David Wallover, then a minister in the PCUSA, and Glen Riexinger, the minister of an independent Reformed Baptist congregation, met together for prayer on a regular basis in the 1980s and early 1990s. They found they shared each other's concerns and hopes for God's work in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Others were praying, too, with a fervent desire to see God's will done. When the two men learned the Presbyterian Church in America was interested in establishing a work in this area, they began talks with the PCA. In May of 1993 Hope Church was formed with a borrowed Session from the Philadelphia Presbytery, with both David and Glen called as co-Pastors. The congregation consisted of people from both men's churches, and that of an Orthodox Presbyterian church.
Early on, Hope Church held Sunday morning services in a motel ballroom in Moosic. The facility was chosen because it is centrally located between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, making it easily accessible to the attendees, who were coming from a 40-mile radius. The ballroom gave little in the way of permanence for a church, however. In the search for a facility that would provide a stronger identity and full-time use, a warehouse that could be leased and renovated was found to be available nearby. With some small misgivings, a five-year lease was signed on a Thursday. God removed any doubts about the move on Saturday morning, when a heavy snow caved in the roof of the ballroom! In His grace there were no injuries in the collapse, and God immediately provided a temporary facility that allowed us to continue holding services.
Utilizing part of the Building Fund and the sweat equity of Hope's members and friends, under the guidance of Glen Riexinger, our carpenter/pastor, a 6,000 square foot church was fashioned inside the warehouse. It provides room for over 200 to worship and an education facility that can accommodate 125 to 150, as well as being adaptable for dinners, concerts and youth recreation. The renovations were completed on time and on budget, and we moved in on March 31, 1996. The weekly expense of the new facility turned out to be less than we were paying for three hours' use of the ballroom per week.
Our people come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, from businessmen to truck drivers, from homemakers to teachers, from newlyweds to golden agers. While predominantly European in our ethnic heritage, we also include those from African and Indian descent. We have two-parent families, single parent families, single adults and grandparents. Currently Hope Church continues to grow under the guidance of Steve Wilson, who began serving as Pastor in October 2000.
From its inception, the goal of Hope Church has been to engage the area's culture and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and His reconciliation to the area. We feel that we are positioned advantageously to reach those who are seeking the hope that Jesus has for them.