The Story of House of Prayer Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
House of Prayer (HOP) Lutheran Church began in February of 1958 when the decision was made to establish a congregation in Escondido. Shortly thereafter, Pastor Gerald E. Molgren was assigned to this mission church and the first service was held in the Arcade Hall on Grand Avenue. The official charter for HOP was signed on February 15, 1959.
In March of 1959, services were moved to the Escondido Women's Club facility at 240 S. Broadway and in August ground was broken on the land at the corner of Rose and Grant (later renamed Mission Avenue). The first services were held in the new building on August 28th, 1960.
Pastor Molgren was called to another church in 1964 and interim pastor, Albert A. Alsop stepped in until Pastor Frank L. Starkey arrived later that year. Pastor Starkey served HOP until August 28, 1977, seeing the completion of the long desired educational unit in 1965 and the evolution of the church from mission church to self supporting congregation.
When Pastor Starkey resigned to accept another call, Pastor E. Harvey Clark stepped in to serve as interim until Pastor Richard Froehlig was called. Pastor Froehlig's wife became ill with cancer and Pastor, Frank Clutz was called as "visitation pastor" to assist in the ministry. The current sanctuary was built during this time and dedicated on June 13, 1982. Following the death of Pastor Froehlig's wife, he remarried and began a therapy program for those in mourning.
In March of 1983, Pastor Ruth Sievert came to serve as interim pastor, until the arrival of Pastor Roger K. Hansen who began ministry here on January 29, 1984. Assistant pastor, Steve Gilbertson was called in October of 1985 and served until 1988. Shortly after Pastor Steve left, Pastor Jack Seibert, a retired military Chaplain was called as Assistant Pastor. Pastor Hansen retired in 1989.
Pastor Paul H. Black was called in April of 1990 to serve as Senior Pastor along with Pastor Seibert. That same year, the church began an outreach ministry among the Hispanic population. Three pastors served that position of the ministry, Pastor Roberto Lopez, Pastor Antonio Cabello, and Pastor Hildegardo Gonzalez. Pastor Siebert retired in 1995. In 2003 House of Prayer became One Congregation in Two Languages. Both English and Spanish services were offered during that time. Finally, in 2006, with no Spanish-speaking pastor to serve, the Hispanic congregation was invited to fully integrate into the church. Now we have both Angelo and Spanish participating in all areas of the churches life.
After Pastor Black had retired and Pastor Rich Ajers had served as interim, Pastor Daren Erisman was called in August of 2015 as Senior Pastor.
House of Prayer Lutheran Church, is affiliated with the Pacifica Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).