Shepherd of the Hills is a small, growing ELCA Lutheran congregation. We are students just starting out and retired people; single people and married people; young families and empty nesters; gay people and straight people. We are all these kinds of people and everything in between.
We have a wide variety of life experiences, ethnic backgrounds, income levels, and political opinions. We live in Berkeley, Kensington, Oakland, Richmond, El Cerrito, San Francisco and beyond.
Despite all of our differences, together we are Lutherans, Christians whose primary vision of God’s love for humanity is one of grace.
When Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation at the end of the 15th century he was concerned that people know and understand that salvation is a gift from God that comes to humankind by grace through faith.
This means that Lutherans don’t believe that we can earn the love of God by doing good deeds or by being good people. We believe that all of our efforts fall short of the perfection that the Law of God demands. For this reason Jesus came to live on earth as a human being and die for our sin. We are saved by Jesus’ action and called to live lives of gratitude.
When we act not out of fear of God or out of a sense that we can earn our salvation, but instead out of thankfulness, we are able to do good work in the world.
Lutherans believe that everything we need to know about God is revealed in the Word. The Word is personified in Jesus and is also made apparent in the Bible. We at Shepherd of the Hills do not interpret the Bible literally, but think that the Word contained within is living and always changing. The Word is also made apparent in the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. People can also find The Word in other places, such as in loving human relationships, the wonder of science, and the beauty of nature.