We are the Church

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church is part of a larger body of Lutherans that share the faith in North America called Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and part of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Who are we as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America? Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton says, "We are church together." Shepherd of the Hills is part of the ECLA   - we hope you join us together.

Timeline from this Church's beginnings

  • June 1981 -  Frank and Flo Henderson advertised and invited area Lutherans to a July Fourth picnic.  Fourteen people responded and eight of these attended the first worship service in the Henderson home on July 19th. 

  • January 1982 -  After meeting at the Henderson home for six months, worship services were moved to the Community Room of the Ducktown Bank in McCaysville.

  • June 1982 - Seeking a more central location, the worshipers moved to the Blue Ridge City Hall. In the early years, worship services used taped music and sermons with lay preachers and visiting Lutheran pastors filling in. 

  • October 1982 - Pastor Richard Freseman arrived to organize the group. 

  • February 1985 - The congregation received its charter.

  • June 1985 - The first called pastor, Rev. Roy Stackpole, was installed.

  • January 1986- the current church site of 4.7 acres on Forge Mill Road at its intersection with APD 515 was purchased. 

  • September 1986 - The house on the property was remodeled by members and friends and was dedicated as a church.

  • September 1989 - A 32 foot extension on the sanctuary was added.

  • January 1988 - With the merger of three Lutheran bodies, Shepherd of the Hills became part of the Evangelical Luthran Church in America.

  • August 1991 -  Rev. Paul Reyelts accepted the church's call and began serving as Pastor.

  • 1995-  A building committee was selected, building plans were studied and a successful stewardship and capital funds raising campaign was conducted.  The decision was made to use the ELCA Mission Builders with Gary Johnson serving as foreman of the project.  The congregation also voted to discontinue ELCA's subsidy and became self-supporting.

  • January 1996 -  approval for the construction of a new 2,835 square foot worship center with seating for 214 people was granted.  A lower level hall with kitchen facilities was an added bonus.

  • February 1996 - The Mission Builders team of seven couples from seven different states arrived.   Building Chairman Gene Hamaker, Pastor Reyelts and many volunteers from the congregation helped them demolish most of the old building.  The remainder of the old building was remodeled into offices, library, meeting rooms and upstairs kitchen. 

  • February 25, 1996 - Groundbreaking

  • September 15, 1996 - Church Dedication. When Pastor Reyelts retired, Pastor William Martin served the congregation for 18 months as interim until Pastor William McKinney accepted the call to pastor.  When he left, Pastor Ben Moravitz served as interim. 

  • October 2006 -  Rev. Cheryl Kester-Schmidt accepted the call to be our Pastor as her first call.  Rev. Cheryl has since accepted a call to a Texas congregation

  • 2010 - celebrated our 25th Anniversary

  • August 2014 - we are being served by Interim Pastor, Rev. Deryck Durston.

  • June 28th, 2015 Pastor Deryck's last day as Interim shepherd and transition service for Pastor Jim Kroninger.

  • July 2015 - Pastor Jim Kroninger begins with SHLC.

  • July 2016- 1 year anniversary with Pastor Jim as our Shepherd