencing the transi-tion of new leadership on the congregation council. And I’m helping to shepherd the pro-cess of exploring the possibility for a new space to call home with the Federated Church in Ayer. Continue reading From Our Pastor – June 2017

From Our Pastor – May 2017

“Be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

In the office area of my house, to the left of my desk, I have a professionally framed callig-raphy piece with this verse from Psalm 46. This is the psalm upon which Martin Luther’s most famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God” is based. The imagery in the whole psalm is quite tumultuous, including earth-shattering events and warring nations. God is described as a refuge and strength and as exalted. All of these characteristics are a re-sponse to trouble all around. The response of the psalmist Is not to fear. The role of God is to be present. Our role in the midst of turmoil is to be still and to know that God is God. Continue reading From Our Pastor – May 2017

From Our Pastor – April 2017

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” – Luke 24:1-5

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This question has been rattling around in my head since I began thinking about what to write for this April news-letter. It’s not from the version of the resurrection story that we will hear this Easter but it is nagging at me nonetheless. I’m writing this on the second day of spring. During this time, it’s easy to start seeing signs of life in the tips of bulbs pushing through the ground and even snow, buds emerging on tree branches and the varied songs of birds. We can look for the living among the dead. Continue reading From Our Pastor – April 2017

From Our Pastor – March 2017

From the Pastor

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
– Matthew 6:19 – 21

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

On Ash Wednesday (March 1st) we will join together with Union Congregational Church and Christian Union Congregation. We will share some simple food together and then worship together. This worship service invites us into the season of Lent – preparation for the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection! The passage above is the end of the gospel reading for that day. Prior to these words, which are a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount which have been the gospel readings for the past few Sundays, Jesus instructs those listening about acts of piety. Specifically, he talks about giving alms, prayer and fasting. He tells them how to do these things in ways that lead to rewards from God, our Father in heaven. Continue reading From Our Pastor – March 2017

Save the Dates for Children’s Egg Hunt and Cave Quest!

All are welcome at these upcoming events for children hosted by Shepherd of the Valley (SOV) Lutheran Church in Groton. We’ll have our 11th Annual Easter Egg Hunt & Easter Story program on Saturday, April 8th beginning at 10 am. The children will gather eggs filled with goodies and hear a story filled with love. This is an event for the young and the young-at-heart!  Easter Egg Hunt – Flyer with all the details.

Looking farther ahead, Cave Quest Adventure, our Vacation Bible School (VBS) program, is taking place July 24th to 28th at SOV – with awesome decorations, it will feel like you’re walking into a cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites! This will be the perfect setting to explore the theme of God’s light in our lives. There will be Spelunker Science and Cave Crafts along with Cavern Games and Treats for children ages 4 to 4th grade grads. The registration form for Cave Quest Adventure.

Both programs are offered free of charge to our local communities. Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church is located at the historic Groton Grange Hall, 80 Champney Street. For more information, please contact Margaret Doyle at 978-772-7095, margaret@ayerdoyles.org.

From Our Pastor – February 2017

From the Pastor

“I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially…Your highest loyalty is to God, and not to the mores or the folkways, the state or the nation, or any man-made institution. If any earthly institution or custom conflicts with God’s will, it is your Christian duty to oppose it… You are called to be the salt of the earth. You are to be the light of the world. You are to be that vitally active leaven in the lump of the nation. – “Paul’s Letter to American Christians” by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

I read the above words along with the entirety of this letter – a chapter from the book Strength to Love – to the confirmation class when we met on Monday, January 16. Dr. King wrote a letter in the style of Paul to the church in America. We are studying the New Testament this year while keeping the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in the forefront of their minds (we hope!). I thought it a fitting theme to connect Paul, Martin Luther and The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the words they wrote while in prison or under house arrest for acting on their faith. Continue reading From Our Pastor – February 2017

From the Pastor – January 2017

“When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. – Matthew 2:16

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

Perhaps it’s because I’m the daughter of two pastors, but probably more likely because I can just be a stickler for certain details that I decide are important, it drives me nuts when our society ends Christmas on December 26. I’m not shy about reminding (or teaching) people that December 25 is the FIRST of the twelve day of Christmas. The season of Christmas leads us to the feast of the Epiphany, when we celebrate the three wise men arriving to pay Jesus homage. And, if you even dare try to put the wise men at the manger a day before January 6, you will see me up and move them across the room so they have someplace to travel. Continue reading From the Pastor – January 2017

A Slice of Infinity – What Child Is This?

The spirit of Christmas often lends itself to the cry of loneliness. During this season more than any other, thoughts long hidden cease to remain veiled. Yearning for a place to rest our heads from lurking notions of restlessness or isolation, intuitively, many of us sense that we are not quite at home. Christians often speak of this truth expectantly. We are waiting, waiting for all of creation to be made new, even as we catch glimpses now: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”(1) But on honest nights, we might confess that the waiting is wearying, the silence at times daunting. We are homesick, like children lost in a crowd, not quite at home nor capable of getting there. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – What Child Is This?