A BRIEF HISTORY OF SHEPHERD OF THE VALLEY
Our roots here at Shepherd began as a small seed planted by the members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Riverside, California. Pastor Elmer Boxdorfer of Riverside conducted the first service on Sunday December 24, 1978. Seventy-one people were present for this first service which was held at the Moreno Valley Parks and Recreation building. On January 7, 1979 services were moved to the Sunnymead Adventist Church on Indian Ave. Moreno Valley. On August 12, 1979 Pastor John F. Hodde was installed as full time pastor and mission developer of “Sunnymead Lutheran Mission.”
The name Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church was selected in August 1979. On January 27, 1980 the new mission was organized and chartered as Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church with 112 charter members. In April 1980 the congregation became a member of The Southern California District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Congregations and Women’s groups throughout Southern California contributed funds to help the new church get started. After an extensive search, property (4.77 acres) was purchased in 1981 at 11650 Perris Blvd. Moreno Valley.
Since the Adventist building was to be demolished, the congregation moved its services to Midland School in September of 1984. The congregational assembly approved building plans and groundbreaking for the new Church finally came in March of 1984.
The long awaited day of dedication came on May 19, 1985 with the sanctuary complete but the second unit, the office and classrooms, unfinished inside.
In November 1987 a Child Care Center (CCC) was opened and directed by Elizabeth Tobak. This eventually became our Preschool with Lois Estock as director in January of 1988.
In April of 1992 Pastor Hodde was called to be pastor of Zion Lutheran church in Glendale. Pastor Ron Kraft served as vacancy pastor until the arrival of Pastor David Schilling in August of 1993.
In 1995 a modular classroom unit was installed for the preschool and Sunday School.
During Pastor Schillings ten years of service a system of small groups was developed, a pipe organ was installed, the fellowship hall was built, and contemporary worship with a praise team was further developed for the 10:45 worship hour.
Pipe organ installed by Pastor Ron Kraft (middle front row)
Pastor Ron Kraft
Fellowship Hall Construction 1998
In January of 2003 Pastor Schilling retired. In August of 2003 Pastor Peter Alexander (San Diego) began two years as “intentional interim” minister.
Pastor Dennis Krueger
Pastor Dennis Krueger who came to us from New Jersey was installed as Sr. Pastor in May 2005 and continued to lead our Congregation until November 2014, when he received and took a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in West Seneca, New York. We have been blessed to have both Pastor Ron Kraft and Pastor Allen Deinert to serve as our Interim Pastors in this time of transition.
A building program for a new preschool facility was approved in March of 2007. The new preschool building was completed in March of 2010 and a Grand Opening celebration was held on April 10, 2010.
Preschool/Kindergarten Classrooms 2010
In January 1990 Grace Korean Church was organized and began their worship here at Shepherd. Pastor Du Pyo Lee was installed as the Pastor of Grace. In January 2001 Pastor Lee retired. Pastor Young Man Kwon was installed as the Pastor for Grace and continued his service until his retirement in July 2008. Soon after the retirement of Pastor Kwon, Pastor John Kim was installed as Pastor of Grace and continues his service to this day.
Our congregation enjoys a rich history of producing:
- Leaders; Pastor Roger Stites Jr. and Pastor Jonathan Stites (graduates of Concordia Seminary-St. Louis).
- Mission Ministry Groups ; TLC for cancer paitients, Habitat for Hummanity, Lutheran Braille Workstation 197, Community Assistance Program (CAP Moreno Valley).
- Community Outreach; sponsorship of Boy/Cub Scout Troop, Youth Group activities, vacation Bible school.
Shepherd of The Valley Lutheran Church 2010
This history of the congregations is based on a history of the first 15 years compiled by former member Marion Armstrong and upon the time line of major events taken from the file of monthly news letters by church secretary Marge Clark. This has been compiled and edit by Pastor Ron Kraft who has been with the congregation for 17 years.