Hope Episcopal Church is a member of the Diocese of Central Florida, 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
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
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
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.