My name is Bryan Hope and I will be doing most of the writing for our blog though a lot of the research and ideas come from the others. My path began in Ft Lauderdale where my father was a preacher and mother was in the choir. Like most children, I had no particular interest in following in his footsteps at the time, so went to public schools and graduated from FIU with a degree in Economics. As I fumbled around in the workplace in the early years, I became aware of just how much greed and selfishness there was in the business world. My family was at the lower end of the middle class, but we were brought up to be respectful and generous with time and treasure. What I saw in the workplace really opened my eyes to the value of my dads profession.
So I decided to enroll in a Christian Grad program in the area to see how I liked it. I attended Warner University in Lake Wales, with a focus in Ministry. Upon graduation from Warner, I left the area and became a youth minister at a small church in Richmond, Va called the Saint Mark Church of God and Christ. One of my classmates at Warner was involved with this church and after a few visits to it, became convinced that this was where I should lay down my roots. During my time there I picked up guitar playing, a very handy skill for a youth minister, that I had never considered in the past.
After 5 or 6 years I was invited to preach at times when the pastor was sick or travelling. This was really what I went to school for and gleefully took on the role. Pastoring became my passion very quickly. I attended a couple Pastoral events and met some wonderful people who shared my passion for preaching and the Gospel. One of those people was Angie Prame, who is participating in the creation of this blog. Another is John Morghan who I met at a Christmas party at Angie’s house.
Over time I was in hopes I would someday have my own church and eventually that dream came true when an opportunity came available at the Community Christian Church in Kansas City, where my uncle had been a pastor for many years.
I was always a big travel fan during these years so we took vacations every year. These took us to Europe (Germany, Spain, and Italy), Israel, and even Australia. We really love seeing the world and how it differs from how things are at home.
While in Richmond and also at CCC I was blessed with many wonderful acquaintances, some of which are participating in this blog with me.
Anyway, over time our church grew exponentially and the parishioners seemed to love our many programs. Eventually I started talking with the staff about maybe expanding our presence and opening a new church, feeling our spiritual mandate was to continue to reach out to those in search of a better and more meaningful life. After a lot of soul searching and discussion, we decided that given our existing presence, contacts, and familiarity with the Richmond area, this would be the logical choice. I knew my dear friend Amanda would be utterly ecstatic to basically manage the project with Angie and move back to Richmond.
It turned out this worked out better than I ever imagined it would. Much of what you will find in here is the culmination of their experiences.