In the early 1900’s 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 20’s a parsonage was built and the church became self-sufficient, requiring no money from the Mission Board to operate. By the early 30’s membership had reached 300 and the church building was enlarged.
With its roots as a mission start-up Hope continued that tradition establishing Calvary Lutheran Church in 1927 and Beacon Lutheran in 1934. In the 40’s 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. Starting with 88 students in grades kindergarten through 5, the school added a grade for the next three years. 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 80’s Pastor Haak gave way to Pastor Doug Iben and the office of Director of Christian Education was started with Brad Hirsch serving for 10 years and Jeff Kranich serving from 1991 to 2010.
In the mid 90’s Pastor Iben was called to serve a new congregation in northern Washington and Pastor Pera entered retirement. Since their departure Hope has been served by Pastor Bruce Biesenthal in an interim position for three years and Pastor Ruben Spannuas in an interim position 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 the seasons of Advent and Lent.