The congregation of Living Hope in the Appleton, Wisconsin, area has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. In 2014 the congregation applied for and began receiving full mission subsidy through the CLC Board of Missions. The members of Living Hope rented an office space in Kimberly to use as a worship facility. They called David Ude to be their first full-time resident pastor. Everyone was excited to have a space which they could set up and leave up (previously they had rented space in another local church for twice-monthly meetings.)
It wasn’t long before the congregation started to look into options for a building of their own. They looked all over the Appleton area for a building that might serve them as a church. When nothing seemed to fit their needs and budget, the congregation investigated buying land and building a church. They found what seemed to be a great piece of land, found a building contractor, and developed a design at a price they could afford. But it was not to be. They went back to the drawing board and started looking, again, for existing buildings they could move into. In the following months, several buildings drew their attention. They were about to make an offer on one of these when the seller dramatically increased the asking price, putting it out of their reach.
Then they found an existing church building in Appleton that seemed perfect for the congregation. In April they closed on the purchase of the new church building. On April 15th 2016—Good Shepherd Sunday—they met for the first time in their new location to receive the gifts God gives through Word and Sacrament.
Pastor Ude writes: “How fitting! After all, if He guided us to such pleasant earthly pastures in His own good time, then truly through the Word preached and sacraments given under these humble rafters, our Good Shepherd, our Living Hope, will surely guide us to the eternal pastures of those blessed and hallowed halls above! We trust that the Good Shepherd will bless the preaching of His Word in this building and grant ears to hear it! ”
Among other current outreach endeavors, the congregation is planning their first VBS this summer. A TVBS team will travel to Appleton to help distribute flyers. May the Lord bless their efforts in His kingdom to the glory of His name and the salvation of souls!