Hope History


On March 11, 1971, Pastor Josh C. Peery received an official call from the Board of American Missions of the Lutheran Church of America to develop a congregation at Citrus Springs. They were glad to advance funds to build a church and to support a minister there, having faith that, in a few years, a thriving congregation would be glad to take over the financial responsibility.
On April 19, Pastor Peery and his wife moved into their parsonage and they were the 29th family to move into Citrus Springs. On July 25, the first worship service of the Lutheran Mission was held in the Community Center. Sixty-five persons were present. Mrs. Ruth Meirer help compile the church bulletins and Elsie Majazak was the mimeograph engineer.
Shortly thereafter, a Service Committee was selected to work with the Pastor and to represent the group in meetings with Dr. Baxter, of Board of American Missions. This committee preceded the Church Council. On Oct 17 the Sunday School met for the first time and on Oct 8 the first choir rehearsal was held. On Dec. 10 the ladies planned the organization of the Lutheran Church Women and the Altar Guild.
On May 7, 1972 Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church was approved as the name of the congregation. On May 14 the congregation adopted the constitution and by laws for the new church and elected members for the church council. Articles of incorporation were adopted and on May 26 Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church was received by the Florida Synod in convention as it 111th congregation.
On June 25 the congregation unanimously elected Rev. Dr. John C. Peery, their "Mission Developer" as their first pastor. He was installed on August 13th. Ground-breaking ceremonies for the new church were held on Sunday, October 1, 1972. Deltona Corporation presented the deed to the property to the church officers at that time. The first service was held in the new church on April 19, 1973.
Rev. Dr. Peery retired on August 31, 1974 and was succeeded by Pastor John L. Fox, of Vienna, West Virginia. On January 28, 1976 the men's group was organized and Earl McKnight was elected president. April 21st the Dorcas Group was formed, led by Ada Parland. The congregation grew to 450 and an early service was added on March 6, 1977. April, 1978 Luther Hall was completed debt-free thru labor, talent and contribution by the congregation.
Pastor Fox resigned August 15, 1978 and was succeeded by Rev. H.E. Hahn, who became vice-pastor on August 16th. Rev. Roy Morrod, of St. Petersburg accepted to serve on January 1, 1979.
On May 30 1980 Annabelle Gushak was honored for 7 years of service as Music Director and Chris Meyer for 6 years as treasurer. In September 1978 the Hi-Lo's Kitchen Band was formed. This band comprised 20 men and women who were dressed in white shirts, large bow ties, straw hats and played kazoos and toy horns. They en
Pastor Morrod resigned October 1, 1982 and Vice-pastor Hahn assumed full-time responsibility. January 3, 1983 the Rev. John H. Clark II formerly of Deerfield Beach, Fl was called to serve as full time pastor. He was installed on March 1983. Laurine Adams was honored for 10 years volunteer service as church secretary. February 1, 1986 brought Rev. Ben Varner to our congregation as Assistant Pastor.
Sunday, March 12, 1989, the dedication of the Education Building took place and Luther Hall was re-dedicated. Guests were shown the 7 new classrooms and enlarged and refurbished kitchen.
On November 26, 1989 the congregation dedicated their new and refurbished facilities. The sanctuary of the church was expanded to seat 285 worshippers, a newly erected narthex located outside of the sanctuary could handle an overflow, and in addition, a nursery, new offices and a family room with kitchenette were added. On the wall by the water fountain is a plaque with names of folks who contributed to the renovation of the sanctuary and other parts of the church.
In 1995 Rev. Patrick McGuire was called. Rev. Curry joined Hope for 1 year in 1999. Rev. Scherf became a contracted pastor from Texas in January 2000 thru April 2007. Interim pastor was Rev. Ron Will. Rev. Lynn Fonfara was called in June 2008 and installed in October 2008. In January 1990 the Memorial Garden was started and dedicated on March 18, 1990. The first interment was March 8, 1990.
1991 was a busy year at Hope. Pastor Clark started classes using the Bethel Series, we got our first computer, the ushers started wearing the red jackets and the flagpole was dedicated in memory of Arnold (Buck) Aulick along with all the veterans of the congregation.
The two stained glass windows behind the altar were added after 1981. The side windows in the rear of the sanctuary were added in 1989 after the renovation. Dick Osborn made the windows above the center of the church and at the exit doors on either side of the altar and the windows at the main doors in the narthex.
At the time of the renovation of the sanctuary the altar railing was made by men of the congregation: Felix Thiry, Mel Friant, Marvin Moring and Will Klotz were the artisans. At Easter 2005 a new sign in front of the church was dedicated. It was based on a design by Larry Otte. Workers on that project were Victor Kahler, Tom Knipe, Jim Earl and Marvin Moring. In 2009 the expanded handicapped parking was completed. 2011 saw the hanging of a new wooden cross in the sanctuary replacing the brass cross on the altar. The wooden cross was made by Hans Witter. Also in 2011 the kitchen was refurbished with stainless steel counter tops and other enhancements.
On March 6, 2011, John Chiappetta was installed as a Synod Deacon at Hope. John had previously served as deacon at St. Timothy in Crystal River. On May 27, 2012 Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church consecrated Diane Kahler and Theodore (Ted) Polack, Sr. as synod deacons. Bishop Edward Benoway officiated and Pastor Lynn Fonfara assisted. As part of the 40th Anniversary of the congregation a celebration dinner was held in Luther Hall on the same date.
The church wasunder the able leadership of Interim Pastor David Bradford since the retirement of Pastor Lynn Fonfara in October of 2016. A Call committee worked diligently to present a new full time pastor to council and Pastor Stephen Brisson took over the pulpit in August of 2018.
Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church is moving forward in the years. The congregation has a strong faith with Jesus by our side living to welcome all through our words and actions, sharing the love of Christ and the Gospel made known through the word of God." . [top]

ELCA History

A merger of three Lutheran churches formed the ELCA in 1988. They were The American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America.

Now 26 years later, the ELCA is a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God's work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus Christ's name throughout the world.

We trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.

Daily Reflection

Service Times & Directions

Saturday Service

Spoken Holy Communion: 4:30 pm

Sunday Services

Spoken Holy Communion: 8:00 am

Sung Holy Communion: 10:00 am

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9425 North Citrus Springs BLVD
Citrus Springs, FL 34433
(352) 489-5511