A Brief 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 the 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 missions 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. 

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

Growing Through Change

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 went into a fourth building program to build the education unit. The education unit was built for two thirds of the cost estimated by all of the architects interviewed because the church members worked evenings and weekends to paint, hang doors, install carpets, etc. The education unit was financed with a loan from McHenry Savings Bank. 

Looking to the Future

Shepherd of the Hills has always had a vision for the future and has set goals. We have always tried to move on from one success to another asking for God's guidance.  We have been among the fifty to one hundred fastest growing parishes in the Lutheran Church. The church has as its motto "A Church That Cares" and tries to meet people where they are at and help them grow. Five hundred Sunday School children, three youth groups, nine choirs and music groups, and many dedicated Stephen Ministers are simply examples of the vitality of our church. Literally hundreds of talented and committed lay persons participate in the wide variety of programs and opportunities for service provided by our church program. We thank God for his many blessings upon our church during its fifty year history and we pray His continued blessings upon our congregation in the future as we are faithful in our ministry of Word and Sacrament. 






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Pastor Thomas E. Rogers Jr.

and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

Welcome You!


404 N. Green Street, McHenry, IL 60050

Our Mission is to LOVE people wherever they are, LIVE the Grace of God in Jesus Christ, and GROW in faith and service

(Ratified on Sunday, January 26th, 2020 at our Annual Meeting.)

We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about our worship services, sacraments, children’s ministries, adult programs and more!

We hope to see you soon!