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SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS LUTHERAN CHURCH is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Our focus is on worship, music and Christian education, thereby encouraging members to apply Biblical truths to daily living; creating a faith active in our lives. 

Our VISION is to grow disciples of Jesus who will change the world helps us to continue a strong ministry of reaching out to the community while keeping an open and friendly acceptance of all people everywhere.

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Our MISSION is to

LOVE people wherever they are 

LIVE the Grace of God in Jesus Christ

GROW in faith and service.

"Belonging, Welcoming, Fellowship, Integrity"

History of the Church

After a survey to determine the need for a new American Lutheran Church in the community of McHenry, the American Lutheran Church began construction of a church edifice and fellowship room on November 1, 1964.  It was the policy of the church at that time to build the original unit for a mission congregation and then call a Pastor to serve.


On May 1, 1965, Pastor Donald Johnson and Parish Worker Janice Wick arrived to begin a ministry in McHenry.  The first worship service was held on June 13, 1965.  The first meeting of the Steering Committee of the congregation was held on August 29, 1965, with the following committee members:  Louis Draeger, John Flint, George Kammerer Jr., Robert Petersen and James Widen.


On September 19, 1965, the congregation was organized with Dr. Elmer A. Nelson, the Illinois District President, conducting the meeting.  The Constitution and Mission Agreement were accepted.  The original unit of the church was dedicated on December 5, 1965.


In the fall of 1968, Pastor Donald Johnson received a call to serve as the regional mission’s director.  In the spring of 1969, the second building program was completed.  Pastor Roger Schneider accepted the Letter of Call to serve Shepherd of the Hills and arrived on the field on April 13, 1969. The congregation entered into the internship program for training future pastors in 1973 and assisted the church at large by training sixteen interns over a period of years.  On March 1st, 2016, Pastor Roger Schneider retired.  Pastor Thomas E. Rogers Jr. accepted the Letter of Call on April 11, 2017, and continued to serve as pastor until August 31, 2022.  On September 1, 2022 Pastor Robert C. Kinnear accepted the role of Intentional Interim and continues in this position.


During its history, the parish has also been served by six parish workers including Janice Wick, Kristin Stuhr, Kim Rehfeldt, Jenell Brust, Rene May, and Fred Eichberger.  Seven part-time assisting pastors including Pastors Art Knudsen, Clifton Kittleson, Norb Meyer, Ed Schmidt, Mark Bergman, Charles Miller, and Robert Hereth served the congregation over a period of years.


In 1979, a Forward Planning Committee was formed to study the needs of the parish.  From this study developed a building committee, headed by Dr. Jerry Lingeman, charged with building a new sanctuary in 1980.  In the planning phase interest rates were at 8% but when it became time to go out for bids interest rates rose to 16%.  The congregation sold loan certificates to its members at 10% to finance the building and they were all purchased within a three-week period.  The new sanctuary was dedicated on May 31, 1981, with Dr. Ehme Osterbur, Bishop of the Illinois District of the American Lutheran Church participating.


The new sanctuary was paid off within seven years and in 1987 the congregation immediately entered into its fourth building program to build the education unit.  The education unit was built for two thirds of the cost estimates of the architects interviewed.  This was achieved because the congregation accepted the challenge of painting, hanging doors, installing carpets, etc.  Financing provided by McHenry Savings Bank helped make this project possible. 


As a congregation of the ELCA, Shepherd of the Hills has a vision for the future and has set goals to move into that Future.  Seeking God’s guidance, the congregation hopes to move on from one success to another.  We have been among the fifty to one hundred fastest growing parishes in the Lutheran Church.  The congregation seeks to meet people where they are and help them grow. 


An active Sunday School program, youth groups, and various music groups are examples of the ministry vitality of Shepherd of the Hills’ congregation.  Literally hundreds of talented and committed lay persons participate in the wide variety of programs and opportunities for service provided by the congregation’s ministries. 


Shepherd of the Hills plays an important role in McHenry and the surrounding communities.  Our Benevolence program provides food and monetary support for those in need throughout the year, as well as special programs at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, offering meals for families and presents for children.  The Before & After School Care and Summer Camp programs are a safe and healthy environment for children needing day care.  The Bright Beginnings Preschool program builds a strong foundation for the preschooler’s academic future.


We thank God for the many blessings granted to SOTH during its history.  We pray for God’s continued blessing upon this congregation and the Disciples of Jesus who come together here.  As the Disciples of Jesus, we seek to be faithful in the ministry of Word and Sacrament through and from which the service ministries grow.

History of the Church
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 Pastor Rob

Pastor Rob
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Our Staff

Director of Children &

Family Ministries

Heather Castaing

Finance Director

Cristy Karaba

Parish Coordinator

Jenelle Buchert

Preschool Director

Jennifer Walker


Before & After School Director

Ashley Metcalf

Our Staff
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