Pastor’s Post for Sunday, August 21st!

Grace and peace to you and yours from God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

On behalf of the whole congregation I want to express my deep appreciation for the 50th Anniversary Team! What a wonderful job they did on the celebration picnic we had last Sunday.  According to the count shared with me by one of our team members there were 80 people in attendance. Everyone enjoyed the music provided by the Reams family and the “bounce house” was a big hit with the younger set. And what a joy it was to welcome people from the Baha’i Group that meets at our church, and folks from neighboring congregations including our Circuit Visitor Pastor Jim Rehley and his wife Margaret. Thanks to everyone who helped to make last Sunday’s 50th anniversary celebration a wonderful time of fun food and fellowship. We still have one 50th Anniversary Celebration event to look forward to this fall. On All Saints Sunday, November 6, Pastor Jeff Ries has been invited to preach (he is waiting to get approval from his elders before confirming), and the 50th anniversary video will be shown during a reception with cake a punch as we remember all those who have gone before us in the life of the congregation over the past 50 years.

We are entering into a critical phase in the interim ministry process we began last summer when you called me to serve you as your intentional interim pastor. Earlier this month the Transition Team, composed of six members of our congregation (Rob Durbin, Bill Randall, Jay McDougal, Jennifer Klammer, Nichole Havranek, Katy Trautman) and myself, began meeting weekly on Monday’s to work on the tasks of the Transition Team. Do date they have concluded an assessment and summary of the history of the congregation and have completed a “SWOT Analysis” (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of the congregation today.

Starting this Sunday, August 21, members and friends of Shepherd of the Valley are invited and encouraged to complete a survey of the pastoral attributes that you would like to see in a settled pastor. Bill Randall has worked hard at simplifying the original survey from the Northwest District Office so that everyone can participate. He will explain the details of the congregational survey this Sunday before worship. Surveys will then be distributed after worship. The deadline for completed surveys to be turned in is Sunday, September 5. Please take the time to complete the survey and then turn it in by placing it in the box that will be provided for completed surveys in the church fellowship hall. One of the things I appreciate most about the Transition Team is how honest and open they are in their conversations.  These are people who clearly love God and want to see Shepherd of the Valley move forward in mission and ministry in the future.

            New missional outreach? As a result of the School Backpacks that were filled with school supplies and donated to needy students at Linus Pauling Middle School (thanks to all who helped), I had the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Gen McConnell, the behavior specialist at the school. She stopped by my office to drop off a thank you card for the backpacks. Gen is an amazing woman who has been working with challenged and disadvantaged children and youth in our community for about 20 years. Gen believes that God called her to a ministry of working with children and youth. She began at “The Children’s Farm Home,” and then was hired by the Corvallis School District.  She sees a lot of students going through some really tough times and sometimes they act out. She believes they need love and security and tries her best to give it to them, but most interesting of all she gives thanks to God for calling her to this work. I am wondering if God isn’t calling us to be a supporting church family for her.  I see her as one on front lines of the spiritual warfare we wage against sin and evil. What God calling Shepherd of the Valley to do to support Gen McConnell and help children in need in our community?

God’s blessings!
Pastor Joe Hughes
Voice & text:  217-898-9063