Sr. Pastor, Craig Mathews
After over 30 years in the ministry, with the majority of those being spent in Wisconsin, worshipers will be delighted with the excellent sermons delivered without reading lots of notes by Sr. Pastor, Craig Mathews. Everyone – from kids to seniors – easily grasp how to apply the key messages in God’s Word to their daily life.
Pastor Craig Mathews did not come to Bradenton, Florida just for the sunshine & warm temperatures. But it’s close. “Winter days in Wisconsin, when the sun is out and the wind is not blowing, it feels gorgeous -- even if it is 10 degrees,” said Mathews, who became Hope Lutheran’s pastor in December 2010. A native of Topeka, Kansas, Pastor Mathews grew up experiencing winters where you had to dress in layers of bulky clothes to stay warm.
But shoveling snow month after month can weary any man, no matter how strong his spirit. Truth be told, he and his wife, Eunice, were in Orlando in 2004 to work the national Youth Gathering held by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and they wondered what living in Florida would be like. That it was July -- hot, humid -- didn’t faze them.
What really drew Pastor Mathews & Eunice to Bradenton was their mutual desire to lead & organize religious education, and to conduct workshops. “I just like the sense of mission at Hope Lutheran, and how the congregation wants to accomplish God’s ministry by serving the community,” Mathews said. “The congregation here always has a heart for other people, and is willing to reach out to others.”
One of the precious times private ministry is so appreciated is when you cannot physically attend church services. Hope Lutheran reaches out to homebound, hospitalized and residents in nursing homes so they can still receive spiritual renewal and Holy Communion during these physically challenging times.
Pastor Rob Hinz, Hope Lutheran’s visitation pastor, brings spiritual refreshment and comfort to those who are challenged by physical conditions and cannot make it to church for weekly services. Contact the church office to alert us to these needs.
Pastor Hinz was ordained in 1977 and has served churches in Louisiana, Maryland, and Florida. Although officially retired he has taken “Clinical Pastoral Education” (CPE) training at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida and has worked as a Hospital Chaplain in both Tampa General Hospital and Bayfront Hospital. While providing pastoral care to the sick, shut in, and to nursing home residents, he also teaches a Bible Study and provides pulpit support to other churches in the area. Pastor Hinz is also a member of the Manatee County Medical Reserve Corp, a group of volunteers registered with the State of Florida and available to assist as first responders in disaster situations.
He enjoys going to movies with his wife Jan, reading, bird watching, traveling, and studying languages. He also enjoys reading about archeology and he hopes to someday go on a dig. His real passion however, is ministering to older adults, hearing their stories and sharing Christ.