A History of Hope
How It All Began:
The Little Chapel on Bell Street
Prior to 1926, a young Lutheran Pastor, Arthur G. Schafer, and his wife recognized the need to reach children and their parents for the Lord. They built a small building called Hope Chapel on the corner of South 46th and Bell Street and started Sunday School classes for children and adults. In 1929, Pastor Schafer and a group of businessmen formed an organization called Northwest Bible Schools with Hope Chapel serving as the center for this ministry.
As the ministry of Hope Chapel grew, so did the need for more space. In 1938, construction began on a two-story building to accommodate the growing attendance. The fireplaces on both levels were built from cobblestones from the Spanaway prairie. Bricks from the old Pacific Avenue pavement were cleaned by the Sunday School boy’s class for the project. The building was dedicated on March 6th, 1940.
In 1956, Hope Chapel became Hope Evangelical Community Church.
In the years that followed, Hope Church continued to invest in the lives of the children and families in the community. As the ministry continued to grow, so did the facilities to support it. A larger building, including a much bigger sanctuary, was added on to the original, two-story building in around 1960. That newer building was again expanded several more times in later years.
Throughout the years, a major part of Hope’s ministry has been with children. As the ministry grew, so did outreach to kids. By the 1970s Hope was running a bus ministry and bringing nearly 100 kids to a weekly AWANA program. (A small gym was added to the facility to accommodate that program.) AWANA was followed by Kid’s Club. Hope has frequently been the site of weekly Vacation Bible School programs, school supply giveaways and other children’s activities, and of course, weekly programs for kids during church services. Our Camp Hope program is the latest addition to our children’s ministry.
But, Hope is about more than just children. We have partnered with other community programs (the Rescue Mission, Care Net Crisis Pregnancy Center, The Seamen’s Center, and others) over the years. We have also supported a number of foreign missionaries, several of whom actually spent part of their youth attending Hope.
Through the years, the focus of Hope Church continued to remain on the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
Almost 100 years later, God is still using the people of Hope Church to love and serve this community in Jesus’ name.