|With the very uplifting 40thAnniversary Service, the exuberant congregational singing and the excellent dedicatory organ concert by Douglas Schroeder behind us, we now embark on our forty-first year of ministry of uplifting up Jesus Christ in Horseshoe Bend. Where the Lord is leading us in ministry we need to continue “to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our understanding, acknowledging Him in all our ways, and let Him direct our paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
During the past year the number of children in our congregation has decreased which is changing how we minister in Sunday School and the Youth Group. We continue to encourage the children we do have at Shepherd of the Hills to keep growing in their faith and we may have to do it in new and different ways. We also need to reach out to those families and children in our area that have no church home.
Since my trip in late July to Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I attended the 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Class of 1964 of the former Concordia Senior College, we are now getting involved in an outreach to the homebound or shut-ins. During some free time before the evening banquet I took a self-guided tour down memory lane and as I passed by my old dormitory village I came across a new building complex labeled “Lutheran Ministries Media, Inc. – Worship for Shut-ins.” In the Lord’s timing a gentleman was just locking up and asked if I would like to come in and get a tour through the facility as the staff was still working inside. I am glad I did. They lead me through the recording studio and showed me its equipment and then to the chapel where the services were recorded both for the preachers and the guest choirs and musicians. They explained they feed the recorded worship services via satellite hook ups in the US to outlets like Direct TV and Dish Network and globally and also on 40 local TV stations in the US. They also have a website where individuals can access the weekly “Worship for Shut-ins.” Their newest program, “Preach and Reach,” was recently given an $80,000 grant from the International Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. In this program the weekly 30 minute “Worship for Shut-ins” is recorded on a DVD and sent a partnering congregation to be duplicated and given to shut-ins whether at home, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Each week a different pastor reads the Scripture lessons for the Sunday and gives a sermon on one of the lessons for the day. In addition various choirs throughout the US are recorded at the studio and up to four different selections are in the 30 minute service. Some of our members have already benefited from this program since we signed up for it the beginning of September. As per the agreement with the LWML, the program is free for the next year if we deliver a DVD weekly to a nursing or assisted living facility, otherwise the charge is $10 per week.
As we begin the month of October we are in the process of setting up a weekly showing of the DVD at Crown Point Health and Rehab Center here in Horseshoe Bend. We are trying set up a schedule of volunteers to do it once a week every two months. This would take 8 volunteers to make one trip to the Nursing Home in a two month period. The goal is to show it at 11 a.m. on Wednesday mornings before the noon meal. In the very near future we will be recruiting volunteers to set up this schedule. Don and Karen Reedstrom have volunteered to recruit volunteers. If you are at all interested, please contact them. We hope to have this going by the middle of October. If you or loved one, an unchurched neighbor or friend has a DVD player and could benefit from this new emerging ministry, please contact me or the church office. Each week we have been making copies from the DVD master they send us . The Lord has promised to bless His Word as it goes forth and to prosper it.
God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure
Throughout all generations.
Text: Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1783–1872; tr. Ole G. Belsheim, 1861–1925, alt., Public domain