As the crowd flooded into the building, they walked past monuments of the church’s past and stepped into a space that points to the church’s future. The people entered into an expansive gym, filled with folding chairs. At the front of the room, an elevated platform was decorated with a processional cross, banners, and candles. Inside their new Family Life Center, the congregation of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in San Antonio praised God for the gift of a building designed to move ministry forward, a building made possible with funding from Texas District CEF.

The dedication service on Aug. 13 was the culmination of years of prayer, discussion, planning, and, of course, construction. The purpose of the building is to enhance the ministry of the church, school, and child care, and to provide a space that the community can use for events, receptions, meetings, and other functions.

The building contains several elements that filled needs on campus at Shepherd. On the first floor, the gym is more than twice the size of the former gym and allows for games for all ages and tournaments. The school offices provide a spacious setting for administration of the day-to-day operations of Shepherd’s school and child care, currently enrolling about 330 children. Upstairs, the meeting rooms, known as the Sky Rooms, provide ample space for Bible studies, meetings, and other group activities. Also upstairs is a fine arts hall for children to learn and rehearse for band, hand bells, and other music education.

Throughout the building, six stained glass windows adorn the walls. These windows were preserved from the original church building, which was constructed in 1969 and torn down in 2019 to make way for the new building, a project the congregation voted to undertake in honor of the church’s 50th anniversary. The project became known as Shepherd @ 50.