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History in Brief

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church dates back to June 12, 1957, when a small group of men and women met at the Knights of Pythias Hall (now Unity Merced Church) to discuss the formation of a Lutheran congregation in Merced. Mission developer, Pastor Harold P. Schluntz, accomplished the ground work and the church was officially born on November 8, 1959.

The congregation met at several different locations until June, 1963, when a new building was completed at 3094 G Street.  A wide variety of traditional ministries grew at this location, including worship, music, children and adult study programs, and social events. Outreach efforts included migrant ministry, 6th Day Meals, CROP Walk for Hunger, refugee resettlement, scholarship program and the church’s own childcare center.

In 1993, the church relocated to its present site at 1455 E. Yosemite Avenue. A 60th anniversary celebration was held in October of 2019 and a more detailed history of the congregation was compiled. This is available through the Church Office for anyone who is interested.

Pastors called to Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church:

1960-1965 William L. Dowling

1965-1968 Robert J Stout

1969-1974 Eugene E. Perry

1974-1979 C. David Olson

1979-1984 Dwight D. Shellaway

1985-1988 Ernest R. Lineberger, Jr.*

1989-1998 David A. Deutscher

1999-2004 Friedhelm Golz

2003-2005 Todd Eckblad

2012- 2019 Dorothy Lindstrom


*Designated Pastor Emeritus in 1995

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