Shepherd of the Sierra celebrates new building

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News ServicePastor Norm Milz at Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church poses inside the sanctuary of the new church Sept. 3.

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News ServicePastor Norm Milz at Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church poses inside the sanctuary of the new church Sept. 3.

The new Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church is made of the simple elements of wood, stone and glass, using mountains as background.

The church sanctuary has wooden pews, a polished concrete floor and the congregation faces windows looking out to a panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada.

"We had a view of the mountains all along, even in the old church, so that was one thing the congregation asked when we were building the new sanctuary - 'Can we still see the mountains?'" said Pastor Norm Milz. "As it says in Psalm 121, 'I lift up my eyes to the hills, and where is my help come from?'"

The old sanctuary could seat 100-120 people. The new sanctuary, including balcony, has a maximum capacity of 290.

The project to expand the church building from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet was started in November 2006.

"The original church used to be the Southwest Gas building that they took apart and moved up the hill. That flat roof leaked like a sieve," said Milz.

"We wanted the old building to blend in with the new. They matched the stucco from the new building. People stop in to look because the outside is so pretty."

"Outside there's a lighted cross hooked up to a sensor so the cross lights up when it gets dark. Coming from both directions, all of the sudden there's a cross in the sky. It seems suspended in the air. It turned out even nicer than I'd hoped."

The congregation celebrated its first service in the new church Aug. 9.

"We began worship in the old sanctuary and thanked God for the space," said Milz. "I took the group outside through the old door in the old lobby and spent time talking on the pavers that have the words, 'A mighty fortress.'

"We came in the new part of the building, dedicated the baptism font, altar, and the musical instruments. We sang a song and baptized a boy and had the Lord's supper that day of opening worship."

The congregation had a planting day under the direction Full Circle Compost owner Craig Witt and landscaper Dan Luke. The grounds have native and drought-tolerant plants including Rose of Sharon, honeysuckle, butterfly bush, broom and pine.

"They got the trees and mulch and we were done in four hours. All of the sudden it's a finished product," Milz said.

A special worship service is 4 p.m. Sunday at the new Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church.

"People are invited to come celebrate services (this Sunday) and they're welcome anytime," he said. "Come and look at the church."

Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church is at 3680 Highway 395, Carson City. Regular worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday. Sunday school and Bible study for all ages at 9 a.m. Information, 267-3680.

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