River of Hope Lutheran ELCA

In Inclusive Worshiping Community Open to All Disciples of Christ

River of Hope is a Congregation Under Development of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) gathering together in faith and hope in the Hutchinson Community.

Pastor Laura Aase, Mission Developer and Pastor  l  Church Office 320.587.4414 l  http://www.riverofhopehutchinson.org

We meet at Vineyard Methodist Church on the corner of South Grade Road and School Road in Hutchinson, Minnesota.  Our worship services are at 5:30 PM on Sundays.

How did this church get started? The story begins on April 30, 2010 when a small group of people gathered for conversation, support and refreshment.  The common denominator of the group was a desire to remain members of an ELCA worshiping community.  In July, a church service was held on the lawn of a local farm. People came, great food was provided and a service was conducted with Pastor Larry Strenge of the ELCA Synod giving the message.  The second worship service took place in August at West River Park and again we had great fellowship, food and a meaningful message from Pastor Chilstrom.  People stepped out in faith, volunteering to serve in a variety of ways and the congregation of Vineyard Methodist Church opened their doors to River of Hope allowing us to worship in their facility.  At this point the ELCA Synod came forth with an interim Pastor Tom Heyd who was willing to drive a distance to become our pastor.  In November the ELCA Synod had awarded ROH a $10,000 grant to help us become a Congregation Under Development.  In January, 2011, we welcomed our first pastor and Mission Developer – Laura Aase.

Who may worship here? All are welcome.  That has been our voice from the start.  We want to include everyone looking for friendship, peace, spirituality, fellowship and a great place to worship!

Why do you worship Sunday evening? First it started with logistics – Vineyard worships on Sunday morning, and we felt we needed ample time to worship and learn without time constraints.  If we are truly trying to be a new type of church in Hutchinson, this is a way to differentiate ourselves.  Besides, it’s a great way to end the weekend and prepare ourselves for the week ahead.

How can I become involved? Join us for worship, keep coming – we are trying to establish who we are as River of Hope, and want you to be part of creating that.  We encourage people to start becoming what we are becoming.  Your presence will shape and form who we are.

How can I take part in the church services? Talk to someone about a passion you might have and where you might be able to help and where God calls you to share your talents. We need lots of folks to serve as ushers, readers, singers, communion servers, altar guild, teachers, crafters and more!  We just started a new Choir “Voices of Hope” that is an intergenerational “occasional” choir!  All are welcome to join their voices in praise!

What about Sunday school, confirmation, youth events? We currently have a family-oriented Sunday school after worship each Sunday…  stay tuned for upcoming changes.  Confirmation meets 2:30 – 4 on Wednesday.  We do have a group of young people eager to stay connected and do fun events.  Let us know how you can help!

How can I support God’s work in the world through River of Hope? Not only can you use your hands and hearts, but you can also give financial gifts.  If you have detailed questions, contact Pastor Laura about needs of the church, our community, and the world.

Laura Aase – Mission Developer, River of Hope, Hutchinson

Laura Aase grew up in northern Minnesota, the daughter of a father who was a Lutheran pastor and mother who worked outside the home as a nurse. Laura Aase entered Luther Seminary in St. Paul in 2006 and completed her Master of Divinity coursework on December 17, 2010.

Prior to seminary Laura attended Concordia College in Moorhead, graduating with a B.A. in Elementary Education in May 1994. Since college Laura served for ten years as Program Director in two Lutheran Bible Camps—Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, Illinois, and Luther Heights Bible Camp in Shoshone, Idaho.

During Laura’s years at Luther Seminary she discovered that God was calling her to work as a mission developer in Christ’s Church. After her internship in Syracuse, New York, where she did extensive evangelism work in the community surrounding Atonement Lutheran Church, she decided to go through the extensive interview process conducted by the ELCA in attempts to locate persons suited for mission developers—those persons who start new congregations in the ELCA. After she was accepted into the ―pool of mission developers,‖ Laura was assigned to Region 3 of the ELCA which includes the SWMN Synod.

Laura’s writings in the ―Rostered Leader Profile‖ caught the eye of the ELCA’s SWMN synod bishop, Rev. John V. Anderson. Bishop Anderson had a personal interview and recommended Laura to Director for Evangelical Mission Rev. Larry Strenge and Synod minister Rev. Linda Pedersen. Through the synod’s work with River of Hope a ―meet and greet table meeting‖ was called with leaders at River of Hope. Surrounded with prayer, tears of joy, and thanksgiving, this ―table‖ gave an enthusiastic recommendation for Laura to receive the call to be the Mission Developer at River of Hope!

On December 2nd the ELCA’s SWMN Synod council voted to extend the call to Laura to be the Mission Developer at River of Hope, Hutchinson. Laura accepted this call and will begin her call on January 16, 2011 as preacher at the River of Hope worship service. Six days later, on January 22 Laura will be ordained the Reverend (or Pastor) Laura Aase at Mercy Seat, a mission congregation of the ELCA in Minneapolis. Bishop Jon V. Anderson will preside at the ordination service.

Pastor Laura Aase will be installed on January 23, 2011 at River of Hope’s 5:30 worship service.



  1. Congratulations on your new beginnings! May the spirit blow where it will and set hearts afire. Our prayers are with you.

  2. Hi Laura, and congratulations! I’m the pastor of a mission church in the same situation as yourself. Susan T. gave me your name, and thought it would be good for us to get our heads together! Happy to do that whenever you have time. God’s peace, Cyndi G-W

  3. River of Hope,
    It is so neat to have read your story online here, and connect through my friendship with Pastor Laura.
    Praying for God’s blessings and the Spirit’s leading as you grow in Christ!
    ~ Emily (Chrissis) Myallis

  4. Came across the story of your new congregation on the Elca page on facebook. It really seems as though the Holy Spirit is guiding you all on a fantastic journey! I belong to an old congregation called Springdale Lutheran Church in rural Sioux Falls, S.D. We survived some tough times the last year and are still in the ELCA. We have a Transformation Group of which i am a member. We feel that we are being guided also to serve the Lord! I really enjoyed reading your web page! Thanks be to God!

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