10805 Main St. Huntley, IL 60142

Hearing Aid - Loop System

In the Sanctuary


Ask your hearing care professional how. Some hearing aids are set up where they might have an app on your cellphone that says “telecoil mode”, and you’ll activate that. You might have the ability to adjust the volume up and turn down for the microphone level. But again, talk to your hearing care professional, they should be able to show you all those options, and then play around with it, when you’re in church.

 Contact: your hearing aid professional





March Note

From Pastor Ryan

“What are you giving up for Lent?”

This is a question very often heard at the start of Lent each year and it invariably leads to a follow-up questions a few weeks later; “How are you doing with your sacrifice?”

I can remember first learning about the practice of sacrificing something for Lent when I was kid, and I remember not fully understanding what the practice meant, only that it was something Christians did every Lent. I can also remember being very surprised some years later when someone shared with me that they were actually adding something to their lives during that year’s Lenten journey. “Is that possible? Is that allowed?” I thought to myself. The idea led me into my first exploration of the meaning of Lent and its practices. It didn’t take me long to see the beauty in adding something to one’s life, either in addition to, or in place of a sacrifice.

Lent is a season of preparation for Easter. Like Advent, it is a time during which we take stock of our lives and do some “spring cleaning” to make more room for God’s activity in our lives. The idea is that we set ourselves up to receive the Resurrected Jesus on Easter Sunday with hearts bursting with joy.

In order to do that, we take time to cut something out of our lives may be distancing us from a deeper faith, a closer relationship with God, and a keener ability to sense movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This can be done by either subtraction or addition. For example, cutting out excessive screen time can open our minds and our eyes to see the beauty of creation or the needs of others or God showing us something new. Cutting out junk foods can improve our health, helping us to take better care of our bodies (temples) to God. Likewise, adding some time for devotion, setting a goal to read the Bible every day, or beginning a new learning opportunity can also serve to bring us closer to Jesus during the Lenten season.

Lenten practices are not a one-size-fits-all. There are so many ways to engage in a Lenten practice that makes room for God’s activity and draws us closer to Jesus that there is almost no wrong way to do it…as long as our motives are good. Does giving up chocolate (for example) really accomplish this (if so, great!), or is it simply a goal to check of the list and feel proud of? Are we giving up certain things to be healthier? Great! But I also encourage you to think about what sort of spiritual element accompanies your practice.

With that, I ask, “What is your practice for this Lenten journey?”

I wish you well this Lenten season and eagerly await the day we can once again share the news that Jesus is risen indeed! May your journey be fruitful, and may God bless you every day.


Pastor Ryan

Email Pastor Ryan:  pastorryan@sotpmail.com

Link to summer of 2024 Youth Gathering website for those interested in more information:  https://www.elca.church/gathering





Thrivent Choice Dollars

For Thrivent Members

Matt & John Drafall will be at church on Saturday March 9th and Sunday March 10th to assist you with directing any Choice Dollars you may have accrued.

They need to be directed by March 31st, or the money will be lost.

In the past 10 years, Thrivent Financial has sent SOTP an average between $5,000.00 & $6,000.00 each year.

Contact: Ralph Wehnes ralphwehnes@sbcglobal.net


2024 Offering Envelopes

And Giving Numbers

We have heard from many members that are on electronic giving, that they don’t want or need envelopes. 

We have implemented a new system, where there is an opportunity to opt out of receiving offering envelopes.

Besides electronic giving, if you are on annual or semi-annual giving, you also can opt out of envelopes.  Contact Michelle Rankin to get set up.

With this change, many of you will have new envelope numbers for 2024.  The 2024 envelopes will be issued sometime in December.

Contact: Michelle Rankin michelle@sotpmail.com




Thank You

Christmas Decor

A Big THANK YOU to everyone who helped decorate the church on Monday, November 27. 

It takes a lot of helpers/elves to decorate and put up five trees.

The Worship Committee thanks you for a job well done!!!!

Contact: Carolyn Cuttle  ednca@comcast.net



Therapy Dog


John and Carol Sturz have been training their 5-year-old golden retriever, Rosie, to be a Therapy Dog.

The first step in her training was to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizenship test, a 10-skill test that teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners. The next part of her certification will be to make visits to schools, hospitals, nursing homes as well as to Shepherd of the Prairie Church and anywhere she is welcome.  So far Rosie has been with us at many local restaurants and at SOTP Saturday night services.

Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs that are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is one that guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone with a physical disability.  Therefore Rosie is not given the same duties and privileges that a service dog has.

Since many people are familiar with the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort dogs, we want to clarify that Rosie is not part of that organization.  LCC K9’s places dogs with assigned handlers and the dogs live in homes with assigned caregivers. Rosie will continue to live with us and we will be her handlers. Our plan is to take her for visits to nursing homes, hospitals and other places like libraries, since we have both worked as school and college Librarians.  John is also a retired Lutheran pastor.

John and Carol Sturz

Christmas Weekend Schedule

At Shepherd of the Prairie

Christmas blessings to you and your family! We are looking forward to worshiping with you this weekend. 

A reminder there are no morning worship services on Christmas Eve Day.

Please consider joining us for worship on Saturday night, December 23rd at:

  • 5:00 pm, we will be using the Gospel reading for the 4th Sunday in Advent (Luke 1:26-38) for this service and light the 4th Advent Candle.

On Christmas Eve we hope you are able to join us for worship at:

  • 3:00 pm: Acoustic carols, candles & communion
  • 5:00 pm: Contemporary carols, candles & communion
  • 11:00 pm: Traditional carols, candles & communion

For more information on the Christmas Eve services please CLICK HERE

  • Also, a reminder of the community carol sing in the Huntley Square on Christmas Eve at 8:00 pm. Father DiTomo (St. Mary’s Catholic Church) and myself will be leading the carol sing this year.

We look forward to welcoming you and your family in worship and so thankful to you all for your partnership in ministry through this past year.

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Mark

Vacation Bible School


VBS will be

July 8-12, 2024

Contact: Jill Gillming at Jill@sotpmail.com





Community Food Drive

For the Grafton Food Pantry

February 24th from 9am-1pm  is the Community Outreach’s first Grafton Food Drive of 2024. 

Help us fill the shelves at the Grafton Food Pantry. Whether you choose to donate items or give monetarily, all donations are greatly appreciated.

Contact: Tara Mackey  rtmackey10@hahoocom





Thank You!

From the Grafton Food Pantry

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! 

We recently received a call from Harriet Ford from the Grafton Food Pantry expressing her sincere gratefulness for all SOTP’s contributions in 2023. She shared that she wished more organizations would think of them throughout the year as SOTP does with our monthly collections and quarterly food drives.

On that positive note, let’s show Grafton that we can go above and beyond in 2024!!

Be sure to watch the newsletter for our first of the month collections and the first community food drive in February!

-Community Outreach and Mission Teams

Contact: Tara Mackey   rtmackey10@yahoo.com


Congregational Resourcing Event


You are invited to the Congregational Resourcing Event on March 16, 2024, at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois. 

This is hosted by the Congregational Life Committee. We will gather with worship. Then, we will participate in the keynote and discussion led by Rev. Miguel Gomez-Acosta, the Senior Director for New Ministry Development and Evangelism at the Churchwide Office of the ELCA.

The workshop listing will be shared as soon as it is ready. Registration is now open and closes on March 2nd. The registration fee is $25 for the event. This includes breakfast treats, coffee, and lunch. Scholarships are available.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about how you can be part of and share God’s Story. We can meet at SOTP and carpool to Dixon.

To register or for more information let Donna know.

Contact: Donna Kelly donna@sotpmail.com  847-669-9448


Mission Team

February Gazette

What is the difference between a refugee, a migrant, an immigrant and an asylum seeker? 

A “migrant” is a worker who comes over to work temporarily and returns to their home country each time.

An immigrant is technically some who comes to work permanently (i.e. green cards etc.)

Asylum seekers are when people flee their own country and seek sanctuary in another country, they apply for asylum – the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance. (what is commonly now  in the US  referred to as immigrants.

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

Refugees apply to a country and are vigorously vetted before arriving and accepted into the country they have applied for.

THAT SAID, COULD YOU HELP the mission team supply a newly arriving refugee family with an EXODUS welcome pack?

We have many items already, but still need Plastic Wrap, Set of 8 glasses, Twin Comforter, Dishwashing soap, Broom & Dust Pan and more.  Please go to www.bit.ly/SOTPrefugee24 to register to purchase an item.

– – – – – – – –

What else is the mission team a part of this month?

The Lenten offerings have been designated for AARK Gardens, Exodus World Service, Food cards for homeless in tent city and CRE-Reentry.

On Monday Feb. 19th , 4 t0 8 PM CULVERS’ FUNDRAISER to support local Habitat for Humanity.

Contact: Sandy Hupert at sandyhupert@gmail.com



Giving Tree

Thank You!

A BIG thank you to all who purchased gift cards, personal checks or gave extra gift cards for the Giving Tree.

We had 70 clients from Turning Point and 15 families from Grafton Food Pantry.  That totaled 119 gift cards, plus the extra gifts.  The need was VERY heavy this year and we could have taken more families.  Hopefully, next year.  I want to thank Alice and Bev for taking over this Mission work in 2024.  Blessings to all and a Happy New Year.

Contact: Alice Miller   admiller93@comcast.net




Prairie Pointe Quilters

Scissors Needed

Happy New Year everyone! 

As always our ladies have been hard at work making some fun and some beautiful quilts.  As you can see, this quilt isn’t quite finished, but won’t this be special for someone?

We are asking for a donation of some new, high quality fabric scissors to the quilters.  We had one pair and they have gone missing.  They are the only scissors that really cut the fabric for us.

Contact: Bev Kenny   krkbjk@comcast.net