In the early 1900s a large Lutheran church on Capitol Hill in Seattle looked across Puget Sound with missionary zeal. They saw the emerging community of West Seattle as a prime opportunity for a new church. In 1918, thirteen people met to form a new congregation. Within a month of that meeting they had organized Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, called a pastor and purchased four lots on the corner of 42nd Ave SW and Oregon Street. Over the next year, under the leadership of Pastor Oscar Korsmeyer, the original chapel was built.
After the quick start, Hope went through a time of tough growth during World War I and the Depression. By the early '20s a parsonage was built and the church became self-sufficient, requiring no money from the Mission Board to operate. By the early '30s membership had reached 300 and the church building was enlarged.
Hope continued its tradition as a mission start-up and established Calvary Lutheran Church in 1927 and Beacon Lutheran in 1934. In the 40s Hope helped organize Grace Lutheran on Vashon Island and held Sunday School in a newly built High Point neighborhood as well as holding services for German prisoners during World War II.
In 1939 Pastor Schmidt was installed and was soon joined by three assistant pastors. During this time, Hope's membership rose to over 500. In 1949 Pastor Jaech took over and helped bring Hope into a new era in ministry.
In 1952 the church building was re-built to house the growing congregation and in 1959 Hope was able to finally realize a long-standing dream: to open a Lutheran day school. While the school embarked on its first year with 88 students, grades kindergarten through 5th, in a one-story building, the school added a grade for the next three years. Hope School recently celebrated its 60th anniversary and currently enrolls over 220 students in Preschool through 8th grade. Each day hundreds of children and teachers pursue knowledge and wisdom in an atmosphere of God's love in Jesus Christ for each person. Hope School has been served by many principals through the years, including: Art Schoennauer, Truman Leuthauser, Jim Knittel, Dale Cooper, interim principal Irene Gehring, Paul Brott, Peter Renn and currently Kristen Okabayashi (joined in 2010).
In 1963 Clemens Pera was welcomed as the first associate pastor. In 1970 Pastor Jaech moved on to become president of the Northwest District and Pastor Loel Haak joined Pastor Pera as associate pastor. During the early 80s Pastor Haak was succeeded by Pastor Doug Iben and the church called its first Director of Christian Education, Brad Hirsch. He served for 10 years and Jeff Kranich served from 1991 to 2010. In 2013, Jonathan Kopecky accepted a call to serve as Hope's current Director of Christian Education.
In the mid 90s Pastor Iben was called to serve a new congregation in northern Washington and Pastor Pera entered retirement. After their departure Hope was served by Interim Pastor Bruce Biesenthal for three years and by Interim Pastor Ruben Spannaus from January 2000 to April 2001. From May 2001 to June 2011, Pastor Keith Eilers served Hope as the senior pastor, overseeing during that time the Journey of Faith building project that joined the church and school buildings together. In May 2011, Pastor Peter Mueller from Anaheim, California accepted the call following the retirement of Pastor Eilers. He was installed in August 2011 and we look forward to many great years under his steadfast leadership.
In addition to Hope Lutheran School, Hope has been involved in many other local and international ministries. Hope was instrumental in the starting of Seattle Lutheran High School. Hope members have participated in Stephen Ministries, Evangelism Explosion, Shepherding Program, Lutheran Laymen's League, Women of Hope, Men of Hope, annual Mexico Mission trips, Human Care Ministry and Food Bank, Lifelight, Koinonia and many home fellowship groups.
Currently Hope offers two Sunday Worship options as well as special services during other times of the year. As Hope follows God into the adventure of the future, our Vision Frame shapes and guides us strategically into the life and work God is calling us towards.
The video of Hope School's 60th Anniversary from March of 2020 is available here.
The video of Hope's 100th Anniversary Service from Sunday September 16th, 2018 is available by clicking here. It is in two parts or separate videos. Enjoy!