It all started when...
In 2007, Pastor John Hornberger had learned that the DelMarVa Methodist Conference was looking to open a new church in the Claymont area. His request back to the Conference was to give Atonement a chance to be revitalized and Atonement Church was then deemed a "church restart." This was the catalyst to refurbish and rejuvenate Atonement, which brought a new leadership model (Leadership Team), new parishioners, and new vision to reach the Claymont community and beyond for Jesus Christ. In 2007, the establishment of a contemporary worship service at 11:00am in the upstairs Fellowship Hall grew to full capacity by 2010.
It was in 2010 that Pastor Amy Peters became a Local Licensed pastor an joined Pastor John in administration, preaching, and pastoring Atonement Church. By this time, they had also attended the School of Congregational Development in Nashville and Leadership Seminar sponsored by Jim Griffith, and visited Saddleback Church to learn more about the Purpose Driven Church model and launching small groups. John and Amy also read extensively on church growth and church planting. in 2012, they attended Griffith's Boot Camp for church planters and put in place many of his suggestions. Jim suggested 5000 contacts in the community in the first year of opening, which was in 2013. In HOPE's first 3 years, we have had 31 persons hand-deliver over 20,000 invitational door hangers in 3 surrounding zip codes of HOPE Community Church. We have also passed out over 2,000 Kindness Conspiracy (Steve Sjogren) cards with water bottles, dollar bills wrapped around them, or other seasonal agape gifts.
In January of 2013, forty missionaires (men, women, teens, and children) from Atonement volunteered to help build HOPE Community Church for a period of three years. Today, we have fifteen of them still attending and most still serving. Small groups began the summer of 2013 before we opened the doos of HOPE and continue four times a year along with many other opportunities for growth as a disciple.