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History of SOTH - Origins


In September 1951, shortly after the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) had purchased two estates at the top of Marin Avenue to found a new seminary in the west, discussions about the feasibility of starting a new mission congregation in the Berkeley hills began. A month later, 24 people attended the first worship service in the then Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary Chapel, now Sawyer Hall. A year later, September 14, 1952, a group of 65 charter members under the leadership of John Steinhaus officially organized Shepherd of the Hills as a congregation of the United Lutheran Church in America.


For the next eight years, the congregation continued to worship at the seminary until the current sanctuary was designed by Carleton A. Steiner, built by A.B. Lahti, and dedicated on May 24, 1960 with Dr. Carl Tambert, President of the Pacific Southwest Synod of the ULCA. Pr. Harjunpaa, Professor Harry Mumm, and Professor Victor Gould made significant contributions to the arrangement and designs of the altar, baptismal font and sanctuary furnishings. Robert Pinart created the stained glass windows representing the biblical themes and Jean Nison designed the ceramic tiles on the altar and baptismal font.

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