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Shepherd of the Valley

is a Christ-based church located in Hope, Rhode Island. As a member of the United Methodist Church we are part of a global denomination that opens hearts, opens minds and opens doors through active engagement with our world. The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We affirm the faith shared by all Christians, with particular emphasis on God's grace and on Christian living.

Our church community welcomes all people, regardless of religious and cultural background, race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, and physical and mental abilities. We are called to be a curious people on a spiritual journey, exploring our faith, asking questions, and growing together in Christ. Whether you are just visiting or looking for a new church home, we would like to welcome you. 

Our Church

Meet The Staff

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Rev. Effie McAvoy



A native of California by way of North Carolina, Reverend Effie McAvoy was ordained in 1997 as a member of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. She moved to the New England Annual Conference in 2010. She earned a BA degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Women’s Studies from Appalachian State University and her MDiv from Boston University. Pastor Effie has served Shepherd of the Valley since 2020.

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Sandra Knapp

Certified Lay Minister


Sandy hails from Wisconsin and moved to New England in 2016. After becoming a Lay Servant in 2009, she was certified as a Lay Minister in 2019 and assigned to Shepherd of the Valley. She is continuing her studies with a focus on pastoral care. Additionally, she works on the conference level helping others on their path to become CLMs.

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Pam Etheridge

Empress of the Office


Pam joined the staff at Shepherd of the Valley as the Office Manager and Food Pantry Coordinator in 2006. She has a BA in History from Old Dominion University and a MA in Medieval History from Providence College. When not at church, she can be found running or coaching her field hockey and lacrosse teams.

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Lisa Marciniak

Youth/Family Ministry Coodinator


Since 2017 Lisa has served as the Youth and Family Ministry Coordinator, overseeing the Nursery, Sunday School, Youth Group and family-centered events at Shepherd of the Valley. Lisa graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a MS in Human Development & Family Science with a minor in Psychology.

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Accompanist and Choir Leader

Cathy Clasper-Torch is a multi-instrumentalist (piano, violin, cello, erhu), performer and music educator. She plays with numerous Rhode Island musicians/bands, in various genres from folk to rock to jazz and R & B.  Cathy is the fiddle/violin instructor at the Blackstone River Theatre (Cumberland, RI) and is also a member of Grace Note Singers, offering bedside singing to people receiving palliative care.  

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Bill Johnson


Bill is our longest tenured staff member, serving the church for more than twenty years. Bill keeps the church in pristine condition and is responsible for      day-to-day maintenance. He is a gift to the church!


Shepherd of the Valley has many groups meetng throughout the year. We also serve as the host for numerous community organizations and events. 

To view the full calendar, please click here

If you would like to learn more about renting the church for your next event, please contact the Church Office.



The Circuit Rider, our monthly newsletter, is a valuable resource to keep up with all that is going on at Shepherd of the Valley. 

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