Hope Episcopal Church is a member of the Diocese of Central, The Episcopal Church
and the Worldwide Anglican Communion.
Our church is an heir to a continuing Christian tradition dating from the second
century, when the faith was first brought to the British Isles, and from Revolutionary
times in the United States, when the Church took on distinctly American
Hope Episcopal Church had its beginnings in 1987 when a number of people saw the
need for an Episcopal church in Suntree. Due in large part to the advocacy of Dr.
Frank Bradley who gained support from neighboring Episcopal churches, the Brevard
Deanery eventually approved the plan for this new church.
The Diocese of Central Florida, under the leadership of Bishop William H. Folwell,
purchased land along US-1 at 3115 Tkacs Drive in Rockledge. Bishop Folwell
appointed the newly ordained and first female priest in the diocese, Rev. Marion F.
Thullbery, as Vicar.
On July 29, 1987, thirty-one people and a representative of the diocese chose the
name, Hope Episcopal Church, and signed a petition to organize a new mission
church. The first service was held on a glorious Sunday, September 13, 1987.
In 1994 Hope Church bought the present 8.27 acre site with Land Bank Notes issued
to 35 members and friends of the parish. Jim Kiss was the Building Committee
Chairman and his brother, Paul, helped with the first visual concept drawings that
became the architectural theme. The present sanctuary/multi-purpose room and related
rooms were completed August of 1997.
Hope continued to prosper through 1990, and then Rev. Thullbery accepted a call to
become Assistant Rector at All Saints Church, Enterprise. The new bishop of the
diocese, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, chose a new priest from Texas, Rev. Walter B.
Schilling, III, to become the next Vicar. Fr. Wally was welcomed with open arms at a
Celebration of a New Ministry in July that same year.
As Hope continued to grow and become financially independent, it was time to apply
to become a full fledged parish. So, at the 1999 diocesan convention a group of
Hope’s faithful, who traveled there by bus, were paraded ceremoniously through the
convention hall to warm and welcoming applause as one of the newest parishes in the
diocese! After several years of steady growth, the congregation held another building
campaign. This new space provided us with a Parish Hall, classrooms and relocated
offices which were occupied on Easter of 2001.
In November 2007 our Associate Priest Terry Highland accepted the call as Rector of
Christ Episcopal Church in Pottstown , PA. A week later our Rector Wally Schilling
announced that he had accepted the call to go to the Middle East.
In December 2008, Hope called The Rev. Deborah Vann to be our new rector. Pastor
Debbie joined Hope the first week of January 2009, and soon a Celebration of a New
Ministry was held.