A Message from our Pastor

New Year’s resolutions or not?

“It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions.  Have you made yours yet?  Last New Year’s I made 6 resolutions and I am proud to say that I kept them all year long.  I kept them in an envelope in the top drawer of my desk!”  (Dan Mahan)

It’s indeed that time of year again.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been very successful over the years making major annual changes and/or improvements in my life.  It’s been more like “two steps forward, one step back.”  In other words, I’ve found that, over time, I have made progress. But, unlike fulfilling grand resolutions, my own changes and improvements have been much more gradual with occasional (sometimes frequent!) starts and stops along the way.  The other problem with New Year’s resolutions is that a whole year is a long time to stay focused on anything; even if it is something positive and good.

This got me to thinking.  As Lutherans, I realized, we’re really not so much into New Year’s resolutions and big sweeping life changes at all.  We’re much more realistic, I guess.  Instead, we’re more about new day resolutions; that is, the kind that come about as we reclaim our baptism each and every morning.  Martin Luther described this when he talked about The Sacrament of Holy Baptism in his Small Catechism:


It signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires if to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.


St. Paul says in Romans 6, “We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

So, this year, I have “resolved” to not think (or worry!) so much about keeping New Year’s resolutions, and seeking to achieve significant and sweeping annual changes in my life.  Rather, I’m going to focus instead on those small, cumulative changes that come about when, through our baptism, we die to sin and rise to new life with Christ – each and every day.  And I’m calling these:

“New DAY resolutions.”  Perhaps this is even something we can strive to do together.

God’s Peace,                                                                                                                  

Pastor Ed                

Edward Kropa  "Pastor Ed"




The Rev. Pastor Kropa, known as Pastor Ed to his congregation, spent part of his youth raised in Freehold Township.   In 1967 when he was 11 years old, he and his family became charter members of our newly formed Hope Lutheran Church. 


“During this period, I regularly served as an acolyte and was involved in the church youth group.  In fact, it was while growing up at Hope that slowly but surely, I began to sense a call to ministry " 


"While attending college, I began to explore this possibility further.  First by taking courses like public speaking, and by coming home on weekends to teach Sunday school.  Finally, when I could no longer "talk myself out of it," I applied and was accepted to Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. "

It was at Trinity that Pastor earned his Masters of Divinity and in 1985 returned to Hope Lutheran Church, where he was ordained.  He later went on to earn a Doctorate in Ministry at Drew University.


During his 32 years of pastoral leadership Kropa and his wife Jeanette have served 6 churches & raised 3 daughters.  He is a excited to be back in Freehold, reuniting with friends and family and embracing his new congregation.  


“Not only am I coming back to my church, I am returning to my community.  Returning to HOPE is coming home.”


Pastor was "called" to service on June 11th, began his leadership role in early August, and was installed as our new Pastor at a ceremonial worship service on September 24, 2017.  


Pastor Ed and family embraced their return, are loving NJ and are happy to call it HOME.   


MEET Our Church Council

PRESIDENT - Michael Della Rosa

VICE PRESIDENT - Sharryn Papinchak 

TREASURER -   John Drager

SECRETARY - Debbie Unger

Education  -  Janet Creech

Fellowship  - Tom Landes

                              Michelle Verdino

Maintenance Stefan Martinsen

                                -  Matthew Sprunger

Youth Ministry  -  Tara Zigler

We are looking to fill the Support Commission Coordinator roll
Reports to the Church Council and provides Stewardship, Skills and Enlistment support.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

1) Convene a meeting to plan a Stewardship Program, and execute it during the 4th Quarter.

  • a) Report results to Council at its December meeting

2) Develop or revise the Time and Abilities Form

  • a) Distribution and collection of form during the 4th Quarter
  • b) Ensure that new members of the congregation receive a copy
  • c) Maintain our database of member's skills and interests, and match them to the activities, needs and structure of the Church Council

3) Maintain a support bulletin board and provide Volunteer Ministries coordination.

4) Provide for new member orientation to the Stewardship Plan for Giving and the Time and Abilities Form.

5) Develop, maintain and publish a summary of Church Committees and their membership, for use by the members of the Church Council.

6) Consider special appeals that do not fall under other Council ministries and make recommendations to the Council (e.g. World Hunger, ELCA appeals, etc.).