CUSTER, South Dakota 
About Shepherd of the Hills 
About our Shepherd of the Hills church family

WELS families in the Custer area began meeting for worship in members' homes in 1985. The name "Shepherd of the Hills" was chosen and worship was conducted in a rented room in the community center.

The prayers to have a facility of our own were fulfilled when the current site, a former submarine sandwich shop, was purchased. The Lord blessed the efforts of His people and this building was made into the chapel we enjoy today. The dedication took place in November 1988.In recent years, we remodeled the exterior and interior through the blessing of many hours of donated labor from members . A celebration of anniversary and re-dedication took place November, 2008. A new sign was added in August and dedicated in September 2013. The sign was replaced in 2018 following a freak accident where a driver lost control and ended up hung up on the sign and cross, the cross keeping the car from rolling and killing the occupants.  

    Our prayer is to have a friendly place of worship for praising God in a building that is energy and maintenance efficient. Our families are served by Pastor Lloyd Lemke and Pastor Verlyn Dobberstein.   Mike Delaney, Janeen Lemke, and Ena Dobberstein are our organists, and Luane Austad and Ellen Haffner teach Sunday School.

We share special services such as Lent, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day services with our sister congregation, Grace, Hot Springs, SD.  

About our pastors 

Pastor Lloyd and Janeen Lemke

Pastor Lloyd Lemke grew up south of Milwaukee, WI. He was a member of the 1971 centennial graduating class from Northwestern College and received his Bachelor of Arts degree. Pastor received his Master of Divinity degree from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI in 1975.  He began working with Shepherd of the Hills in Custer in 1997 as their permanent vacancy pastor.  Prior to moving to the Hills, Pastor served in the Tampa Bay area north of Port Richey, FL, and then at St. James Lutheran in the Thumb area of Michigan north of Detroit. He served the dual parish of Trinity, Sturgis and Hope, Spearfish,  in Hulett, WY from 1993-2006. In 2006 Hope, Spearfish and Trinity, Sturgis, were no longer a dual parish.  He also served a preaching station in Hulett, Wyoming for several of those years.   He continued to serve Trinity, Sturgis until his retirement in June 2012, at which time the Lemkes moved to their present location,   "Lemke's Spotted Mule Ranch" between Custer and Newcastle, Wyoming. In retirement,  Pastor Lemke also works at Frontier Home/Ranch/Hardware in Newcastle, WY. Pastor and Janeen met while he served in Michigan. Janeen is a 1976 social work graduate of Michigan State University. They were married in 1979. Their three sons, Martin, (Stef) Peter, (Kristal)and Aaron (Laura) live in White Bear Lake, MN, Houston, TX and Sturgis, SD, respectively. They have six grandchildren, Royce, Arthur, Ezra, Elijah,  Piper, and Zoey.  Janeen plays organ for worship,  is an AirBnB host and the chief wrangler on the ranch. Janeen and Pastor are mule people keeping four mules, four horses and a miniature donkey, as well as ducks, chickens and goats on their ranchette and were in the past very active in 4-H as well as with anything outdoors.

Pastor Verlyn Dobberstein grew up in Wisconsin and received his BA degree from Northwestern College in Watertown, WI in 1967 and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI with a Master of Divinity degree in 1971. Pastor served at St. Peter in Brodhead, WI for four years, at Calvary in Sheboygan, WI for ten years, and at First in Lake Geneva, WI for 23 years before moving to the Black Hills.  Pastor and Ena fell in love with the Black Hills while on vacation in 1999 and purchased 10 acres on a high ridge overlooking the Hot Brook Canyon.  A guest house was built in 2001 and their timber frame home, now called "Dobber's Ridge"  was built in 2006. The peace and quiet and the beautiful scenery they experience on the ridge will be enjoyed by their six children and five grandchildren who all live back in Wisconsin. Ena most recently worked worked for nThrive as a national Senior Vice President of Sales for 7 years before retiring in April 2018. Pastor and Ena work on the landscaping and taking care of their two Arabian horses on the ranch. In retirement, Pastor Dobberstein also works for the Fall River Healthcare System.

Pastor Verlyn and Ena Dobberstein