More than 24 years ago, the LCMS office was interested in starting a mission in Maumelle, Arkansas. The Methodist church of Maumelle had built a new church, so their facility, at 449 Millwood Circle, became available. The District purchased the building and property, and began the search for a pastor, who would be the mission developer. Rev. Paul Mayerhoff from Metairie, LA accepted the call to come to Maumelle, Arkansas. He, his wife Carol, and their three children moved within a month.
The first organizational meeting of prospective members was held on August 12, 1990 in the church building. Twenty four committed members brought lawn chairs, and gathered to decide what to do next. The first decision was to paint the interior of the church. Furnishings would be the second effort, and the third effort would be to clean up the church grounds. After the hard work of these committed folks, the church looked almost new! An electronic organ was purchased. The altar paraments, altar cross, communion ware, and offering plates were ordered.
Naming a mission is like naming a child. Everyone wanted this church to be unique and have a different name from the churches in the Little Rock, North Little Rock, or Conway areas. Almost everyone liked the use of Shepherd, so the members tried several different variations. The final decision was Shepherd of Peace Lutheran, because Jesus is our Shepherd and He brings peace into our lives. Shepherd of Peace would be a congregation to shepherd others and bring peace into their lives.
This shepherding began with a Wednesday evening Bible study, which started on October 10th, 1990. The study was on “Friendship,” which was a way to get to know each other better, as we prepared to have the first worship service at Shepherd of Peace Lutheran.
An invitation and brochure went out to the Maumelle and Oak Grove areas. The invitation stated: “Come Celebrate Friendship in Christ with Us Sunday, November 4, 1990 10:30 a.m. Shepherd of Peace Lutheran Church, 449 Millwood Circle…” More than 100 individuals were present at the November 4th worship service, led by Rev. Paul Mayerhoff. The Hosanna Singers from New Orleans, Louisiana were the special music guests for the celebration.
The first official business meeting was held on December 2, 1990. The order of business for this session was: the proposed 1991 budget, which had to be sent in to the District Office for approval since the mission was being subsidized by the District; the charter Sunday was set for April 28, 1991.
With an average attendance of 62 in worship, the celebration of Advent and Christmas activated the members into planning and decorating the sanctuary for the worship services. The holiday worship schedule included a Christmas Eve Service that was held at 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24, 1990 and A New Year’s Eve service for Monday, December 31 at 7:00 p.m.
The Lenten season led to Easter Sunday on March 31, 1991. The brightly decorated altar area helped the congregation realize that the gloom of Lent had passed and He has arisen! The youth group served the Easter Breakfast, and the Sunday School Teachers sponsored the morning Easter egg hunt.
The Charter Sunday worship service on April 28, 1991 opened with the Joy Ringers from Christ Lutheran Church, Little Rock playing “Outburst of Joy” and the congregational singing of “Brothers and Sisters in Christ,” the congregational theme hymn. The prospective members signed the charter and became full members of Shepherd of Peace Lutheran Church – a congregation ready to be “a door” through which God’s love could flow to the Maumelle community.
Shepherd of Peace has seen 24 years of history, since that charter Sunday. History which has included many baptisms, weddings, confirmations, and funerals. We have seen the retirement of our first pastor, the installation and departure of our second, and are now growing in grace as we await our third. Members have also come and gone; many of the charter members are no longer with Shepherd of Peace.
The family of Shepherd of Peace Lutheran church has grown. The outburst of joy is still ringing in the worship services and celebrations. Shepherd of Peace Lutheran church still is a place for you…a place to bring your friends and your family.
You are a part of that history. You are Shepherd of Peace Lutheran Church. The church is here for you. It is here for everyone, and it is our Christian duty to “Go and tell” others of Christ, our risen Lord so that they too, will know the love of a church family…because He brings peace into our lives. We are a congregation of believers, brought together in love and faith to shepherd and bring peace to others in the name of our Lord and Savior.