Key Events in the Life of Shepherd of the Hills

1966 As people began building homes Northwest of Menomonee Falls, Holy Cross Lutheran Church decides to help plant a new congregation in the Richfield/Hubertus area.

1967 In the Spring, Pastor Lee Longrie begins visiting homes in the area.

1967 Worship services begin at the Richfield Fire Hall. Every week, members come early, clean up the room, set up chairs and furnishings for worship.

Oct 1967 97 people sign as “charter” members, as we are received as a congregation of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA).

Easter 1968 First services held in the new building (now outdoor pavilion).

1970 We begin an emphasis on contemporary worship with our first “celebration” service.

1976 Cynthia Skaalen and Joan Moertl begin serving as organist & choir director. Joan will serve for 25 years, and Cynthia is still playing!

1970’s Under the leadership of Pastor Tom Shaeffer, and then John Roseth, the young congregation grows rapidly.

1980 Another young Pastor, Michael Obinger, leads the church to further growth. He is remembered as a gifted speaker. Plans are made to expand the building.

Feb 1985 Pastor Obinger resigns.

March 1985 Even without a Pastor, the congregation leaders determine to move forward, and continue with the building program.

Nov 1985 The new sanctuary is dedicated. Pastor Charles Brummond begins his ministry. He brings healing to the congregation. He is remembered as a great people person, with a marvelous memory for people’s names.

June 1995 After nearly ten years of service, Pastor Brummond resigns. In April 1996, Richard Dick, Jr., becomes our sixth pastor. Through his leadership, Holy Communion is now celebrated at all of our services.

1997 A generous memorial gift allows us to launch the Handbell Choir.

July 1998 Pastor Rick Dick resigns. It is a time of great stress in the congregation, as the church seeks its second new pastor in 3 years.

June 1999 Pastor Jay Thorson is called and moves from Pennsylvania to begin his ministry here. Vickie Stretz begins the “children’s church” ministry.

March 2001 Becky Reilly hired as Bookkeeper for Shepherd of the Hills

May 2002 After 25 years of service, Joan Moertl retires as choir director.

Sept 2002 The worship schedule is changed, and the new “praise & communion” service is launched (our current 10:30 service).

Oct 2002 Karen Puhl begins her work as Assistant for Lay Ministries. Living Stones Associates completes their consultation work with us, paving the way for future growth of ministries, staff, & facilities, to better reach & serve our community..

Feb 2003 Work begins on a comprehensive remodeling of the building. The fellowship hall & sanctuary are converted to multi-purpose space; the nursery room & parking lot are expanded.

Sept 2004 The remodeled sanctuary is rededicated.

June 2004 Trish & Jim Kapelke begin work in the areas of Christian Formation and Music. Kristin Tetzke begins as choir director.

Sept 2005 Because of crowding at 10:30 worship, a second contemporary service is added on Saturday evening. In Jan 2007, this service is moved to Sunday evening.

May 2006 Marge Worthing begins as Newsletter Editor of TheShepherd’s Voice.

Sep 2006 A major initiative results that doubles the number of small groups to around 25. Our expanded mission activity includes a delegation traveling to Tanzania to begin a partnership with Shishitony Parish.

Jan 2007 Our second consultation with Living Stones in Jan. 2007 leads to the beginning of a major plan to expand our facilities and ministries.

Feb 2007 The staff is restructured after the Kapelke’s leave to serve a church in Kansas.

Mid-2007 Now in his 8thyear as our pastor, Jay Thorson is given a 3-month sabbatical for renewal/refreshment.

Aug 2007 The congregation hosts a celebration for Pastor Jay’s 20th ordination anniversary.

Aug 2007 Amy Cichon hired as Director of Children’s Ministries.

Nov 2007 Sue Faber hired as Administrative Assistant for Shepherd of the Hills.

Nov 2007 We celebrate the 40th anniversary of Shepherd of the Hills.

Aug 2009 We break ground for our new church building to reach and serve more people.

April 2010 First service in our new church held on Easter Sunday.

May 2010 Dedication of New Church Facility.

June 2011 Congregation changes affiliation from ELCA to LCMC/Augustana District.

July 2011 Demolition of the old church begins. Original Sanctuary left to be converted to a pavilion.

Nov 2011 Karen Puhl transitions to full-time mission work with Simple Hope.

Sept 2012 We welcome as our guest, Joseph Nnko, Pastor of the Shishitony Parish in Tanzania. We agree to help build a new church building at the Iding’ are preaching point.

Jan 2013 New Constitution & By-laws ratified by the congregation.

Sept 2013 Deb Ratzel is called to the position of Assistant for Volunteer Ministries.

Dec 2013 Marge Worthing retires as The Shepherd’s VoiceNewsletter Editor.

Jan 2014 Pastor Jay participates in the Augustana District Ethiopia Trip for the purpose of beginning a partnership with Tabor Lutheran in Hawassa Ethiopia to help them with their outreach to the Moslem Arsi region.

Jan 2014 Sherry Levitsch joins the staff in the Director of Communications Ministry role.

Sept 2014 Pastor Matt Shields called to be Associate Pastor for Next Generation Ministries.

Jan 2015 Organizational Playbook and new Mission Statement for Shepherd of the Hills approved.

Sept 2015 Installation of closed-circuit video, making videos of sermons available on the SOTH web site.

Sept-Nov 2016 For 3 months, our only access road was torn up, teaching us grace and patience.

Mar 2017 After 18 years as Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills, Pastor Jay Thorson resigns to answer a call to pastor at Capitol Drive Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. His last Sunday preaching is March 5th when a Farewell Lunch for 300 people is held in the Fellowship Hall.

Apr 2017 Pastor Dawn Spies leads two Lenten worship services, and becomes Shepherd of the Hills’ regular guest pastor, and titled, Interim Associate Pastor in the fall of 2017.

Apr 2017 Dave Schmidt assumes the Director of Contemporary Music position as Everett Wood plans his move to Florida.

May 2017 Pastor Matt Shields is voted in as Senior Pastor at SOTH by a vote of 149 to 1 on Sunday, May 21st.

Oct 2017 Shepherd of the Hills celebrates its 50thyear with a special dinner celebration, attended by 250 current worshippers, charter members, and past Pastors.

Nov 2017 Lucas Abegglen is hired as the new Director of Choirs, coming from southern California to Milwaukee to fill this need in music ministry left by the departure of Kristin Tetzke in May 2017.

Jan 2018 Pastor Matt travels to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with others from the Augustana District delegation to visit the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (“place of Jesus).

Jan 2018 An Associate Pastor call committee is formed, chaired by Janet Holk, to begin this process at SOTH.

Apr 2018 The Associate Pastor search efforts are suspended upon Pastor Matt’s announcement of an accepted call as Director for Awakening Lives to World Missions. His last Sunday of worship is June 24th, and he and his family move to Illinois.

Aug 2018 The congregation says goodbye to Interim Associate Pastor Dawn Spies on Aug. 5th, moving forward with supply pastors for Sunday worship and the Council’s search for an Intentional Interim Pastor at SOTH.

Oct 2018 Worship is led by supply pastors in August, September, and part of October. Pastor Doug Johnson is contracted as the Intentional Interim Pastor. Pastor Doug begins on October 15th and leads his first worship service on October 21st.

June 2019 A Senior Pastor Call Committee is formed and members attend a 4-hour training by LCMC Pastor Perry Fruhling. Members are Mike Erickson (Chair), Maureen Leurquin, Sherry Wenum, Paul Craig, Al Campbell, Deb Ratzel, Linda Doucette, and Mike Rodriguez

Dec 2019 Pastor Michael Matzek is unanimously voted in as Shepherd of the Hills next Senior Pastor at a Special Voter Meeting after the December 8th worship, led by Pastor Matzek.

Jan 2020 Pastor Doug Johnson is recognized for his service as the Intentional Interim Pastor as part of the SOTH Annual Voter Meeting and Soup & Pie Luncheon. His last Sunday preaching is February 2nd.

Feb 2020 Pastor Michael Matzek and his family move from California to Wisconsin. He begins as the next Senior Pastor of Shepherd of the Hills on February 4th and is installed on February 16th by Pastor Sue Gunderson (LCMC trustee).


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