I (Pastor Wolfgram) attended a conference in West Des Moines, IA for medium-sized congregations back in the summer of 2009 with Rev. Dr. David Peters, a professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  The take-away from that conference was that if a congregation wants to reach more souls and grow in number, it is necessary to be adequately staffed.  It has been determined that a pastor has the ability to effectively care for 150-200 souls without being overwhelmed or individuals being neglected.

I brought this new insight back to the congregation and local pastors.  Knowing that we did not have the means to call a second worker by ourselves, I asked local LC-MS pastors whether they might like to partner in ministry to have a shared worker.  Pastor Jenks from Bethel Lutheran was interested in the concept.  After many discussions among leaders and members of both congregations, it was determined that the best path forward was to apply for a vicar.  This would give us the opportunity to see how pastors and the two congregations could work together.  It was also desired that the ultimate goal was to call a shared pastor.

Having mentored five vicars in partnership with Pastor Jenks and Pastor Walla, the Lord has blessed our partnership in the Divine Call and placement of Candidate Justin Woodside to serve as Shared Assisting Pastor at Bethel and Shepherd of the Valley.  As Justin served his vicarage with us in 2018-2019, he and Victoria, along with their entire family are greatly looking forward to returning to the Bismarck/Mandan area for ministry.  We give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to us getting to know our vicars and assisting the church at large in the formation of these men to serve as pastors.  We are also grateful to the Lord that our efforts in working Bethel Lutheran Church have been blessed beyond our initial expectations.

The Woodsides plan to move to Bismarck in late July with his installation scheduled to take place on August 2, 4:00 PM, in a joint worship service at Bethel Lutheran Church.  We look forward to our continued partnership with Bethel Lutheran in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Vicar Dailey completes his vicarage and as we welcome Pastor Elect Woodside and his family.  God be praised for His goodness to us as we celebrate and proclaim His love for us in Christ and carry out His work of making disciples.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

In this time of uncertainty, there is a lot that we can be worried about. We are instructed not to worry or be anxious about the cares of this world, but instead to pray about them. We can have comfort in knowing that God cares for us and listens to our prayers. In this time of uncertainty, we have true and certain hope in Christ Jesus.

COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of our lives over these past couple months. At Shepherd of the Valley, we transitioned to online-only worship in the middle of Lent and celebrated Easter watching the service on our phones, tablets or televisions.

There have been some activities that have been placed on hold due to the pandemic. Prior to the transition to online-only worship, our VisionPath Team had initiated efforts to reach out to members that haven’t been active in worship for a while. With all that is going on with the pandemic, and the difficulty to track virtual attendance, we decided to put this effort on hold until we return to in-person worship.

Prior to the pandemic, we had scheduled congregational forum in March to discuss facility expansion plans, followed by a Congregational Voters’ Assembly in April. It was decided to postpone this discussion until we can once again meet together safely. We also recognize that the economic uncertainty may impact members’ ability to commit to contributing to a large project at this time.

Return to Worship Plans

Transitioning to online-only worship was the prudent thing to do to protect our congregation, even though we were not required to do so by the State of North Dakota. Our Governor has initiated a North Dakota Smart Restart process on May 1st, including opening of businesses that have been shuttered with safety guidelines in place. Leaders of the congregation have decided to proceed cautiously and return to offering in-person worship starting on Wednesday, May 13, dependent on there not being a spike in COVID-19 cases in Burleigh County.

For the time being, we will be practicing strict physical distancing, asking families to remain at least 6 feet apart and sit in every other pew. We will be cleaning and disinfecting door handles and common surfaces between services and taking actions to limit the touching of surfaces by multiple people. If you are an individual at high risk of being impacted by COVID-19, please continue to worship remotely.


Assisting Pastor Justin Woodside

We were excited to learn on April 29th that Justin Woodside will be returning to Bismarck to serve as a shared Assisting Pastor for Bethel and Shepherd of the Valley. His installation is tentatively scheduled for a joint service on Sunday, August 2nd at Bethel with North Dakota District President Arie Bertsch officiating.


There is so much to be grateful for with so many people that have stepped forward. Thank you to Pastor Wolfgram for his calm, steady leadership during this time and all the extra effort required to adjust to a new way of doing pretty much everything. Thank you to Rob Burkhardsmeier who has put in countless hours to successfully livestream the services. Thank you to Michelle for hosting virtual Sunday School and to Samantha Henke and Carrie Harling for their work towards holding a virtual Vacation Bible School later this month. Thank you to the organists and those that have been lending their voices, while social distancing, during the livestreamed services. Thank you to the Elders for their leadership and efforts reaching out to care for members. Thank you to everyone else who continues to serve God and the congregation in their various roles at Shepherd of the Valley.

Your Brother in Christ,

Justin Dever

2020 Summer Bible Camp Opportunities

Kinder Camp
June 7-8 or June 28-29

Children enter kindergarten through first grade will love this camp!  This is a great way to introduce children to camp.  Campers will have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor activities at Shepherd’s Hill at the Crossroads while learning about God’s love through chapel time, Bible studies, crafts, and campfires.  Horseback lead rides are available for an additional charge.  Arrangements can be made for parents to stay on camp if there are concerns about their children’s overnight stay.

Discovery Camp
June 7-9 or June 28-30

Children entering second and third grade will greatly enjoy this camp!  Swimming, canoeing, paddleboats, and hiking are a few of the activities youth will enjoy as they also study God’s Word and develop life-long friendships. Arrangements can also be made for parents to stay if there are concerns regarding separation anxiety.  Discover Camp ends on Tuesday at 4:00 pm.  A sack supper will be provided.

Kids Camp
June 21-25

Kids Camp is especially designed for children entering grades four through six.  Trail rides and lead rides are available for an extra fee.  Campers will grow in their faith through chapel time, Bible studies, campfires, and fellowship.  This camp ends on Thursday at 1:00 pm.

District Encounter Camp
July 26-31

Encounter Camp is for youth in grade seven and up.  Join us as we encounter God through Word, World, Worship, and Recreation Encounters.  Make new friends, learn basic leadership skills, reunite with old friends, grow in your relationship with Christ, and have fun in a camp setting.

See the camp brochure for other camps, more details and costs.

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Psalm 122:1

We have been away from the house of the Lord for several weeks.  As your pastor it has been frustrating to be separated from you.  I have dearly missed you.   I greatly anticipate our reunion as the Body Of Christ in the house of the Lord where we can lift our voices as one in song and celebration for all that the Lord has done for us.  While we were separated we went through Holy Week and Easter.  Even COVID – 19 could not cancel the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  We rejoice that Christ is risen!  Because He lives you have full and free forgiveness of all your sins.  We receive these gifts as we hear His Word of forgiveness in the absolution, as we remember our baptism into Christ, and as we receive Christ in His Supper.  I look forward to all that the Lord has in store for our family of faith at Shepherd of the Valley and hearing your stories of challenge and blessing during this time of separation.  Welcome home!   Please let me know how I can best care for you.                                   +Pastor Wolfgram

Teaching Children Chastity for Life:

Talking Points for Christian Parents

is a booklet available from Lutherans for Life.


What’s better than sex ed? Mentoring your children for chastity! In this booklet, parents speak frankly to fellow parents on the basis of God’s Word, offering practical suggestions for dads and moms to provide their children with the guidance they need to navigate through puberty and into sanctified adulthood. While the world sponsors embarrassing discussions in co-ed classrooms where parents are absent, these authors call for a family-centered approach that prepares young people to form stable families of their own as they mature.

If you’ve ever thought there must be something better than sex ed, you were right: God’s answer is parent-led mentoring, and this book will teach you how to do it.

“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally-produced TV program that includes a 30-minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30-minute Lutheran Hour program (normally This Is The Life, along with occasional church-season specials).  Programs are broadcast at 10:00am Central (9:00am Mountain) on the following WDAY & affiliate Xtra Channels: KBMY Xtra Channel 17.3 Bismarck/Dickinson – as well as the cable and satellite systems carrying these stations. (For a list of cable & satellite stations and their channel assignments in your area, please contact your church office.) MSLN programs are also archived and can be viewed at any time on then click on “North (Fargo)”.


May 10:   Rev. Andrew Ratcliffe, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Perham, MN, presents the message: “A Life of Worship” based on 1 Peter 2:2-10. This is the Life program is: “To the End of Time”. A physicist working on nuclear weapon development is confronted with the reality of the weapon, the utility of radiation and the blessing of Christian hope.


May 17:   Rev. Matt Tooman, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wahpeton, ND, presents the message: “You Need the Holy Spirit,” based on John 14:15-21. This Is The Life program is: “A Face from the Past”. A man struggles to come to terms with the memory and feelings of guilt with his estranged father.


May 24:    Rev. Jim Meyer (CRM), St. John’s Lutheran Church, Thief River Falls, MN, presents the message: “Are You In?” based on John 17:1-11. This Is The Life program is: “Love is Not Enough”. A young couple struggles mightily with the decision to marry, exploring is what truly is important.


May 31:    Rev. Allen Kramp, Trinity Lutheran Church, Hope, ND, and St. John Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, ND, presents the message: “Rejoice in the Spirit of God’s outpouring in Jesus!” based on Acts 2:1-21. This Is The Life program is: “A Different Way”. In this Fisher Family episode, Cousin Stanley visits and creates a difficult situation with a neighbor.


Are you passionate about working with Youth?  We are currently looking for a motivated person to help organize and coordinate regular youth events with an emphasis on grades 6-12.

If interested, please provide a letter of interest for the position.  Letters can be placed in my inbox at Church or e-mailed.  Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Laith Hintz


QUILTING NEWS:  Pam Dever has 40 bundles of organized squares ready to be seen together. Pretty basic sewing and I can explain everything, also. The quilting group will put tops with filler/backings and tie later.   Any help is appreciated. Thanks! Pam 391-6332.

May Birthdays

Pat Bitz

Dale Kitzman

Rebecca Reiman

Cameron Dever

Mike Kapla

Jeremiah Kramer

Lyla Dockter

Margaret Ensz

Laith Hintz

Jenny Borneman

Michelle Dever

Noah Jackson

Savanah Davis

Kevin Reinhardt

Seth Vukelich

Nathan Nichols

Kage Ekstrom

Tiffany Kapla

Kyleen Ekstrom

Bridget Roll

Dane Wolfgram

Taylor Krecklau

Becky Gildea

LaDonna Kitzman

Kevin Brockel

Madison Gildea

MacKenzie Gildea

James Bechtold

Julia Dever

Sara Nelson

Melvin Sutheimer

Lydia Hauf

Terry Urness

May Baptismal Birthdays

Samy Gienger                                  5/1

Andrew Wolfgram                         5/5

Cindy Olson                                      5/7

Brad Nottestad                               5/10

Norman Mohl                                  5/11

Alexis Zeis                                         5/12

Kevin Olson                                      5/15

Rebecca Reiman                             5/16

Marion Meske                                 5/17

Hunter Peterson                             5/17

Sherrald Kostek                              5/18

Lowell Fahrni                                   5/20

Savannah Davis                              5/22

Don Gienger                                    5/22

Sara Behrens                                   5/24

Eldon Unrath                                   5/25

Irene Durant                                    5/30

Leon Lippert                                    5/31



May Anniversaries

Larry & Denise Walker           5/05/1979

Aaron & Kristi Brewer            5/09/2014

Paul & Andrea Pansegrau     5/16/1981

Dick & Pam Dever                   5/19/1978

Garry & Janice Fuhrman        5/23/1998

Micheal & Samantha Henke 5/24/2015

Duaine & Lyla Dockter           5/25/1956




1-15      Ken Purdy                 

16-30    Steve Reiman