DURING COVID-19

Due to social distancing restrictions, we are not gathering together in the church building, but are still finding ways to gather together spiritually as the body of Christ.  At this time, we are expecting to not have activities in the building until we feel it is safe to do so. We will update this page as new guidelines are given.


May 27, 2020

Greetings Shepherd of the Hill Family,

Blessings to you on this beautiful day!  In March, your church elders voted to follow the Stay at Home order issued by Governor Inslee.  This afternoon, the Governor released new guidelines for religious communities meeting in-person.  It's understandable that there will be a wide range of reactions to this news, as we all bring our own perspectives to this development.  It's important to note that the first line of the Governor's new guidance states "if possible, spiritual worship should continue to be done remotely or at a drive-in service."

The duty before us is to continue to discover how we should live out our calling as the church in this unique time with discernment and wisdom.  Your church elders have approved a plan to meet that challenge.  Earlier today, Session voted to create a Task Force charged with making recommendations to Session regarding our ministries, worship, and facility use in light of Covid-19.  This Task Force includes Don Johnson, Valerie Emly, Anne Bennett, Kevin Engle, and myself.  

This group will be convening soon and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.  I ask that you pray for the Task Force and this evolving situation.  In doing so, I humbly request that you don't pray for a particular outcome.  Instead, let us pray for God's wisdom to reign in our hearts. Let us pray that we give grace to those with whom we disagree.  And perhaps most of all, let us pray for those who face the realities of the pandemic on a minute-to-minute basis.  For:

"The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." - James 3:17

Thank you for caring about the church, the ministry, and our fellowship.  Grace and peace be with you,

John Asher, Pastor

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Mission and Ministry Continues:  Many have asked about ways to continue to give tithes and offerings to support the work of the church during this time.  You can mail checks to the church mailing address (PO Box 73426, Puyallup, WA 98373).  You can also make donations through the Venmo phone app or by going to www.venmo.com to send money electronically through their secure system.  Just use the treasurer's email account: sothtreasr@comcast.net and you can transfer money directly.  The church's account is set to maintain the anonymity of all donors.  Finally, you can contact Ken Emly at the treasurer's email listed above to set up direct deposit. 

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For information and updates, like our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/shepherdpres/

For current church members and attendees, request to join our private Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/shepherdconnections/

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March 26, 2020

Unprecedented Times -  In addition to following our Governor's orders for sheltering in place, our Session has affirmed that we will continue to follow the lead of the Puyallup School District in our decisions about when and where to gather in the future. This means that there will be no gatherings at the church building or sponsored by the church until at least April 27th.  We do this for the health and well being of all - our congregation and our neighbors.  We understand that this will dramatically change our Holy Week and Easter celebrations.  However, there are some fun and meaningful things being planned for us as we come into this season. Please check next week's announcements for more details.

Mission and Ministry Continues:  Many have asked about ways to  continue to give tithes and offerings to support the work of the church during this time.  You can mail checks to the church mailing address (PO Box 73426, Puyallup, WA 98373).  You can also make donations through the Venmo phone app or by going to www.venmo.com to send money electronically through their secure system.  Just use the treasurer's email account: sothtreasr@comcast.net and you can transfer money directly.  The church's account is set to maintain the anonymity of all donors.  Finally, you can contact Ken Emly at the treasurer's email listed above to set up direct deposit. 

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March 12, 2020

Dear friends,

At our meeting last night, your Session voted to suspend all congregational gatherings and building activity until March 31st in response to the current worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19/Coronavirus.   The Session will meet again on Wednesday, March 25 to reassess and plan for April.  This means:  no Sunday morning worship, youth groups, studies, or committee gatherings, as well of a suspension of all SOTH and outside groups using the facility.

We do not make this decision lightly, and we are choosing this path for the sake of our congregation and for the larger community.  We are following the guidance of the Puyallup School District (who we follow for normal emergency closures), as well as the Olympia Presbytery, and our local civic leaders.  We also sought thoughtful medical advice and information rooted in confirmable facts.

We believe that the church is the body of Christ, alive in the world.  While we may miss meeting together and worshipping with one another, there is no virus or distance that will diminish our faith, hope, and love. 

To that end, each week you will be receiving a Worship Challenge from me with ideas about something you can do to connect with one another in creative ways, and worship God in your own home or neighborhood.  Watch for these special emails with ideas for how we can Love God and Love our Neighbors well - even in this.

We will continue to send out weekly announcements, and post information on both the website and Facebook.   These emails/posts will include some fun links you can follow to sermons, songs, and readings that will help you continue to grow in faith and reflect during this Lenten season.  

Our elders will each be working in their program area to help facilitate decisions that need to be made about upcoming events and projects.  We will keep you updated about any changes as we continue to make decision in this very fluid situation.

Please join me in praying for the SOTH congregation, our state, and our world in this time.   As we pray together, we remember the words Jesus taught us saying

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into to temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.

Friends, care for one another.  Pray for our world.  Walk in faith, hope, and love.   And look forward to when we are able to once again gather together, in person, and lift our prayers and praise as one voice.

Go in peace, and serve the Lord with joy.

Pastor Heather