News for the Flock

September News for the Flock

September is always an exciting time in the year of the church. Programs for the school year are starting back up and children and adults are encouraged to plug in to ministries of worship, learn, connect, and care. As you or your family members dive into a new or annual activity, it’s a good time to reflect on how you are serving God while serving one another.
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Also in the September issue:

  • Fall Program Start Dates
  • Worship Calendar
  • Stories of Transform: Adrian Laffittee, Steve and Ann Genrich
  • Tim Schaefer Returns to Teach Crossways
  • Infertility or Loss Support
  • Grand Reopening: Fair Trade Coffee Cart
  • Journey to Tanzania 2017: Karibuni Sana
  • And more!

Billy Graham has been quoted as saying “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” At Shepherd of the Valley, there are so many ways that we are joined in community and fed by God…through Holy Communion, beautiful music, scripture, and Bible study, just to name a few. At times, it is easy to catch yourself receiving more than giving to God. 

Have you ever heard the phrase about giving God your “time, talents, and treasure”?  It’s a great starting point for a renewed effort to serve. It’s no accident that time and talent are placed before treasure. After all, giving isn’t just about money, and there’s even a Biblical basis for this.

Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Chapter 10 of Luke. You know the story, but go ahead and re-read it anyway. Notice how the Samaritan takes TIME away from his own journey and uses his TALENTS to care for the wounded man. He shares his resources with the man (bandages, oil, and donkey) but the TREASURE of his money doesn’t change hands until the very end with the innkeeper.

Helping out with coffee and fellowship is an easy way to provide hospitality and service to members and visitors. To many members this fellowship time is an important part of their weekly worship. It is good to be able to provide refreshments to support this fellowship.
— Sue and Mike Rush

We serve God when we serve others. Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to explore the Serve section of our website and volunteer to give your time and talents throughout the Year of Transform. There are so many things happening at our church that just couldn’t happen without the time and talent of our faithful volunteers. Helping hands are always needed to usher, greet, brew coffee, serve communion, assist in the nursery, answer questions at the Welcome Center, or help in the sound booth. The list goes on and on—and that’s just on Sunday mornings!

It is so much fun working on the Habitat crew with dear old friends - as well as making new ones. It is so meaningful to help in some small part to transform this house into a home.
— Rich and Sue Carlson

Start by serving in a new role once a month from September to May (over-achievers are welcome to do more!). You will be amazed at how even a simple job—like brewing coffee—can connect you with others in our church community while deepening the experience of others. 

God is calling you to serve others today. Accept the call and get ready to be transformed.

Yours in Service,
The Pastors of SOTV

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Categories: News, Monthly

News on a Stick!

In honor of the State Fair (and because there's a lot of little tidbits to share), here's some bite-sized updates from around the church. No deep frying necessary!

Ready for School!

Packing volunteers

Thanks to our generous donors and volunteers, nearly 14,000 school supplies will be gifted to local children in need, including 303 filled backpacks! Over 12 schools and nonprofits will receive school supplies from SOTV including Falcon Ridge MS, Woodland Hills Elementary, The Link, MOMS, Lincoln Place, LSS Refugee Services, and more. We had a trememdous turnout of volunteers to pack supplies - a total of 40 people including scouts from Troop 293 and American Heritage Girls Troop 200. This year’s Golf, Gears and Gutters for the Good (Sep. 25) will help raise funds for next year’s drive.


Sunday Breakfasts

The return of Sunday Breakfasts are dependent upon a fully staffed Kitchen and Hospitality structure of paid staff and volunteers.  We are working hard to fill the staff positions of Kitchen Coordinator and Kitchen AssistantBoth Staff and Volunteer roles are key to the success of the breakfast and fellowship ministries. Please view the full job descriptions on our Employment page and spread the word to qualified candidates. Once we are adequately staffed, we will resume Sunday Breakfast and the schedule will be communicated. Questions may be directed to Thank you for your patience!

Volunteers needed!

Block Party in Three Weeks!

All are invited to on Saturday, September 17 to join us for free food, fun games, and live music. An outdoor worship service will begin at 5pm. Help us spread the word on Facebook and join our volunteer corps!


We're listening!

Saturday Worship Survey

As we consider Saturday options this fall, we'd like to learn what you think. Please take a moment to answer a few brief questions. Thank you for your time! Begin survey.


Journeys to Tanzania: 2016 and 2017

All are invited to hear the experiences firsthand from the SOTV Ambassadors who traveled to Tanzania this July. Stories and photos will be shared. Kirsten will also give a preview of the next journey in 2017. If you have ever been interested in traveling to Tanzania, or are thinking about making a return visit, please come! The deadline for travel applications and deposits is October 15, 2016. More information on Tanzania

Look at this cute Baby Items Basket someone made this week!

"Good" Baskets Needed for Silent Auction

Our annual event Golf, Gears and Gutters for the Good will raise money for children in need. You can help add significantly to our fundraising total by donating items for our silent auction on Sunday, September 25.
Learn more

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Categories: News
Tags: Local Outreach, Tanzania, worship, Hot Breakfast, Kitchen

God and Country and Zakoskis are “Four for Four”

In May, the prestigious Four Star Award was presented to Karisa Zakoski, joining her three brothers. Four children from one family receiving the Four Star Award is very rare.

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Tags: god and country

Parish Nurses Encourage Church to "Take Their Best Shots"

We all need shots to help protect us from serious diseases. To help keep our community safe, Shepherd of the Valley is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month.

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Categories: Care, News
Tags: parish nurses

The Year of Transform Begins!

This month we will embark on “The Year of Transform” at Shepherd of the Valley, as we continue to live into our vision of “Welcome, Transform, Send.” So what exactly does Transform mean? Find out more in the August edition of the News for the Flock.


  • Transformed Lives Series
  • Zakoskis are "Four for Four"
  • Participate in Worship, Learn, Connect, and Care
  • Adult Retreat at Camp Wapo
  • Capital Fund and Finance Updates
  • Milestones and Highlights from July


Share a Transform Story of your own!

We want to hear stories of transformations big and small from our members this year—including yours! Come visit the Transform Team in the narthex on August 6 & 7 or August 27 & 28, or visit our new Transform website to be inspired by testimonials from fellow SOTV members.

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Tags: Transform

Big Things Happening in the Food Shelf!

Last month you might have noticed the addition of a gleaming new refrigerator and freezer for Our Daily Bread Food Shelf in the Shepherd Room. It is very noticeable if you’re walking by outside the Great Hall or Music Room. These big new appliances were purchased thanks to monetary donations made to the Food Shelf—thank you to everyone who made this possible!

The bigger story is the food inside our three fridges and three freezers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks to a new partnership with Cub Foods in Rosemount, we are now able to provide our clients with healthier food options including more fresh produce and meat, and dairy items. We have been receiving between 400-800 pounds each week from Cub free of charge!

The biggest story is what is yet to come. Renovations began in July to spilt the Shepherd Roominto two spaces. The Food Shelf will now have a dedicated space with a permanent room set-up. The remaining space will continue to house the Church Library, and be a waiting space for food shelf clients, and may also be scheduled for meeting space during non-food shelf hours.

Renovations will enable the Food Shelf to switch to what is known as a “Choice Model.” Currently, volunteers pre-select many of the items for our clients to take home. The new set up will allow clients to browse and shop for the food of their choosing, similar to a grocery store. The Choice Model will allow us the ability to offer healthier foods, helps our dollars go further, and creates less food waste. More info to come about the Choice Model once renovations are complete!

Please continue to show your support through donations of non-perishable items and monetary gifts (typr"food shelf" in themisc. benev. line) Volunteers are also needed in many ways on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm or 2:00 - 6:00 pm: filling orders, stocking shelves, working with our clients, and picking up food at 9:00 am from the Rosemount Cub and Kwik Trip. For more details, go to our volunteer page or contact Lisa at (952) 985-7329 or

Thank you for your generous support!

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Categories: Local Mission, News
Tags: Connect, Food Shelf

Favorite Hymn Results

The results are in! Can you guess which hymn hit #1 in the chart?

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Categories: Worship, News
Tags: music, worship

Churchgoers Awkwardly Carrying Armloads of Heavy Things

Collecting hygiene items for refugees living in Minnesota. Collection continues into August - read more

APPLE VALLEY – Keen-eyed residents have spotted scores of people awkwardly carrying large armloads into a local church during the month of July.

Lisa Loher, a longtime member and spokesperson for Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church has confirmed that people attending worship or programs at have been parking their cars and walking into the building hauling lots of bags, boxes, and containers. In fact, people sometimes come to the church with their carloads even when there are no scheduled programs happening.

"We have several collections right now to help people in the local community," Loher elaborated. "In addition to our onsite food shelf, which relies on non-perishable food donations, we are collecting school supplies for children in need until August 14, plus hygiene items for refugees and at-risk youth."

"We have a wonderful congregation of caring people always ready to help other people," said Parish Nurse Susan Ferber. "I am doing my best to remind people to lift heavy loads with their legs and wear supportive shoes!"

Our sources report that lists of these needed items can be found at church entrances and SOTV's Local Mission webpage.

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Categories: News, Connect
Tags: Local Outreach

Rick Summy Called to Serve as Senior Pastor

We are very excited and pleased to announce the Reverend Richard (Rick) Summy has been called to serve as Senior Pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.

Following a recommendation from the Call Committee, and approval from Church Council, the congregation was invited to approve this call by vote on Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 12:15 pm. The Call Committee outlined the process, shared a video greeting from Pastor Rick (see below), and took questions. The official minutes will reflect this discussion in detail and will be published on our website ( once they are completed by our Council Secretary.

With 223 people in attendance, the vote in favor of calling Pastor Rick was 98% of those present. There were 218 yes votes, 4 no votes, and 1 vote to abstain. The call to serve as Senior Pastor has been extended to Pastor Rick, and he has verbally accepted. A formal Letter of Call will now be issued.

Pastor Rick’s official start date is September 15, 2016. You can look forward to meeting him at our Fall Block Party on Saturday, September 17! He will be installed the weekend of September 24 & 25 at all services. The Reverend Louise N. Johnson, President of Wartburg Theological Seminary will preside.

Thank you for the care and support you have shown your Call Committee, Pastors, and staff leaders during this interim period. We are excited to move forward in our ministry as together, we experience the Welcome, Transformation, and Sending of Jesus Christ!

Candidate Summary

Reverend Richard (Rick) Summy is currently serving as the senior pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing, PA. He graduated from Wittenberg University and from The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Prior to serving at Atonement, Pastor Rick served at St. Luke’s, Freeland and St. Michael’s, Sellersville. He was also the Region 7 Coordinator and deployed Staff (Synodical Relations and Division for Ministry) for the ELCA. In addition, Rick was the Director of Admissions at The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

His churchwide experience includes service on the First Call Theological Education Advisory Committee and as a voting member to the 2003 Churchwide Assembly. During the 1990s he was active in leadership of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Academy of Preachers. He has led workshops on vocation and Mutual Ministry in a variety of settings.

Pastor Rick has published materials to include sermons, sermon reviews, devotional materials and articles. He was co-author of the Augsburg Fortress Senior High Outdoor Ministry Curriculum for 2007 and of Connect: Calling Faithful Leaders for a Changing World, a successful $3,000,000 grant request on behalf of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries. He wrote a chapter (“Mutual Ministry”) in the book Pastor and People: Making Mutual Ministry Work which was published by Augsburg Fortress in 2003.

Pastor Rick Summy is married to Christine Summy, who is a Spiritual Counselor at the Caron Foundation. They have two daughters, Ashley and Haley. He enjoys golf, racquetball, and is an avid sports fan. Together they share a passion for ministry which the SOTV Call Committee has been able to learn more about. This includes a genuine passion for care ministry, encouraging people to respond to God’s gifts with action and service, recovery ministry, and connecting people together in community.


Call Committee Process and Summary

Your SOTV Call Committee had the opportunity to learn about Pastor Rick’s call to ministry, his balance of “head and heart” to build relationships, leadership style, and vision for ministry. Pastor Rick is a collaborative team leader who is not afraid to make decisions with a servant heart. His passion for ministry, his desire to care for people and facilitate and develop relationships shows through in the work he has done in his previous and current calls, as well as, his discussions with the Call Committee.

Your pastors, Council leaders, and staff have also had the opportunity to meet Rick Summy and have additional conversation. The Call Committee evaluated feedback from these processes including a staff survey. Some of the observations at this time would include words such as (in no particular order): “Leader, Balanced, Relational, Confident, Caring, Good Listener”, etc.

The Call Committee had the opportunity to hear Rick preach a sermon prepared specifically for the Call Committee. In addition, the Call Committee reviewed other sermons available to them.

Based upon the interviews, discussions held, feedback and referrals received, and sermons heard and read, it is the recommendation of the Call Committee as approved by Church Council and supported by pastoral leadership, that Reverend Richard (Rick) Summy be called to serve as Senior Pastor of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.

Call Committee Members

Cheryl Seely, Co-chair
Nikki Zeches, Co-chair
Eric Bartosh
Bruce Feld
Jenny Harrits
Jennifer Maxwell
Mike Schaeffer

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Categories: News
Tags: call committee, pastoral news

A Candidate for Senior Pastor

On behalf of the SOTV Call Committee and Church Council, we are pleased to announce a candidate has been recommended and approved to serve as Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church! A special meeting of the congregation is being called to hold a vote to approve the congregational call of the Senior Pastor candidate.  Everyone is encouraged to attend, and all confirmed members of SOTV are invited to vote. You must be present to vote.

Sunday, July 17, 2016
12:15 pm Immediately Following Worship
Location: Sanctuary

If the congregation votes affirmatively, a Letter of Call is extended and a timeline for arrival to SOTV will be confirmed.

To maintain confidentiality, we are waiting to release specific candidate information until July 7, 2016. At that time, an email update, including a video introduction from the Senior Pastor candidate, will be sent to members subscribed to our "Weekly Devotion" or "Special Congregation Alerts" email lists. If you're not sure if you receive these emails already, manage your preferences here. Information will also be available on-site at SOTV.

Thank you for all the care and support you have shown your Call Committee, Pastors, and staff leaders. We look forward to sharing more information soon and seeing you at the meeting!

Your partners in ministry,

The Senior Pastor Call Committee:  
Cheryl Seely & Nikki Zeches (Co-Chairs), Eric Bartosh, Bruce Feld,
Jenny Harrits, Jennifer Maxwell, and Mike Schaeffer


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Tags: call committee, pastoral news

July 2016 Newsletter

The News for the Flock has transformed into a monthly publication! The July issue is now available at church and for download online.


The Year of Welcome in Review

Pastoral Call Update & Congregation Vote

Annual Meeting Recap

Featured Ministry: School Supply Drive

Knowing Our Neighbors

Journey to Tanzania

Your Capital Gifts at Work: June Edition

July Volunteer Needs

June Milestones

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Categories: Monthly, News
Tags: call committee, pastoral news, capital campaign, Local Outreach, Tanzania

Annual Meeting Recap

On Sunday, June 5, 2016, the congregation gathered together with enthusiasm to learn about the current state of the church and its continued success in the future. President Jenny Harrits welcomed the 138 members of the congregation in attendance and thanked them for demonstrating their interest in, and support of, the ministries of Shepherd of the Valley. She then led the assembly in an opening prayer.

President’s Report

Jenny focused her President’s Report on how SOTV has been living into its Vision and Mission, and the year-ling emphasis on “Welcome.” The video below was shown to the assembly, highlighting events and programs from the past year.

Jenny reviewed some plans for the coming year’s emphasis on Transformation.  In the fall, a series of sermons will describe the meaning of transformation and how it plays a role in our lives as Christians. The lectionary for services will include Biblical references to transformation.  There will be three forums during the year that highlight transformational experiences and testimonials will be shared by SOTV members throughout the year in various ways.

Jenny provided an update on the process involved in calling a senior pastor for SOTV.  She said there is no announcement, at this time, concerning a selected candidate.  However, it was reported that two candidates have now taken part in a third, expanded interview session, and discussions and discernment will continue in the coming weeks, and the committee asks members to support them with their prayers.

Vice President’s Report

Vice President Paul Keller acknowledged the great leadership of Pastors Randy Brandt and Duane Paetznick and the amazing dedication and service of the interim pastors, Ron Olson, Maggie Novak, and Wendy Steger. Paul thanked the members of our many leadership teams for their work, and described the new Send Team being formed this year. Paul gave a special tribute to Troy Nelson for his 12 years of service on the Finance Team, and eight years as Council Treasurer.

Paul reminded the members that Shepherd of the Valley is one of the larger ELCA congregations, nationally. He said this means we rely on a staff of people that are very committed to the many programs and ministries, often providing extra inspired effort.  Paul added that the staff cannot meet all the demands of the ministries without a deep concentration of volunteers. All of the SOTV programs are magnificently supported by the time, effort, talents, resources and gifts of a large group of volunteers.

Treasurer’s Report

A balanced budget for 2016-17 was presented by Treasurer Troy Nelson. He stated that the beginning General Fund balance this past year was $614,745. The adopted budget showed in income of $2,498,000, and expenses of 2,670,000, resulting in a predicted deficit of $172,000.

Troy said SOTV is completing the current fiscal year quite differently from the adopted budget, due in part to some open personnel positions. On the basis of income to date, the projected total for this fiscal year is $2,429,517.  On the basis of the current total expenses, the projected balance of the General Fund will be $631,986, which is $17,241 more than the balance at the beginning of the year.

Troy stated that the message shared at last year’s meeting was that SOTV needs to adopt a balanced budget for fiscal year 2016-2017. He said considerable work this past year by an Advisory Team working with the administration, H.R., the Finance Team, the staff, and the council, resulted in the balanced budget now being recommended for approval. The budget uses the same projected income for the current year, $2,498,574. To balance the budget, projected personnel expense was adjusted by reallocating hours and duties, in some cases to cover vacated positions. 

Troy directed attention to the Capital Fund, which receives Capital Campaign gifts, along with gifts designated for the Building Fund. Troy expressed his gratitude that $966,420 has already been gifted. He said at this rate, SOTV should have its mortgage paid in full by December of 2020, saving about $1,900,000 in interest. Though there is no way to predict the amount or timing of campaign gifts, Troy said $902,300 is the planned income for the Capital Fund.  He said all of this income will be spent according to the allocation determined by the council each month. Currently, 80% of the funds are applied to debt reduction, 15% to building and facilities, and 5% to Benevolence for outreach. 

Election of Council Members

Katie Ellis, Michael Schaeffer, and Paula Swiggum were elected to the three open council positions for the coming year.  All candidates for council membership have gone through the nomination process by completing an application, reviewed and approved by the Nominations Team.  New officers were also elected: Paul Keller, President; Michael Kelly, Vice President;  and Michael Schaeffer, Treasurer. Jenny Harrits will serve in the Past President position.

After answering several questions posed by members present, the meeting was adjourned.

The complete official minutes and related documents are available on our Council page. Please direct any remaining questions to

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Tags: council

Knowing Our Neighbors

A group of SOTV members spent a recent day with Lutheran Social Services learning about refugees and immigrants who are now our Minnesota neighbors. It was truly a holy experience - and one worth sharing.

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Categories: Learn, Local Mission
Tags: Knowing Our Neighbors, Racial Reconciliation

Responding to the Violence in Orlando

What do we, as people of the Christian faith who live in Minnesota do with the news of the mass killings in Orlando?

As of Wednesday June 15, we know that because one man decided to go on a rampage of violence, 50 people are dead, 53 people are hospitalized,  many more  injured, and countless number of people whose lives will never be the same.

In our nation’s capital there was a moment of silence for the victims and their families. Some people walked out during this time of silence saying it was time to stop being respectfully silent and time for action. I would agree and disagree. Silence in and of itself does very little. At best, a pause in our busy lives for remembering the victims makes us mindful of the tragedy that occurred and that real people were involved. This can lead to a gamut of emotions that can in turn lead to actions but not always God-ly actions.

Taking time to be silent and pray – that is the beginning of real action. God does listen to our cries, enters into our time and space, and makes a difference. There are many things to pray for during this time of discernment and healing and many ways to pray.

Shepherd of the Valley, along with 12 other faith communities, will participate in #OneLight Candlelight Vigil of Hope on Sunday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Festival Grounds Pavilion in Eagan. You are invited to join us as ONE community to respond with love and light against fear and hatred.

Let me suggest one additional way you might make a difference in the lives of the families and friends of those who have lost a loved one in this carnage. 

Many newspapers and websites have published the names of those who have died, along with photos and brief bios. Here is an example from USA Today and one from NPR, but feel free to choose your own favorite news source.

Choose one person. Sit in a position in which your hands are palms up. First, thank God for the life of this person and for the gift they were to those who loved and cared for them. Second, imagine holding in your arms those who are  mourning the loss of that person. Ask God to help bear the load of grief for all those who love this person. Imagine God’s arms supporting your arms. Ask for healing, peace and direction in the lives of the people who are grieving. Ask God to provide for their needs and not what you think they might need.

Close your prayer time by handing over all the burdens and people to God. Imaging God embracing you with God’s healing love.

I would encourage you to pray for at least a month for one or two families. So often after the initial shock of a tragedy has worn offwe forget about our brothers and sisters in need and stop praying for them. Let us not forget, nor keep silent, let us pray and make a difference.

Pastor Maggie Novak
Interim Pastor


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Categories: News, Worship
Tags: Prayer