In 1957, 103 charter members united to form Hope Lutheran Church. Hope located in Riverside, a city of about 50,000 people in Southern California’s Citrus Empire. Meetings and worship were held in temporary quarters including a park clubhouse, a Farm Bureau auditorium, and an upper room over a glass company where members had to sweep away cigarettes and other debris before services began!
When 3 1/2 acres of orange grove property was purchased at Arlington Avenue and Anna Street, plans moved forward to build the church. With growth, more space was needed for classrooms so an education building was built to join the sanctuary, kitchen and offices. Ten pastors have ministered to the congregation along with support from four Associate Pastors over the years. Hope had four interim Pastors (those who lead during a time of transition), and six intern Pastors (those preparing for ministry). For each of those men and women ministers, their devotion, leadership, energy and wisdom, we thank God.
Over the years, the congregation has had a robust program of service by laypeople who served as leaders, teachers, musicians and volunteers, to provide programs and oversee the church for all the members. Included in this was the first woman to serve as a council president in the predecessor body to the Pacifica Synod. To all of these we must add our thanks for their dedicated service!
Caring for those in need in and beyond the community has been a vibrant mission in the congregation as we strive to carry on the work Our Lord would have us do: what we can, with what we have, where we are!