Above: Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, the combination of two churches. Swift Falls Lutheran is on the right and Rolling Forks is on the left, with the new entrance construction in the center.
Above: Congregational hall used at Shepherd of the Hills. This is the part of the original Rolling Forks Lutheran Church.
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church was organized in 1966, however its history spans generations prior to that. The church congregation is actually a combination of three, historically Norwegian lutheran churches from the area in 1966. Those three churches were Rolling Forks Lutheran Church constructed in 1885 (previously known as Chippewa Lutheran Church, name changed to Rolling Forks Lutheran Church in 1958 and was located 2.5 miles north of Swift Falls on Pope County Road 19), St. Pauli Lutheran Church (constructed in 1898 and was located 2.5 miles south of Swift Falls on Swift County Road 31) and Swift Falls Lutheran Church (existing location). The church building itself is comprised of the original Swift Falls Lutheran Church and the Rolling Forks Lutheran Church which was moved in and connected to the existing Swift Falls Lutheran Church. Our services actually take place in the Rolling Forks Lutheran Church portion of the Church, while extra seating, rooms, offices, and Sunday School take place in the Swift Falls Lutheran Church portion of the building. The main entrance or Narthex was new construction when the churches combined. The St. Pauli Church was not able to be used. In August of 2016, we will be celebrating 50 years as a single congregation with a celebration event taking place for the surrounding community.
The congregation continues to care for three cemeteries that were part of the orginal three congregations. Both the St. Pauli Cemetery and the Rolling Forks Cemetery are the same grounds where the churches originally stood. The Swift Falls Cemetery has not ever been on the same sight as the Swift Falls Lutheran Church and is located across Swift County Road 26 in Swift Falls adjacent to the county park.
Our congregation is a small family church with many of our members being able to trace thier family back to the beginnings of one of the three churches. The church has a strong scandinavian heritage as the developments around the Camp Lake/Swift Falls area when this portion of Minnesota was opened to settlement by the prioneers were primarily from the northern European countries of Norway and Sweden.
We were in a joint parish agreement with Our Redeemers Lutheran Church in Benson to share pastoral service from 2012 to 2016.. After that time we had a part time pastor for our congregation alone.
October 14, 2018 we will join in a yolking agreement with East Zion and West Zion to share pastoral service.
Above: Rolling Forks Lutheran Church (formerly Chippewa Lutheran Church) at its original location on Pope County Road 19 2.5 miles north of Swift Falls.
Above: St. Pauli Lutheran Church at its original location near Swift County Road 31 2.5 miles south of Swift Falls.