A Message from our Pastor

Sharing the Fragrance of Christ
 
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
 
Parents are a child’s first teachers.  They watch us intently and then learn from our example; every move we make, every look we display, every action we take, every word we speak.  I can even see it in my newborn grandson.  Now that he is opening his eyes a little more (!), he just looks and looks, and studies everything and everyone around him; again, especially his mom and dad.
 
In other words, children are fantastic mimics.  They imitate what they see and hear.  That’s how they learn, of course.
 
A woman once invited some guests to dinner.  At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”  The daughter, who was a little shy, replied, “I wouldn’t know what to say.”  Her mom answered, “Just say what you hear Mommy say.”  So the little girl bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner!”
 
The writer of Ephesians, as I shared, encouraged his readers – early Christians – to “be imitators of God, as beloved children…”  If God is our heavenly Father, then we are God’s children, and it is only natural, it’s only logical, that – as God’s children – we should be imitators of God.  That we should mimic and copy everything we see and hear from God.  That’s how we learn too.
 
So what is it, then, that we see and hear from God, and we should imitate and mimic in our own lives?  Most of all, it is love.  But it is also patience and kindness and forgiveness and respect.  Over and over again in the Old Testament, we read that God is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
 
I mention this only because it seems to me that we are living in a time where there seems to be precious little love, and patience, and kindness, and forgiveness, and respect.  We live in a time when we all seem instead to be increasingly quick to anger, and utterly lacking in steadfast, or enduring, love.  Especially in our civil discourse.  Especially as we relate to our neighbors and fellow citizens.
 
As Christians, is this how we are called to live and behave?  Does such behavior mimic or imitate the God who is always slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love in response to us and our failings?  If not, is there a better way? The writer of Ephesians thinks that there is.  He says: “…live in love, as Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

                                                                                                                        

Pastor Ed                


Edward Kropa  "Pastor Ed"

Pastor


GET TO KNOW 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.  




MEET Our Church Council

PRESIDENT - Michael Della Rosa

VICE PRESIDENT - Sharryn Papinchak 

TREASURER - Erika Driscoll      

SECRETARY - Debbie Unger

Education  -  Janet Creech

Support  - John Drager

Maintenance  -  John Fink & Stefan Martinsen

Outreach  -  Bill Siefert 

Social Ministries  -  Siggy Kuehn

Youth Ministry  -  Tara Zigler

Youth  -  Michael Woods

Worship  -  Ramona Pappas
 

Thank You to our newly retired Council Members,  Carol Romba & John Bonanno,

for you dedication and commitment to our council and church! 


Welcome - Michael Della Rosa, Stefan Martinsen & Ramona Pappas