Weekly Connections

December 2, 2022

Thank you for your generous contributions to our Thanksgiving Offering benefiting Meals on Wheels and your donations to the Bread for All Thanksgiving Food Drive. Thanks to you, our volunteers delivered 630 lbs of food to Bread for All this Monday, which went a long way toward serving the 109 families that showed up. Thank you, People of God!


This week Michael Loo and Holly Raymond from Upbring will join us at both services and during the breakfast hour to speak about the ministries of New Life and BeREAL and share inspirational stories of the youth benefitting from these life-restoring ministries.

8:15 | Sanctuary
10:45 a.m. | Sanctuary + Livestream
Where have you seen God in unexpected and surprising ways?
It will be a Sunday full of beautiful music with guest instrumentalists Denise and Andrew Seidel joining us for 8:15 Worship, Bob Cannon on brass at both services, and the Bell Choir and Adult Choir at 10:45!

9:15 a.m. | Activity Center
Food for Fellowship invites everyone for breakfast every Sunday.

9:45 a.m. | Activity Center
Gather for Family Breakfast and enjoy each other’s company.

9:45 a.m.
| Library + Zoom
Great discussions of the Good Book.  This Sunday we will study the (Epistle to) Philemon (1 chapter book. Contact Linda Roesle for more information.

Sunday, December 4
Noon | Room 205

Holidays can be difficult when the family dynamics change due to the death of a loved one or children leaving home. Join us for lunch and conversation as Alana Oehler helps us mourn our losses and offer Advent Prayers of Blessings for new traditions and past memories alike. Contact Rebecca Guengerich

7:00 p.m. | Activity Cente
It’s all fun and games (and Bible Study!) for grades 5-12. Contact Joel Timmons, Student Ministry Coordinator.

If you took a card from the Giving Tree and are purchasing personal care items for BeREAL youth, please bring them this Sunday! Kathy Gerhardt will be delivering them Monday afternoon.


Check the calendars on Realm or the website for a complete list of events!

Begins this Wednesday, December 7
+ December 14
7:00 p.m. | Butterfly Center Chapel + Click for Youtube Link or Click for Facebook Link
Take a deep breath and raise your voice in song! We will be singing some of our favorite Christmas carols and studying the fascinating history behind them. If you are watching from home just click the links above.

PALS (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones)
Monday, December 5

7:00 p.m. | Library + Zoom
Open to every parent with an adult child dealing with substance use. Come find hope and support. For more information about this group, visit  www.palgroup.org  or contact Rebecca Guengerich

Wednesday, December 7
7:30 a.m. | Early Riser’s Study on Zoom
10:00 a.m. | Late Riser’s Study in the Library + Zoom

Two times, same great study! Both are Pastor-led. Contact Pr. Lauren or Pr. Tom with questions.

Next Saturday, December 10

9:00 a.m. | Meet in the Courtyard
We are looking forward to rolling out a warm welcome to our visitors on Christmas Eve! Come help us make God’s campus and buildings ready to receive them. We have projects inside and out, for all ages and abilities, and leaders to guide the process! Plus food to keep you fueled. Click here to view the “to-do” list and pick a chore ahead of time, or just show up!

Next Saturday, December 10
8:00 a.m. | Activity Center
Come for fellowship and good eats.

Next Saturday, December 10
9:00 a.m. | Activity Center
Let’s hit some balls and then head out to help with the Campus Clean-Up so our church looks beautiful for Christmas visitors!

Next Saturday, December 10
9:00 a.m. | Rm 205
Let’s tie some quilt tops! Bring others from your household and send them to help with the Campus Clean-Up!


Come worship Christ, the newborn king! Candlelight and Holy Communion will be part of every worship service. Visit www.ShepHills.org/Christmas-Worship for more details and choose the service for you!

Saturday, December 24
“God Immanuel in Bethlehem, Austin, Buda, EVERYWHERE!”

Courtyard Worship: 4:00 p.m. + 10:00 p.m.
At 4:00 p.m., we sing along with our contemporary worship band, and children & families are part of telling the nativity story. 
At 10:00 p.m., a quiet service with a blend of traditional and contemporary hymns invites us into an intimate night of reflection on the birth of our Lord.  

Sanctuary Worship: 6:00 p.m. + 8:00 p.m.
The 6:00 p.m. service features our Senior Choir and Bell Choir, as well as a string quartet, leading us in song.
The 8:00 p.m. service features a string quartet and harpist, with our traditional Lutheran liturgy shaping the flow of our worship.

Livestream: 6:00 p.m.
The 6:00 p.m. service will be live-streamed for those joining us from home.

Sunday, December 25
“Come as You Are”

9:30 a.m. | Christmas Breakfast and Fellowship in the Activity Center
10:45 a.m.
| Sanctuary Worship
10:45 a.m. | Online rebroadcast of 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship


Help decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas Eve! Purchase a poinsettia in memory or honor of a loved one. Envelopes for cash or check are at the entrances to the Sanctuary or use this online link. If you purchase online, email Amanda dedication information for inclusion in the bulletin.

Christmas Giving Trees—Thank You!  Once again Christmas Giving Tree ministry has been a huge success! A special Thank You to all of the wonderful members of ShepHills and others outside the church family for being so generous in supporting three great charities. Through your benevolence, gifts were provided for 40 New Life girls, 25 Upbring BeREAL young adults, and 20 Upbring foster children. Special thanks to the captains for each charity without whom this ministry would not be possible: Kathy Gerhardt, Karen Stern, Mary Allison, as well as Norma Smith, Dabney, and Amanda — Linda Roesle 

Sunday, December 18
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | 403 Vargas Road
Mariposa, the childcare facility established by Austin City Lutherans, is holding an “ACL Workday.” It will be inside work mostly, as renovations continue at Mariposa’s campus. Tasks will include organizing and tidying, placing furniture and decorative items, and general cleaning. Come for any or all of the time frame. If you’ve not been out to Mariposa, you’re in for a great surprise. Consider joining us!

RSVP with Rev. Tim Anderson via text at 512-653-7115 or email at tca.blueocotillo@gmail.com. Thanks!



Here is a reminder about the different ways to give for consideration with your end-of-year tax and financial planning:

Donations via US Credit Card, PayPal or other merchant processors must be made by midnight on December 31 in your time zone (statement must be stamped with a 2022 date) to be eligible for a 2022 tax deduction;

Check envelopes must be postmarked by December 31, 2022 to be eligible for a 2022 tax deduction;

Wires or electronic funds transfers must be sent by December 30, 2022 in order to be eligible for a US 2022 tax deduction (December 30 is the last banking day);

Gifts of Appreciated Stock – Must be transferred out by your broker no later than December 31, 2022.  The option of giving of qualified appreciated stock held for over 1 year is becoming more popular. Shepherd maintains a brokerage account where it is very easy to transfer the appreciated stock as a gift. This is beneficial to both Shepherd and the giver as the giver may be able to deduct the appreciated value of the stock and avoid capital gains tax on the gain of the stock.

Gifts from Required Minimum Distributions – For those in a situation that requires minimum distributions from a retirement account (called required minimum distribution or RMD), there is an option called “Qualified Charitable Distribution” or QCD. Individuals turning 72 and those that turned 70 ½ in 2019 should verify they are making the proper RMD and consider the QCD as a possible way of avoiding paying tax on the RMD. The QCD must come directly from the retirement account custodian. If you are giving to Shepherd (or other qualified charities) and taking a RMD directly, please consider the QCD as this could potentially save you in additional taxes.

Donor Advised Fund (DAF) Giving – If you participate with gifts to a DAF, please consider including Shepherd of the Hills as a designee of your DAF gifts. If you are interested in setting up a DAF that may have significant tax benefits, the ELCA Foundation may be a viable option for you. More information about DAF and setting it up is available here. – (www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-Foundation)

Charitable Remainder Trust – If you have set up a CRT, please consider adding Shepherd of the Hills as a beneficiary of the trust. The CRT is a good option if you want an immediate charitable deduction, but also have a need for an income stream to yourself or another person. It is also a good option if you want to establish one by will to provide for heirs, with the remainder going to charities of your choosing. Please consult your financial adviser regarding setting up a CRT or adding Shepherd of the Hills as a beneficiary.

For assistance in arranging gifts to Shepherd of the Hills, please contact Kevin Marlow, Finance Controller – email – kmarlow@shephills.org or call the office – 512-327-3370. Please consult your financial and tax professionals for further information and any financial or tax advice. The above opportunities are only to suggest some possible alternatives and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice.


Giving is an expression of joy and gratitude for the bounty of God’s goodness! There are so many ways to give-both financially and through serving.

Gathering Space
Last Monday Bread for All served 109 families. In addition to non-perishable food, Bread for All is in need of diaper sizes 1, 4, 5, and 6.

Thank you to all who participated in our Thanks-Giving Banquet Worship on November 20! It was an awe-inspiring day. If you have not yet done so, prayerfully consider making a gift in support of our Mission and Ministry Fund and/or Facilities and Campus Care Fund for 2023. Use a printed pledge card found in the hymnal holders in the Sanctuary, or make a pledge online. Pledges are an estimate of giving and can be changed if your financial circumstances change. Thank you for helping us do God’s work in the world!

Keeping current with your pledged or regular giving has never been easier because you can do it all online!

Thanks to your early giving support, we have reduced our borrowing for the Butterfly Center Renovation Project saving almost $5600 in interest cost.  Please consider a gift to the Beyond Capital Fund Appeal as part of your finance and tax planning.  The more we collect early, the less we pay later! 

Learn more about Beyond here.

Serving is a great way to give back and get to know others in our community. Whether you are interested in serving locally, being part of a global mission, or volunteering to help in a variety of ways on Sundays, we have a place for you!


In need of prayer? Please contact a pastor to be put on the prayer list.

Would you like someone to pray alongside you during troubling times? Contact a Stephen Minister who can travel with you on life’s sometimes bumpy road.

We pray for Rodney Varner.

We pray for family and friends of Shepherd members: Adryana Aldeen, Director of Advancement at Mariposa.

We pray for the families attending the Advent Family Retreat at Camp Chrysalis this weekend:  Chedsey family, Dertien family, Eckermann family, Hansen family, Robertson family, Smith family, Hartmann Family, and the Wegner family.  We give thanks for opportunities for families to connect and grow in faith together!

We pray for the people of Ukraine caught in the middle of war and violence. Our hearts break when women and children are displaced and families torn apart by the evil actions of others. May you break open hearts so that swords may be beat into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks.

We pray for our global ministry partners: Rev. Karen Castillo in Guatemala; Iglesia Luterana Augustina Virgen del Rosario, Aurora 8 de Octubre, Guatemala. We pray for Malcolm and Joy Henderson and the ministry of CHARIS in Haiti. 

We pray for our local ministries: Mariposa Family Learning Center, Bread For All and Upbring Ministries.

We pray that our faith community make a saintly difference that we may behold and courageous in our generosity. May the pledges we make be a sign of our gratitude and love. May we say Thank You with humble hearts and renewed commitment to being a beacon of hope in the world!

*Prayers for family and friends are listed for 2 weeks, unless we are notified otherwise.