The History of Shepherd Of the Valley Lutheran Church
The first informational meeting was held in December of 1968 at the San Jose Community Church on Bose Lane, the site which now houses St. Basel’s Greek Orthodox Church. The Rev. Clarence C. Boye, who was serving the Cal-Nev-Hawaii District as Coordinator for New Missions, shared information about plans for a new congregation in the Almaden Valley. By district action property was purchased on Redmond Road and construction was planned to begin in the spring of 1969. Meanwhile, worship services were held being at the above mentioned church beginning on January 6,1969. Sunday School classes were conducted in the house on the Redmond Road site with Adult Bible Class held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Staehs.
In the beginning the congregation was known as Almaden Lutheran Church. A building committee was approved and the district Mission Board approved a $106,000 construction budget. This figure did not include any furnishings for the sanctuary; therefore committees were formed to seek pledges to equip the new church. The garage on the property was remodeled to provide a youth facility.
The congregation formally organized with 32 families and 68 communicant members on March 10, 1969. The first set of officers included James Staehs, Chairman; Dr. John Flolo, Vice Chairman; Maurice Hubert, Recording Secretary; Richard Blair, Financial Secretary; and Randell Hanvelt as Treasurer. The Constitution and By-laws were drafted and signed by 29 male voting members on March 17, 1969. With this action the parish name was officially changed to Shepherd of the Valley.
November 2,1969 was observed as Dedication Sunday for the new building with services at 10:00 and a special service of praise at 3pm. A rededication service was held three years later on November 2, 1973.
Reverend Boye was issued a call by the new parish which changed his status from missionary of the district to the regularly called pastor. Soon afterwards this new mission surprised all, especially those at the District Office, by becoming a self-supporting congregation on November 12, 1973.
When Pastor Boye and his wife, Hildegarde, first came to San Jose, they had five children: Larry, Gary, Janet, Carol and Vicki. All five children began by attending different schools. The family moved into the parsonage at 6236 Mojave Drive, a few blocks from the church. A few years later, this home was purchased by the Boyes. In 1972 Pastor Boye ordained their oldest son, Gary, into the ministry on July 9,1972.
The congregation continued to grow under Pastor Boye’s able leadership and the church settled in as an important institution in the Almaden Valley. From September of 1976 to May of 1977 Gary Boye served his father a vicar, visiting new members and assisting in the church’s programs. On June 13, his father ordained his second son into the holy ministry.
The next high point in the parish’s history was the start of construction of a multi-purpose building. This facility contained a gym/social hall, kitchen, Bible classroom, and four additional classrooms. The Lord’s blessing on this project was manifold, including finishing under budget, almost debt free, with all labor completed by the members. With great pride it was dedicated on Sunday, January 21, 1979. The following October 2 marked the beginning of a mid-week school with approximately 40 children.
In September of 1981, a Christian Day School was begun with preschool and kindergarten. To the delight of all, its enrollment totaled 47 students. The following year the school was enlarged to include first and second grades. In 1983 the school merged with Trinity Lutheran School to form Valley Lutheran School which was administrated by a joint school board.
While this joint effort seemed like a good idea at the time, difficulties surfaced within the first few months of operation. At once the new board was faced with mounting costs, difficulties of have children at two locations, transportation problems, the need for day care before and after school, and low total enrollment numbers. By 1986 Shepherd of the Valley decided to end their part in this venture. The next year only the preschool remained. This operation has remained very successful and remained under the continual direction of Gloria (Mrs. Randell) Hanvelt from the fall of 1983 through the spring of 1994. After she retired, the preschool came unter the able leadership of Mrs. Marie Mosier from Fall of 1994 through Spring of 2005.
In 1980-81 the parish requested a vicar and was assigned Mark Kastner from Concordia Theological Seminary of Fort Wayne, Indiana. For the 1982-83 season, a Director of Christian Education (DCE) intern from Concordia/Seward, Wade Meyer, was assigned. Upon completion of his internship he accepted a call to Redeemer in Redwood City, Calif. Two years later he entered Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri.
In 1982 Pastor Boye indicated that time for his retirement was near. This happened formally on November 1, 1983. Prior to that a retirement banquet was held for the pastor and he was granted a three-month sabbatical. The pastor and his wife Hildegarde retired to Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas.
The Rev. David T. Shoemaker, then serving at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Millington, Michigan, accepted our call and was installed on August 14,1983. Rev. Richard Thompson of Trinity San Jose and Rev. Theodore Mueller of Santa Rose served as liturgist and preacher. The Rev. Alfred Hintz (circuit counselor) and Rev. Orvil Oswald (District President) presided.
Reverend Shoemaker’s home parish was Grace in Modesto. He attended California Concordia College, Concordia River Forest, and graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary then in Springfield, Illinois (May of 1965). He served parishes in Northern Minnesota and Michigan. His wife is Patricia (nee Haase from Napoleon, Ohio). When he began his ministry at SOTV, their daughters were in grades 12, 10, and 8 (Rachel, Gretchen and Heidi).
In the Fall of 1984, the parish again entered into the vicarage program and continued through the summer of 2000. The list of vicars at SOTV during this period includes: James Glaspie 1984, Timothy Shoup 1985, Joel Baseley 1986, Clark Jahnke 1987, Wade Meyer 1988, David Weber 1989, Steven Borst 1990, Jeff Bundt 1991, Jonathan Lange 1992, Paul Stark 1993, Bill Chu 1994, Thomas Vanderbilt 1995, Kevin Tiaden 1996, Fred Hoover 1997, Bryan Hopfensperger 1998, and Patrick Poock 1999. All of these vicars were from the Saint Louis Seminary.
On October 12, 1986 the Voter’s Assembly approved plans for the remodeling and expansion of the church, including an enlarged nave and chancel, a choir loft, and a large narthex. The members prepared for construction by removing walls, concrete, and roof. The largely new building was dedicated on March 20, 1988 with the Reverend Doctor Jacob A. 0. Preus, Missouri Synod President Emeritus, serving as the preacher.
The next major addition to the church was the replacement of the congregation’s first organ purchased used 24 years earlier. A fund drive was begun and with amazing success an Allen MDS-65 was fully funded. It was dedicated on December 20, 1992 during the Sunday School’s Christmas Service Program. On January 24, 1993 David Babbitt, the choirmaster and organist at Zion Lutheran Church in Piedmont, performed masterly at the dedication recital. The organ is a three manual, 54 stop Baroque-voiced instrument.
On Sunday March 13, 1994, the congregation celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a service of praise and thanksgiving. The service included short homilies from the 10 previous vicars, a chime choir, and church choir. The pastor served a liturgist and a son of the parish, Douglas Noeth-Peterson, was organist. The previous Saturday featured a golf tournament, a banquet celebration, and the publication of a SOTV cookbook and this history.
On Friday, June 23, 2000 a retirement dinner was held for Pastor Shoemaker. Pastor Shoemaker retired from active ministry on June 30, 2000 with 35 years of service, of which 17 were spent at Shepherd of the Valley.
Reverend Robert Weller, a native of Southfield, Michigan was called to replace Pastor Shoemaker. Pastor Weller is a graduate of Concordia Ann Arbor and Concordia Fort Wayne Seminary. He served as Pastor at Holy Trinity in Logan, Utah from 1994 to 2000. Pastor Weller was installed at Shepherd of the Valley on August 6, 2000.