On its twelfth anniversary, the congregation of Shepherd of the Hills has voted to return to its roots, and offer worship back on the shores of Deep Creek Lake. Beginning, Sunday, July 10, and each Sunday thereafter, lakeside worship will be held at 4:00 in the afternoon, in the Sitzmark Room (lower level) of Will O’ the Wisp. Doors are open wide for vacationers, visitors and any who dwell in the Deep Creek area. Worship is casual. Will O’ the Wisp is located on Rte. 219, along Deep Creek Lake, at 20160 Garrett Highway.
According to Pastor Rick Egtvedt, “The Apostle Paul speaks to us how it is through the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) that Christ engages us in a call. A call which obligates us to love our neighbor, as we love ourselves, while we are also called to love God with … our heart, mind, and soul. A call to invest ourselves in a community of faith, a “Mission at the Lake” to reach out to all those who come to the lake without ever having heard the Word or after having been hurt elsewhere. It is about ensuring God’s Word and Sacraments are made available. This is the heart of who we are, this is the heart of what we are called to do, this is the heart of why Shepherd of the Hills came into being. This is why Shepherd of the Hills is not just going to stick our heads in the sand and continue to do the same thing(s) we’ve always done. Yes, that will mean that, like Jesus, we will not have a place of our own, that we will have to simplify things for daily set-up and tear-down, that we will have to stack and move chairs, that we will have to give up our beautiful oak altar for a plastic table with linens – yet we will be free … free to develop new programs and worship styles as we will explore what lakeside worship can be – here at the lake and on this mountaintop.”
The church community recently celebrated its twelfth anniversary as a Mission congregation of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The first gathering took place July 4, 2004 at Will O’ the Wisp. Since its foundation, the congregation has offered services at Will O’ the Wisp, Garrett Eight Cinemas and at Sand Flat Plaza. Due to a noticable drop in visitors since moving two miles south of the central lake area, SOTH has explored options to ensure Lutheran ministry at Deep Creek Lake continues into the future… including moving back to lakeside worship at Will O’ the Wisp. 2016 has brought new growth as new workers have entered in the field, with potential to add more full-time or year-round residents before the end of this summer. For more information, contact Pastor Rick Egtvedt at 301-501-0812, or see the church website at www.shepherdofthehillslutheran.org