Hope House was founded in October of 1981 by Tom Leonhardt when he was a Jesuit. In 1983, Carolyn Horvath, (at that time a member of Companions of the Redeemer), became its director. Hope House was meant to be a space where folks could spend quiet time, make personal retreats either as individuals or as groups, receive spiritual direction, attend programs, participate in worship services, discuss books, whatever might contribute to people’s personal growth.
In March, 2019, Carolyn and Tom moved to apartment #1 which has become their home. Liturgy and Sangha will still gather in the living room/chapel after Covid Restrictions are lifted. The Emmaus Community Sunday Liturgy usually happens on the fourth Sunday of the month. Other Sundays are at Centering Space,1st Sundays; Linda's and Patti's, Second Sundays; and Pappalardos', third Sundays, all at 10 am. If there is a 5th Sunday, it is at Saron's and Ron's. Currently all gatherings are via Zoom, with different members hosting.
During the years there were gatherings of small prayer/growth groups, discussions and trainings in non-violence, experiences of the creation spiritual tradition through the Book Original Blessing by Matthew Fox, Dance Circles celebrating Dances of Universal Peace, Eucharistic liturgies created by the presider or a group of presiders. Liturgies are fully participative, using inclusive language, with presiding by whomever wishes. No ordained person is required here.
Since Hope House was the #1 unit in a four unit flat, there was a chapel, a reading/meeting room, bedroom, office, restroom and kitchen. So guests were able, if they wished, to spend overnights. Though for two years, Hope House was located in a full house across the street from its current location, it is again in its original location.
Hope House is open to seekers from any spiritual tradition. When Hope House was founded it was a Roman Catholic facility. Hope House has ceased to be a Roman Catholic facility.
On August 22, 2012, we submitted to the IRS a request for reclassification of Hope House status from a religious organization non profit status to a church. In January we received a request from the IRS for some further clarification of the documents originally sent. They asked for pictures inside and outside which we sent. We responded to their further questions and sent contact information about our landlord and a copy of the lease agreement. On March 11, 2013, we received the requested reclassification as a church, so Hope House of Prayer, Inc., is now a recognized by the IRS and by the State of Ohio as a church. The documentation submitted to the IRS stated that Hope House of Prayer, Inc. would not ordain anyone. However Hope House of Prayer, Inc. would recognize ordination by other organizations. Hence, the Coordinators of Hope House can now recognize the ordination of Hope House members who now no longer would need to belong to other orgainzations to officiate weddings. They will need only to send Hope House documentation to the appropriate places and receive the documentation authorizing their ministry for public ministries such as weddings. Hope House currently recognizes ordination for ministry of the following persons: Bill Appleton, Pam Bittner, Carolyn Horvath, Linda Krasienko, Nazim Thomas G. Malcolm, John Joseph McKinney, Tom Leonhardt, Jerry Logue, Roselle Orlando, Tajalima Eileen Pappalardo, Walia Denise Runyon, Sandi Schmidt.
Carolyn and Tom are aware that they will not be able to continue as Co-Directors of Hope House indefinitely. Linda Krasienko and Patti Verdi have agreed to become Co-Directors of Hope House of Prayer at such time as Carolyn and Tom either choose or are unable to continue in their current role. At that time the physical address will change. A document for the transition has been drawn up and was signed and notarized on June 4, 2021.
On October 1st, 2021 Hope House will be 40 years old.