Nothing Scary About Unconditional Love – Reformation Sunday 10/31/21

Nothing Scary About Unconditional Love

Planning anything scary on October 31 this year? Over 500 years ago, the Christian church was a scary institution…frightening its members with the threat of divine punishment, hell fires, etc.  But along came Rev. Martin Luther, who, on October 31, 1517 re-awakened the church to the true message of the New Testament:  In Christ we find God’s love, reconciliation, and grace…not divine judgment and condemnation.  Join Pastor Jack for his sermon, “Nothing Scary About Unconditional Love” as he details all this on Reformation Sunday(Oct. 31) …a day when we will also celebrate the rite of confirmation!  Don’t miss it!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CONFIRMANDS and their families – Adrian David Applebaum and Ty Joshua Dreifus affirmed their baptismal covenants on 10/31.

NEW OFFICE HOURS – Effective immediately, the church office will open at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. Weekly hours are: Monday and Thursday: 10 – 2 p.m. Tuesdays 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Please call before coming to the church office at any time to be sure we are open.

FOOD DRIVE – We are pleased to announce that over 500 items have been collected for the Thrivent project and will be donated to the Sparta Community Food Bank.

VENDOR/CRAFT FAIR – Many thanks to Barbara Osborne and all of her volunteers for a most successful event.

CONFIRMATION CLASSES will now be on Thurs. evenings, once a month from 7-7:45  on  Zoom.  Classes are scheduled for:  Nov. 4, Dec. 2, Jan. 6, Feb. 3, Mar. 3 and April 7.

BLOOD DRIVE was held on Thursday, Oct, 28. Many thanks to Jeff Behling for organizing and to all of those who donated or volunteered.

CONSECRATION SUNDAY – please join us on 11/14 for two special events: worship and a catered celebration brunch immediately following worship. If you have not already reserved your spot, please complete a card at worship or call or email the church office. Our goal is to have every member and regular worship attendee present.

 IT’S TURKEY TIME! – We are once again partnering with Project Self Sufficiency to provide Thanksgiving meals to 20 families here in Sussex County. Diane F. and her team are in need of monetary donations and folks to deliver on Sunday, Nov. 21 after church. There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex for deliverers and checks made to SOTH with PSS on memo line would be appreciated.

WREATH FUNDRAISER – Orders were due on October 24, 2021 but do not despair as there are often extras. Wreaths will be delivered the week of November 22nd and will be available for pickup Sunday November 28th. This is to help raise money for the Thanksgiving food baskets.


YOUR HELP IS NEEDED – CONTROL ROOM HELP, OFFICE VOLUNTEERS, COFFEE HOUR HOSTS, FINANCIAL COUNTERS, DEACONS AND USHERS are all needed. Training joyfully provided. If someone calls to recruit you, please prayerfully consider how YOU can serve.  You can always volunteer by contacting the office.

SUNDAY SCHOOL HAS EXPANDED– We are now welcoming children ages 4 (must be toilet trained) – grade 5 during the 9 AM worship service. Please contact the church office if you would like to help or register your child.  Teachers and assistants are needed!  Masks required of all participants.  No prior experience necessary!

MASKS NO LONGER REQUIRED  FOR VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS–Unvaccinated are asked to wear masks. Click HERE to see all of the decisions made at the June 28 council meeting.

ARE YOU A THRIVENT MEMBER?  If so, you can request two, $250.00 grants per year for programs here at SOTH.  These grants come in the form of gift cards, and have been used in the past to supplement funds supporting the Trinity Faith Kitchen, Rally Day picnic, Thanksgiving baskets, etc.  If you would like to learn more about how you can help, please contact Wendy in the church office.

MASKS AND GLOVES REQUIRED –of everyone using the Church kitchen regardless of your vaccination status as per a congregational council resolution passed on 8/23/21.

COFFEE HOUR  has returned! We are looking for volunteers to host this fellowship time. Duties include: putting on coffee, serving beverages and providing an optional snack of your choice. In order to be better stewards of God’s creation, we are asking folks to bring their own re-usable coffee cup to use and take home. Please sign up on the sheet in the narthex.

WWW.SOTHNJ.ORG – The church’s website is the place to look for upcoming events. Please consult the calendar there. The weekly email can be found under News at the bottom of the home page.

STREAMING IS HERE!: We are excited to announce that you can now view our service live at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday. Click on this link to see the service and subscribe to our SOTH channel:  Don’t worry if you missed the live broadcast.  All services are archived on our channel.  You can also search for us on Facebook and like our page.

OFFICE HELP NEEDED – Please contact the church office if you would like to help with maintaining the church website, sending the weekly email or with general office duties.  Many tasks can be performed from your home. Training gratefully provided!


This Week’s Bulletin

Kid’s Celebrate Bulletin

Spark Worship Bulletin (Pre-Reader) 

Announcements for Oct. 31

New Link for Zoom Bible Study, Wed. at noon

Meeting ID: 829 4727 4304

Passcode: 002314

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

A 2nd CLOTHING DONATION BIN – has arrived. Place clothing and shoes in plastic bags.  Proceeds will benefit SOTH.  Please do not leave items outside of the box. Please tell your friends and family so that we can fill those bins!

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

SPARTA COMMUNITY 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. Help is needed to deliver the food to the pantry. Please contact the office for the pantry’s hours of operation.


Click here to find out how you can donate to SOTH when you shop on Amazon.  We have raised in $341.51 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 KITSIf 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.
September 12 was God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday. This year we collected men’s socks for the residents at Andover Subacute & Rehab Center. There never seem to be enough, and the laundry is rough on them. They are for indoor wear. Please place donations in the giant white sock in the narthex.

If you would like to donate online:  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)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)

  2. 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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Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

246 Woodport Road

Sparta Township, NJ 07871

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