Drawing by Todd Saddler

Mission Statement

Living Hope Fellowship is an inclusive, informal, lay-led church, seeking to understand, experience, and demonstrate God’s love as revealed by Jesus Christ. We are a small congregation of mixed ages.

About Us

Toward the end of the 1970s, a group of congregants at Bethel Grove Bible Church in Ithaca, NY, began reading Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, by Ronald Sider. Members of this group were so moved by the book that they decided to begin helping people from other countries to support themselves. They began selling handmade products from needy communities around the world at the Christmas season, choosing as the venue Logos Bookstore, a storefront on the Ithaca Commons that was owned by church members Dick and Liz Adams. The idea blossomed from “Self Help Crafts” into what is now One World Market on the Commons.

This small group of church-goers, so taken with the idea of a more radical Christianity, began meeting together in one another’s homes in the format of the “house church,” whereby participants take responsibility for ministering to one another and sharing their faith walk. Eventually they named themselves Living Hope Fellowship and became an official nonprofit.

Several tenets unite the members of Living Hope Fellowship. We believe that love, peace, and faith are foundational to Christian living, and those values supersede even differences of faith among us. We welcome nonbelievers and those who come from different religious traditions.

Members take turns leading services, which range from the philosophical (e.g., What is Truth?) to the humorous (Theological Symbolism of Baseball) and we explore other religious and spiritual traditions. “Open inquiry” characterizes the tone and format of services, with time for discussion and sharing of the joys, concerns, hopes, dreams, and stories in our lives. Many of us also love to sing, and most services include hymns.

Living Hope Fellowship is grounded in the Mennonite commitment to nonviolence. We view simple living as congruent with Christ’s teachings and in concert with the idea that “we live simply, so that others may simply live.” We have no pastor, and thus can devote more than half of our small budget to supporting nonprofits (locally, nationally, and internationally) that seek justice through peaceful means.

We meet on Sunday evenings starting at 5:00 pm for about 75-90 minutes. During the school year we meet in Dodd's Hall in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church of Ithaca. During the summer we take turns hosting services at our homes and at local parks. Remote attendance via Zoom is an option. We recently resumed sharing potluck dinners after our services.

Please see the calendar below for details of upcoming services.


Please contact John Finn at jfinn79@gmail.com or 607-592-8541 or Juanita Weber-Shirk at juanitaws@gmail.com for more information about Living Hope Fellowship.