From the Pastor – December 2016

“My soul  proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you; you have looked with love on your servant here, and blessed me all my life through. Great and mighty are you, O Holy One, strong is your kindness evermore. How you favor the weak and lowly one, humbling the proud of heart.”

– Luke 1:46-50 as translated by Marty Haugen for Holden Evening Prayer

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

The words above come from Mary in response to Elizabeth’s greeting declaring that she knew that the child Mary would birth would be the son of her Lord. Earlier Mary had received and eventually accepted an astonishing message from the angel Gabriel. He declared her to be favored by God and therefore was chosen to bear Jesus, the son of God. Now Mary visits her elder relative Elizabeth, who is also miraculously with child because of God’s action. Upon Mary’s arrival, Elizabeth already knows that God has blessed her and made her the mother of Jesus. There’s no getting around what God is doing in Mary and Elizabeth’s lives. Continue reading From the Pastor – December 2016

Follow the Christmas Star!

A FREE Christmas Event for Children and Their Families
from Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, December 4th 2016

Looking for a great way to start the Christmas/Advent season with your kids? On Sunday afternoon, December 4th, children dressed as sheep will join their parents (dressed as shepherds) and flock to “Bethlehem” to witness the birth of Jesus, as they participate in a dramatic re-telling of the Christmas story, acted and narrated by Shepherd of the Valley adults and youth. The children will also enjoy singing Christmas carols, making star-shaped Christmas ornaments, and munching star-themed goodies. Continue reading Follow the Christmas Star!

From the Pastor – November 2016

“For in Christ Jesus… the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” – Galatians 5:6Luther Rose

Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,

Although I’m a Lutheran pastor, I must confess that I have not read all that much of Martin Luther’s writings. With the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation, whose beginning is marked by the nailing of the 95 Theses on the doors of the church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, there’s been a flurry of activity around learning more than usual about these and following events. Even at SOV we are planning to kick off the year leading up to the anniversary by watching a movie together after worship on October 30 depicting the life of Martin Luther. There are also plans in development to mark this occasion by learning and worshipping with our Roman Catholic neighbors and friends. Continue reading From the Pastor – November 2016

A Slice of Infinity – Our Finest Hour?

Winston Churchill was responsible for some of the most striking and memorable speeches ever delivered. The strong rhetoric he often deployed during the Second World War was of course partly out of necessity, as the country desperately needed inspiration, at a time when the conflict was very much in the balance. One of the most famous messages he ever gave was in 1940, as he sought to prepare the British citizens for the looming Battle of Britain. During it, he stressed that the very future of Christian civilization was at stake and that the country needed to be ready to face the ‘fury and might’ of an enemy that wanted to sink the world into the ‘abyss of a new dark age.’ Whether or not they would succeed was uncertain, but he reiterated that if they succeeded it would be judged by history as ‘their finest hour.’ Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Our Finest Hour?

From The Pastor – July 2016


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