Back in February of 1972, a group of Lutheran families here in Salmon got together and invited Pastor Richard Kiessling of Grace Lutheran Church, up in Hamilton, Montana, to come down and hold monthly communion services. He agreed and the first such service was held the very next month at the Episcopal Church. The numbers of attenders grew and before long there were two services a month.
The growing congregation moved over to the Presbyterian Church in 1978 and was soon served by a Lay Minister, Mr. Terry Rosenau, who began leading them in weekly services. They chose the name Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church and on May 7, 1978, they celebrated Charter Membership Sunday. They also purchased seven acres of land, situated two miles south of Salmon on Highway 28, in the hopes of one day being able to worship in their own church building.
That dream came to fruition in 1986 when, under the direction of Rev. David Poovey, who had been called to be Shepherd of the Valley’s first pastor three years earlier, ground was officially broken for the construction of a new building. On Sunday, October 19th, of that year, the building was complete and the people gathered for the dedication. The opening chords were played and the voices swelled as the joyous sounds of Martin Luther’s great Reformation hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” filled the worship space.
And that’s how it’s been ever since. We’ve been served by a succession of pastors since that day – Rev. Richard Neugebauer, Rev. Michael Warmbier, Rev. Timothy Gordish, Rev. Kevin Peterson, and Rev. Michael Musegades – but it’s the same Word of God, both Law and Gospel, that’s been preached, the same sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper that have been administered, by which God calls and strengthens his people. It’s the same Jesus, crucified and risen, who with the Father and the Spirit is worshiped and glorified. To God alone be the glory!