Our Congregational History


Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in August of 1976, when a small group of Lutherans began worshiping together at the Fergus Falls Community College. This initial group grew, and when charter membership was closed on January 30, 1977, the date of the first annual meeting, a total of 119 had signed the charter. The new congregation was served by visitation pastors until January of 1977 when Pastor Leonard Dale and his wife Anne arrived to serve the congregation.

As membership grew, the need was seen for a permanent home for the congregation. A nearly two acre tract of land in Stony Brook Manor was donated by members Lawrence and Jean Schroeder. The design of the original building, the materials, and the labor were all contributed by members of the congregation. Groundbreaking for the original building occurred in May of 1978. Dedication for the original building took place on September 30, 1979. At this time, Hope was affiliated with the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

In 1998 the members of Hope voted to purchase the adjoining vacant lots to the north of the church. In 2000 an Assessment Committee was formed to determine what needs existed in regards to the original building and space. The following year a Building Project Committee was established. The Committee developed a plan for an addition to the original building, which was approved by the congregation in 2001.

In April of 2002, under the direction of the E.L.C.A. Key Leader Stewardship Program, a successful capital campaign was completed, with pledges totaling $240,000.00 over a three year period. In June 2002 a ground breaking service was held for the new addition. Members once again volunteered countless hours in the building of the new space. The new classrooms, youth room, sanctuary, sacristy, elevator, offices, bathrooms, meeting rooms, and enlarged kitchen are a blessing to the ministry of God’s church.

Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America when it was formed in 1988. Present baptized membership is 557. The budget for 2019 is $184,387.47.


Leonard Dale     1977-1988

Julie Wrubbel-Lange  1989-1991

Loren Leapaldt 1992

D. Josh Nelson  1993-1996

Ann Jacobson (half-time)   2007- 2008

Jon B. Olson 1997-2015

Matthew Rose 2015- 2017

Ali Haugerud 2018-Present