As the Rev. Eugene Beutel drove through Freehold Township from his parish in Neptune, NJ, he observed the town's rapid growth and saw possibilities for a new congregation. With this thought in mind, he contacted Rev. John Houck, Regional Director of American Missions of the Easter District of the American Lutheran Church, to discuss. After a demographic study of the region and population projections, Rev. Houck determined that the area was a good choice for a new house of worship. His location scouting led him to Moe Green, a chicken farmer at Jackson Mills and Elton Roads. Mr. Green sold Rev. Houck 6.5 acres for $41,177. The architectural firm of Nader-Tellefsen, Hohokus, NJ was then hired to design the new church building.
A corporation was formed by Rev. Houck, Rev. Beutel, Mrs. Dorothy Pardini & Lew Loken of Redeemer Lutheran of Neptune, NJ
and Rev. James Opsal of Woodcliff Lake, NJ. This new entity signed a contract for $67,700 on March 11, 1966, with Goodvin Church Builders, Inc. of Wichita, KS, for construction of the first church building. Work began in March and continued until November.
The incorporators also chose the name of the new venture: Hope Lutheran Church.
A four-bedroom colonial, located at 266 Stonehurst Boulevard in Freehold, was purchased from Denis Realty for $29,450 to be used as a parsonage. All major appliances were included in the purchase of this year-old house. The mortgage of $22,899 was assumed by the corporation and payments were a mere $202 a month.
In May of 1966, the Rev. Albert W. Gibson, Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD, was extended a call by
the American Lutheran Church to be the organizing pastor of this new congregation in Freehold Township, NJ. Rev. Gibson accepted the challenge and moved with his family: wife - Lois, daughter- Martha (10), and sonsThomas (7) and Steven (2) into the parsonage in July. His annual salary was $7,250.
With a budget in place for the church & parsonage, work began with the help of regional parish worker, Joan Christman, and
Rev. Al Gibson started canvassing the growing community for new parishioners. The first service at HOPE was held in the rain on September 25, 1966, in a partially-completed sanctuary with an attendance of appx. 150 folks. Between the first service and the dedication, the steering committee led the way to successful completion of our church. The dedication for the building took place on November 27, 1966 with 265 attending the service and a great many participants. Our iconic HOPE anchor cross was constructed and hung on the chancel wall by dedication.
In April 1967 the first signing to indicate membership began. Each adult member received a sterling silver lapel pin engraved with a blue anchor cross. Ed Kropa (now our Pastor) became the first Acolyte to wear our newly purchased robes.
HOPE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL was established in October 1967, with Gloria Kropa as head teacher of 4 year olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 13 students enrolled for a fee of $8 per month. Many new church groups were formed this year and HOPE was well on it's way!
OPEN DOOR was established by Pastor Gibson, The Monmouth County Assistance Program and other local Clergical & lay personnel to provice emergency relief to the people of Freehold and surrounding areas.
OPEN DOOR began to operate in March under the coordination of Pastor Gibson. Located on Throckmorton St. in Freehold Borough this facility provided and continues to provide goods, services and counceling to those in need.
This year marked an expansion of HOPE's education program and school with the addition of an 8 classroom educational wing. The ground breaking was in August with the dedication in November.
The HOPE COUNSELING CENTER was approved with $10,000 funding from the ALC United Mission Appleal and the support of other Freehold area churches.
At the annual meeting in January 1983 the church council approved spending $500,000 to construct a new worship building.
June 30, 1985 was the ground breaking for the new multi-purpose room on the south side of the church building.
We dedicated Fellowship Hall and the refurbished Worship Center with new choir loft on April 20, 1986
The Bell Tower construction began and was dedicated in September. Upon retirement in November, we bid farwell to our longtime Pastor Al Gibson and Pastor Tom Weber was called to serve as vacancy Pastor.
The Rev. Dr. Patricia S. Medley was called as HOPE'S pastor in September 1998 and was installed on December 6, 1998.
Pastor Pat served for 18 years and retired June 30, 2016. There were 246 people in attendance at the last worship service conducted by her. The Rev. Tracie L. Bartholomew, Bishop, NJ Synod officiated her God Speed.
In June 2016 the Rev. Dr. L. George Detweiler was called to serve as the Interim Pastor for HOPE.
We celebrated our 50th Anniversary of HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH! We had many festive events throughout the year including our 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee Gala, held on Sunday April 2, 2017. The Hope Christain School (HCS) marked its 50th Anniversary, and we honored this day with a celebration on Sunday, October 1, 2017.
We bid farewell to Pastor George on June 25, 2017 and wish him good luck on his recent retirement.
The Rev. Dr. Edward E. Kropa, Jr. was called to be HOPE'S new pastor on June 11, 2017 at a Special Congregational Meeting.
On August 1, 2017 Pastor Ed commenced his first day of leadership here. Pastor Ed's Installation Service was on Sunday, September 24th at 10:45am and the ceremony was officiated by the Bishop Rev. Tracie L. Bartholomew with a reception that followed in Fellowhip Hall.
We WELCOME Pastor Ed, his wife Jeanette and daughter Kaitlin to HOPE!
Pastor Ed and family completed their inaugural year here at HOPE and couldn't be happier to call it HOME.
With the success and growth of our school, and the expansion and development of new church ministries and programs, we enjoyed seeing HOPE flourish internally and within our community,
Welcome 2020! We embrace this NEW YEAR with a great deal of excitement, faith and HOPE. We encourage you to join us on our journey!
For a more detailed church history, you may pick up a copy of "HOPE LUTHERAN CHURCH - 50 YEARS 1967-2017" in the church office.