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Year of Send - Putting Feet to Our Faith

Happy New Year! Our challenge as a congregation this year has been to think about and act upon, even more, how we are Sent to share the good news by serving others and sharing our faith. At the half way mark in the year, we can look back at what we have done and look forward to more events in the new year of 2018

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Categories: News, Year of SEND
Tags: Year of Send, spiritual gifts

What Do I Need to Know About the Year of Send?

There will be an All Church Serve Together event at SOTV on November 19th, 2017 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. This is a great activity for families and people of all ages! The time will include: stuffing and sewing toys; re-packaging diapers; counting, sorting and tying sock and underwear bundles; color quilt blocks that will become blankets; tour the food shelf and more.

Top 10 ways to stay involved during the year of send: (Information from October newsletter)

1) The Spiritual gifts inventory (found online on the Send web page on the SOTV website) will tell me what my strongest spiritual gifts are so I can put them to use in service to others.

2) I can register my top 5 spiritual gifts on the Send web page after taking the inventory and I will be sent service opportunities to consider that fit those gifts.

3) The “feet” on the large green banner in the narthex represent service that members have done and will do as the year progresses. The peel and stick “feet” are found at the Welcome Desk, Spotlight table and in a basket near the banner.

4) The FaithConnect “God’s Purpose, My Purpose” adult education series with Pastor Wendy starts Monday September 25 for 6 weeks and I can sign up online or at the Welcome Center.

5) I can plan to attend the all-congregation, inter-generational service event at SOTV on Sunday, November 19 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm.

6) I can attend December forums with special guests that focus on service and the benefits to myself and others.

7) I can plan to participate in a community-wide Feed My Starving Children event during the week of January 29 - February 3.

8) I can plan to wear my “Putting Feet to Our Faith” T-shirt anytime, but especially when involved in a service event. If I don’t have one yet, I can plan to purchase one at church.

9) I can watch for further events planned for winter/spring 2018.

10) I can prayerfully consider how I can show the love of Jesus in serving others

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 
1 Corinthians 12:4-7

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A Hunger for Learning

Jane and I have experienced many Bible studies, book studies, men’s groups, women’s groups, the race group, and Sunday Forums. They have all provided us the “pearls of wisdom” that increase our understanding of our faith, give us the ability to “go in peace and serve the Lord” and improve our ability and awareness to participate in the conversations of the day.

It’s been a while since we were confirmed. Some points weren’t understood at that time, others have been misfiled, and others have dimmed over time. The study groups that SOTV facilitates have provided answers to our questions and refreshed our memories. Discussions of what the context of the words meant at the time they were spoken, the use of “remez” and just reading the chapters of the Bible have increased our understanding.

Similarly, the books we have read on purposeful living, race, prayer, different religions, grace, etc., have all increased our awareness and understanding of these subjects.

So, we recommend participating in SOTV’s groups studying the Bible, social issues, and Christian issues if you are searching for:

  • answers to your faith questions
  • good friends you enjoy being with
  • ways to encourage your mind to think
  • the ability to participate in today’s conversations
  • some very good pastries and treats

 We hope to see you at a learning event soon!

-Ken Syverson


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Categories: News, Learn
Tags: Year of Send

Putting Feet to our Faith

Keeping true to our Vision at Shepherd of the Valley, in the past two years, we have focused on being Welcomed into the fellowship of Christ, and have been Transformed by his Spirit and Word. We now focus on our mission and opportunity to be Sent to love and serve others. This August begins our year of SEND at Shepherd of the Valley. Our theme is “Putting Feet to our Faith.”

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?’ And ‘Who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I, send me!’ ”  Isaiah 6:8

Service opportunities abound within our families, our church, our neighborhoods and beyond to the world. All of us have spiritual gifts, given by God to do his work in the world. We will be encouraged to complete a Spiritual Gifts Assessment, and be empowered to live out our mission using those gifts to serve others. As a congregation we will encourage one another by serving together, serving inter-generationally and finding new opportunities to share God’s love in service.

Our church family has been very active in the area of service. With a particular emphasis this year on continuing that expression of God’s love, you are encouraged to think about ways you and your family can reach out and serve, using your spiritual gifts to share God’s love and caring. Monthly events will focus on service and everyone will be invited to participate as they are able. 

“Then they answered Joshua, ‘Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go.’ ” Joshua 1:16

 Welcome to the Year of Send!

-Paula Swiggum


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Categories: News, Connect
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Summer Immersion Experiences

Sarah Bane, Youth Director

Sarah Bane, Youth Director

With vehicles packed, hugs given to parting travelers, and seats carefully picked for the journey ahead, anticipation mounts. Will I have fun this week? Am I going to make any new friends? Is serving others going to be scary?

As the questions swirled in the minds of all those called to participate in a Summer Immersion Experience through Shepherd of the Valley this past summer, participants didn’t even realize that God had already started a good work among us! That good work was and continues to be the transformational impact of the Holy Spirit who faithfully shows up when we are sent from SOTV – or better yet, graciously reminds us that she’s always been there.

This summer, SOTV sent over 300 people of all ages from our congregation to Camp Wapo in Amery, Wisconsin; to the Pine Ridge Reservation in Wanblee, South Dakota; to Panama City, Florida for Beach Camp; to Duluth, Minnesota; and locations all throughout the twin cities metro area for Summer Stretch. Through relationships, reflection, and service, participants discovered the ways in which God is already at work in the world; noticing how God has always and continually transforms hearts, gently pointing us back to the hope of the cross. I had the pleasure and privilege of getting to lead a group of high school students to the Pine Ridge Reservation in Wanblee, South Dakota this summer through the YouthWorks organization. Our week included worship, devotion, fellowship, running a Kid’s Club for area kids to have structured playtime, and working on various home improvement projects, like painting and constructing pergolas. The beauty of the week wasn’t necessarily in seeing the progress made in our respective service projects, but in experiencing firsthand the history and stories of the Pine Ridge people who by the power of God’s love transformed us.

As a leader, it was a humbling experience to see how much bigger and more complicated the world became for the students participating on the Pine Ridge trip. Even more incredible was witnessing how this big and complicated world still holds so much hope! Thank you for your prayers on behalf of all of our Summer Immersion experiences this past summer. And thank you, also, for lending a listening ear to our travelers as they came home to share their experiences. As another summer comes to a close, it is with a deep gratitude that I look back in awe of how great our God is.    

Sarah Bane


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The Year of SEND

Last month, my husband and daughter took a weekend trip to the family lake place, just the two of them. The weather wasn’t going to be great, but they had plans to fish and enjoy the lake anyway.

About a day into their trip, I got this text: “Look what we found!” It was a monarch caterpillar. Together, father and daughter located a jar and some extra milkweed, and made a home for “Ralphie.” Ralphie traveled to Eagan, where he ate some more milkweed in his home-sweet-jar, until he spun himself into a chrysalis.

Just last Sunday, I got another text: “Ralphie’s all grown up!!” We set Ralphie free, and he flew only a very short distance before he stopped to rest on the chimney of our house. He flapped his wings, but he just wasn’t flying anywhere. He was still getting used to having wings, I suppose. My daughter and I watched him until we got bored, but eventually we went inside. About an hour later, I just had to check on Ralphie again - he was gone! Maybe he was off to find his monarch buddies, or to start making plans for his fall migration to Mexico. But mostly, he was unleashed into the world, to share his beauty with the rest of God’s creation.

Like Ralphie, each one of us has beauty to share with the world. God created each of us for a purpose, and God has created wonderful ways for us to love and serve our neighbor. When we worship. learn, and find connections here at Shepherd of the Valley, it is a beautiful, life-giving thing. Each of us is strengthened for our life’s journey by experiencing God’s love through Jesus Christ. But ultimately, we are strengthened for a purpose. Like Ralphie, each of us is sent into the world to share something beautiful with others. And like Ralphie, we might flap our wings for a while, thinking we aren’t headed anywhere. But God has given you strong and mighty wings. You are sent to be God’s love, light, and beauty for the world.

This year at Shepherd of the Valley, we are beginning the Year of Send and focusing on the theme “Putting Feet to our Faith.” As a congregation, we share God’s love through our many ministries, as well as through the numerous things each of us do individually to serve Christ in our daily lives. During the Year of Send (see below), we will highlight those things we are already doing, and we will also add some new ministries to help unleash even more of Christ’s love into the world.

Join us for for our fall sermon series, “Putting Feet to Our Faith,” and our new fall adult education option called FaithConnect, which will explore spiritual gifts and the topic, “God’s Purpose, My Purpose” (see p. 10). You are also invited to join us for a community forum on August 10 from 6:30 to 8:00 PM to address the next steps toward establishing an emergency homeless shelter in Dakota County (see p. 7).

One other important way we are sent to share God’s love is by inviting others into supportive Christian community. So, I encourage you to invite your friends, neighbors, and family to our new Sunday evening casual, family-friendly worship service called Breaking Bread (see p. 11), as well as our annual Block Party on September 16. (see p. 5)

Each of us is uniquely blessed with particular gifts for serving Christ and sharing God’s love with the world. Just like Ralphie was transformed from caterpillar to butterfly, each of us is transformed by Christ. And like Ralphie, we each have been given wings to fly; we are sent into the world to share God’s amazing love.

Wendy Steger
Connect Pastor

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