Are We Being Tested? – First Sunday In Lent – 2/21/21

When facing adverse circumstances, some people claim they are being “tested” by God.  Is that true according to the Biblical testimony?  Is God testing us..or are circumstances themselves testing us?  Join Pastor Jack as he unpacks this Biblical principle.


Unfortunately, we can not meet for soup and bread supper and mid-week worship during this time of pandemic. We will miss this special time together, but included here are 40 family conversation cards that you could use daily throughout the Lenten season.

Youth Lenten Devotional App

A space has been created for youth to reflect and pray this Lenten season. Each day will include scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a pop art image. Six different people contributed to the devotional, so the reflections will vary a bit in style, and the word “I” will refer to a different person in one day’s devotion than it will in the next day’s entry. All the Bible quotes in this devotional come from the Gospel of Mark.
Click here for instructions:

In addition, there are many print Lenten devotionals available in the church narthex. If you are unable to get to church but would like “curbside pickup”, please call the church office and we can describe what is available and make arrangements for a pick up time that is convenient.


This Week’s Bulletin

Kid’s Celebrate Bulletin

Spark Worship Bulletin (Pre-Reader) 

Announcements for Feb. 21

New Link for Zoom Bible Study, Wed. at noon

Meeting ID: 829 4727 4304
Passcode: 002314

Faith Together At Home
(Faith Formation Activities)

The congregational council has reorganized. Many thanks to all who have agreed to serve!
President: JD Allen
Vice President: Emery Malasits
Treasurer: Brett Maynard
Recording Secretary: Celeste Bethmann
Financial Secretary: Steve Lewandowski
Property: Patrick Wood
Nurture (Worship & Music): Wendy Whipple
Social Ministry: Diane Fitzpatrick
Diane Terhune
Jeff Behling

TECHNOLOGY GRANT – We are pleased to announce that SOTH has received a $2,000.00 grant from the NJ Synod to purchase equipment needed to enhance our live streaming services!

HELP IS NEEDED IN OUR CONTROL ROOM – Sunday morning assistance is needed for audio, visual, and internet streaming…let’s proclaim the Gospel near and far.  Training joyfully provided! Contact Patrick Wood:

THRIVENT CHOICE DOLLARS –Eligible Thrivent customers can direct their Choice Dollars to SOTH by visiting In the past donations received in this way have totaled over $1,000. per year. Click or contact W. Whipple in the office for assistance.

FOUND MONEY? – Some of us have recently received government stimulus checks. Please pray about sharing a portion of this gift with your local faith community, with other social services organizations, or local businesses to assist those in need. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

BULLETIN PRAYER LIST – Please check the current list and send any corrections and/or additions to the church office.

CHURCH DIRECTORY – In an effort to maintain contact with our church community, we are updating our church membership directory.  Please watch your email for a preliminary directory that will be emailed to all members who are included, requesting confirmation of the information before the directory is distributed in its final form. If you do not want your information shared with our members, please call or email the church office

PLEASE CALL AHEAD- before venturing a trip to the church office. Office hours are subject to change especially during the winter months.

SPARTA ECUMENICAL FOOD PANTRY – Please remember that a shopping cart is located in the narthex for donations to our local food pantry.  The pantry has been serving an unprecedented number of our area residents during this challenging time.


Click here to find out how you can donate to SOTH when you shop on Amazon.  We have raised in $203.89 to date!
BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY –Continues in person at Holy Trinity Church or via Zoom, the first and third Wednesdays from noon-12:45. Join Pastor Jack for a lively discussion of the Bible. No prior experience necessary! Click here to join us via Zoom. 

AT-HOME COMMUNION KITS – If you are worshiping with us from home and would like a communion kit, please contact the church office and arrangements can be made for you to receive the number you would like.

God’s work. Our hands.
God’s work. Our hands Sunday has passed, but the needs of these various organizations continue. Please consider one or more of the following. 1) For Lutheran World Relief
Personal Care Kits consisting of 1 lightweight bath towel (20” x 40” to 52” x 27”) dark color, 2-3 bath-size bars of soap in original wrapping, 1 adult size toothbrush in original packaging, 1 sturdy comb no packaging, 1 metal nail clipper, no packaging. for reference if needed.  2) Donation to the Lutheran Disaster Response,  can be designated to a specific disaster on the check memo line. 3)  The Sparta Ecumenical Food Pantry.  Donations can be mailed to 32 Main St. Sparta, NJ  07871 or if you prefer to donate food items, place them in the shopping cart at SOTH. 4).Connect for Community is a very worthy organization. Donations can be placed in the collection plates, made out to the organization.
Volunteer Opportunities:  More hands are needed to make light work.  No prior skills necessary to help your church in these ways:
1. Bring in items for” God’s Work our Hands” organizations.

2. Serve on the church audit team.

3. Serve on Church Council.

4.. Become a Sunday worship servant.

5. Sing in the choir (post-COVID)

6. Help to run a parish activity (post-COVID)

7.  Join the volunteer church office staff.

8. Organize Faith Formation opportunities by serving as the FF Superintendent.

9. Prep a meal for the Trinity Faith Kitchen.

Please email the church office at or call 973-729-7010 for more information!

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Our mailing address is:

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

246 Woodport Road

Sparta Township, NJ 07871

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