From the Pastor – September 2016

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” – Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

If you made it to the end of my letter from August that was on the SOV website and Facebook page, you may recognize the above passage from Jeremiah. If you were part of VBS at the end of July, you may remember this being a daily verse and have the tune of the accompanying song stuck in your head as well. If you were part of the SOV Capital Campaign five years ago, you may recall that the last page of the beautiful booklet of Our Journey in Faith contained these prophetic words as well. If none of these apply to you, may you still find encouragement and meaning in them. Continue reading From the Pastor – September 2016

From the Pastor – August 2016

Dear People who God gathers as Shepherd of the Valley,

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

My first month as your pastor has been a full and fulfilling one. It began a little early with 15 high schoolers and 3 other adults heading to Reading, PA for the Group Work Camp Mission Trip and ended with Egypt VBS, involving more than 50 people in soPastor Gaeta's 1st Sunday at SOVme important way. In between, Richard, Grace and I said goodbye to friends in Washington, DC and moved to our new (temporary) home in Westford, MA and were warmly welcomed by so many of you. Thank you for the overflowing gift baskets which have indeed been helping us settle in to the Nashoba Valley. Your gracious and thoughtful contributions to our transition are deeply appreciated! It’s been a great first month.
Continue reading From the Pastor – August 2016

From The Pastor – July 2016

Farewell

As Pastor Jerry Janiskomy time at Shepherd of the Valley wanes, I am reminded of an anonymous proverb which reads, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

I feel sad about leaving Shepherd of the Valley, but especially thankful and joyful that I was honored to serve as your Transitional Pastor for a year and a half. Continue reading From The Pastor – July 2016

From the Pastor – June 2016 – No Vocabulary of Faith

No Vocabulary of Faith

An article in USA Today reported that increasing numbers of children in the United States “have no vocabulary of faith, and neither do their parents.”

A mother in Austin, Texas, who grew up Methodist, said she’s “totally disengaged from the church and the Bible.” Sunday mornings for her family revolves around sleeping in, puttering, and kid’s sports.

Continue reading From the Pastor – June 2016 – No Vocabulary of Faith

From the Pastor – February 2016 – Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

From the Pastor – February 2016 - Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, arrives early this year and the Ash Wednesday worship service is like no other. Scripture readings entreat us to change our lives and turn back to God. The Ash Wednesday liturgy calls for remorse and repentance. Pastors place ashes on people’s foreheads and say “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Continue reading From the Pastor – February 2016 – Ash Wednesday

From the Pastor – December 2015

What Matters Most

Dear members and friends of Shepherd of the Valley,

Listening to Christmas songs over the years has raised some questions. Who is Bob in the lyric “And bells on Bob’s tail ring?” Who is good King Wenceslas? Did you know that one of the most popular versions of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was sung by the California Raisins? In what song is Parson Brown mentioned? Have you ever been served “figgy pudding?” I don’t even know what it is. Continue reading From the Pastor – December 2015

From the Pastor – October 2015

Give Your Child Something To Believe In

Children and teens face staggering dangers nowadays – from media that promote violence and casual sex, and a culture which makes drugs easily accessible – the same toxic culture that denigrates Christianity and belief in God. There also have been deep changes in patterns of life and work, and none of them seem to favor children. Now-a-days few parents are at home to notice what taboos kids are breaking. As a result, more and more kids are troubled and in trouble. Continue reading From the Pastor – October 2015

From the Pastor – Summer 2015

Five Finger Prayer

While surfing the internet, I stumbled onto the website of Ascension Lutheran Church, Montreal, Quebec. I thought you might like their article on a “Five Finger Prayer.”

Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones, as SOV - Our Journey In FaithTheologian C.S. Lewis once said, is a “sweet duty.”

The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes bishops, pastors, teachers, doctors, nurses, and many others in the healing professions. They need prayerful support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers. Continue reading From the Pastor – Summer 2015

From The Pastor – June 2015

From the Pastor
To Our Graduates…

Bill Gates once gave a commencement speech to high Pastor Jerry Janiskoschool graduates about things they did not and will not learn in school. I share his thoughts with high school and college graduates alike.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it.

Rule 2: The world does not care about your self esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss.

Continue reading From The Pastor – June 2015

From The Pastor – May 2015

A Fish, Money, and Aluminum Cap

People bear witness to Christ and praise God in many ways. Some left their witness in the symbol of a fish on a mosaic floor, by money for a church, and on two Latin words inscribed on an aluminum cap.

In Memory of Jesus Christ

In 2005 the remains of an elaborate church floor mosaic were discovered in Megiddo, Israel. Archeologists deemed the 3rd century site to be the home of the Holy Land’s oldest known Christian church. Of special interest was an outline of a fish prominently displayed on a floor design. Continue reading From The Pastor – May 2015