History of SOTH - Development
In 1966, a merger of four national Lutheran Church bodies (ULCA, Augustana Synod, Suomi Synod and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church) prompted a merger of the four congregations in Berkeley to become Lutheran Church of the Cross headquartered on University Ave. with four separate worship locations. The dream of the merger was to provide a more effective and efficient ministry to an increasingly diverse community. Unfortunately, the merger encountered multiple complex problems. Within the next ten years, two locations were sold to meet the financial needs of the church.
During these ensuing years of turmoil, many changes happened. Three national Lutheran bodies (Lutheran Church in America, American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches) merged in 1988 to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Also, the two Berkeley locations of Lutheran Church of the Cross became more independent, separate congregations, but maintained a partnership. Shepherd of the Hills was committed to outreach to the hill community by opening its doors to an Early Childhood Center as well as a health and healing center, both of which were not self-sustaining. Then in 1997, the congregation voted to dissolve the merger.