About Us

 Welcome!  Thank you for visiting the The House of Hope Presbyterian Church site. The House of Hope is a congregation of 1600 members and is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), an organization of 10,000 diverse congregations in the United States. We offer many opportunities for fellowship, worship, education and service – for adults, children and youth. Located on historic Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the House of Hope's programs in learning, fellowship and service extend the reach of the church into the broader community. The House of Hope is also internationally known for its Fisk organ, a landmark of late 20th-Century organ building in America.

Our worship service on Sunday morning is at 10:00 a.m.   The church welcomes visitors of all backgrounds and ages. The service includes a Time For Children, which is followed by church school during the service time. Adult education is held following the 10:00 a.m. service, September through May.

Staff | Mission Statement | Church History | Governing Bodies | Additional Links


Please click here for biographies and contact information for the House of Hope staff. 

Mission Statement

As Christians and Presbyterians, we believe in the grace and promises of God, as revealed in Scripture, and in Jesus Christ, who make clear both the character of God and humanity in its most gracious form.

We gather to glorify God; to experience and express God's love; to explore together the meaning of Jesus' teaching in our time; to build a community that reflects God's grace; and to deepen our faith through worship, learning, fellowship and service, guided by God's Spirit.

We are committed to using our resources in service to others, and to supporting and enriching our members spiritually, intellectually, socially and artistically.

Soli Deo Gloria, November 7, 1994

What is a Presbyterian?

In the New Testament, Prebuteros means "elder" and refers to the custom of choosing leaders and advisors from among the wisest members of the church. The church maintains a democratic form of governance with representative elections, separation of powers, and graded appeals.

To be a Presbyterian is to confess the Christian faith and promise to follow Jesus and His example for living. Presbyterians believe in God as known in the teachings and life of Jesus, and that the church is a universal company of His followers. Historically, Presbyterians have emphasized the importance of scripture, education, ecumenism, lay leadership, and concern for the common good.

Church History

When the Territory of Minnesota was organized in 1849, a young missionary from Philadelphia -- the Reverend Edward Duffield Neill -- set out to form its first Presbyterian congregations. Rev. Neill founded First Church in downtown Saint Paul in 1849. He started a second congregation on Christmas Eve, 1855, and named it House of Hope. The name was selected "desiring that it might be the place of refuge for weary and heavy-laden souls."

The two churches merged, under the direction of Dr. Henry Swearingen in 1914, who oversaw the construction of the existing church at 797 Summit Avenue for the new congregation. The church building, a Gothic structure designed by Ralph Adams Cram, is rich in symbolism; the church's architecture, stained glass windows, carvings and adornments create an inspired setting for worship and reflection.

Dr. Swearingen represented the high mark in personality and leadership, serving as moderator of the national church while ministering here. Other leaders in church history include Irving Adams West, who served the congregation from 1943 - 1969 and expanded the church to include an education wing and other facilities. Calvin Whitefield Didier succeeded West and served until 1993. He guided various outreach and missionary activities around the world that were sponsored by The House of Hope.

In celebration of 150 years, the church established the Houses of Hope Fund with a goal of raising $4.5 million to help meet affordable housing needs in Saint Paul.

Church Governance.  Three principles, which are important in our understanding of church government, are that:

  • church structure should be based on Scripture,
  • everything should be done in an orderly manner, and
  • government should be in the hands of representative assemblies, not individuals

[from Welcome to a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by Ronn Kerr]

A Spirit of Hope

In celebration of the church's 150th anniversary (2000), Daryl Smith of Seattle, Washington, was commissioned to create "The Spirit of Hope"; a stunning bronze sculpture mounted on a plinth of Rockville White granite.


A comprehensive history of the church is available in hardcover book format through the church office for $10. The book, A Journey of  Hope by David Johnson, traces the history of the two churches founded by Edward Duffield Neill and the successors at Summit and Avon which since 1914, has been among the most well known and influential in American Presbyterianism. 

 Governing Bodies

The local Presbytery, a body of church elders and ministers representative of the churches in the greater Twin Cities area, is considered the primary external governing organization. The presbytery oversees the installation and ordination of ministers, congregational formation and dissolution, and clergy and congregational discipline.

Regional ministry is facilitated by synods, comprised of church elders and ministers. The House of Hope is a member of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.

The General Assembly is the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); it is an elected body comprised of elders and ministers, and is convened by the Moderator. The General Assembly meets annually to propose constitutional and doctrinal changes (which are then passed to the Presbyteries for ratification), and establishes special tasks forces and commissions.

The internal governance of the House of Hope is managed by The Session, a group of women and men (sometimes called "elders") elected to make policy, receive members, assign benevolence gifts, direct worship and the sacraments and oversee, day-to-day church business.

The Board of Trustees consists of women and men elected to oversee church properties, assist in raising funds during the annual canvass, supervise the operating budget and investment portfolio and review church secular management. This board is responsible to The Session.

The Board of Deacons is a group of women and men elected to serve the needs of the congregation and community. Church service, care of members, ushering, new members classes and community programs to help our neighbors are overseen by Deacons. This board is responsible to The Session.

Additional Links
Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a comprehensive web site that includes on-line versions of its periodicals, links to related organizations, education and youth ministry resources, and many informational pages.

Resources for Congregations and Clergy

Searchable Bible- searchable database of The Bible, with available translation to Revised Standard Version

Book of Order

Synod of Lakes and Prairies
The web site for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, which lists the presbyteries and congregations for this region.