Welcome to the website of Calvary Chapel of Hope. I hope you find the site edifying and I would like to extend a personal invitation for you to come and join us at our fellowship. There are directions to our church, service times, and a calendar of ministry events that you can refer to on our site. If you are unable to join us then our heart's desire is to serve you through our site. The Calvary Chapel of Hope website has an abundance of teachings in both written and audio form for you to read, download and/or listen to. Perhaps you're wondering just who I am and who we are as a church.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Claude T. Stauffer, (but you can call me "Pastor Claude") and I am the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Hope. We are a church in fellowship with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California where Pastor Chuck Smith is the founder. We agree with all of the doctrinal distinctives of the Calvary Chapel movement.
I was born on April 20th, 1956 in Queens, New York and have lived in the Long Island area for most of my life. On January 16th, 1977, while away at college and going through a time of personal searching, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. At that time I transferred to attend Hofstra University to be close to my local fellowship where I could be involved and serve the Lord. In 1979 I graduated Hofstra University with a B.A. in Sociology.
I met my wife at our local church and after dating for three years, in 1980, Dee and I married. I continued to be deeply involved in my local church until in 1983 the Lord directed me to attend Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. At seminary I concentrated on the Inductive Method of Bible Study. In 1986 I graduated seminary and returned to Long Island to pastor a church. I have always felt God’s call for me to minister on Long Island.
After trying to have children for a number of years without success, the Lord finally blessed my wife and I with our first child, Rachel, who was born in 1989. Our second child, Daniel, was born in 1990. And Stephen, our third child, was born in 1993. Stephen was a faith-builder for us from the very start. At eleven weeks into my wife’s pregnancy with him, she experienced a placental tear, which led to an initial emergency room diagnosis of "aborted fetus." God was faithful and preserved Stephen. However, the venture in faith wasn’t over yet. Stephen was born with a congenital defect called Transposition of the Two Greater Arteries with VSD. Four hospitals, four ambulance rides, a plane ride and four days later, Stephen received open-heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital to repair the defect. He’s a vibrant, happy, healthy, and blessed little boy today. (If you want a fuller account of Stephen’s story go to the God is 4U section andread God’s Blessed ‘No’ and Point of Purity.)
In 1993 I began the venture in faith that would eventually turn into the work of God called Calvary Chapel of Hope. It was around that time that someone gave me a The Word For Today audiotape of Pastor Chuck Smith entitled "How The Work of God Is Done." The tape was a teaching on Zechariah 4:6, "’Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts." This teaching spoke to my heart. I related to much of what Pastor Chuck shared in the tape. I began to devour everything and anything about the Calvary Chapel movement I could get my hands on. I attended an East Coast Leader’s Conference where Pastor Chuck and a number of other Calvary Chapel Bible teachers taught. The conference was totally different from anything I had experienced before. It was a feast in the word of God and an outpouring of the Spirit in worship. I knew then that it was only a matter of time before I too was in a Calvary Chapel type of ministry. I spoke to pastor Chuck about planting a Calvary on Long Island, trusting the Lord to lead through this godly spiritual man. The word’s, (which I am sure are so familiar to other Calvary pastor’s) received from pastor Chuck were, "Go for it!" With those words I phoned my wife and told her we were "going." It was only a matter of "When?"
I had been seeking the Lord in prayer for some time now concerning His direction for my life. I had shared about Calvary with my wife and best friend Jeff and we had all been praying for some time. One day we were sitting in our living room discussing the situation, wondering when the time would be right to, "Go for it!" The Lord spoke through my wife (as He often does) as she said, "Why are we waiting, let’s do it now!" And so in September of 1993 we left our denominational church to affiliate with Calvary Chapel and plant a Calvary Chapel home fellowship.
Now you might be wondering, "Why ‘hope’? Why Calvary Chapel of Hope?" Remember how during my wife’s pregnancy with Stephen she experienced a placental tear? During the first moments of that trying experience, the Lord gave me a verse to cling to. The verse was, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him," (Romans 4:18 NIV). At one point during the ordeal the emergency room doctor told us our baby was lost. Clinging by faith in the Spirit to that verse, the Lord guided us through. Incidentally, the next morning when my wife was able to undergo a sonogram, we were treated to an incredible picture of Stephen, alive and well, reclined, hands behind his head, legs crossed, as though to say, "Don’t worry Mom and Dad, Jesus is taking care of me; what’s the big deal?" It was one of the happiest days in our lives and demonstrated to us the steadfastness and trustworthiness of the hope that God gives. When it came time to name the church God was going to build, it was as though He told us, "Remember the hope I gave and delivered upon with Stephen? That’s the same hope I want you to share with My people." And so, we named the church Calvary Chapel of Hope.
On July 7th , 1996 we moved out of our home and into a small portion of a storefront-type area in Bethpage, Long Island, New York. The Lord added to the church steadily until we occupied a corner of the block, and an upstairs and downstairs area. The Lord has blessed and continues to bless Calvary Chapel of Hope. On February 22nd of 2004, after much prayer and waiting on the Lord, we moved into a church building located in Amityville, Long Island, New York.
The Lord actually brought us to this building when, after a Brothers of Calvary Saturday fellowship breakfast, a couple of bros and a sister from the fellowship "just happened" to run into a couple of other bros in a 933 acre State Park in an area of the park they had never been before. These brothers from another fellowship "just happened" to be combining with another congregation and knew their church was looking for a buyer for their building. Connections like that just go to show that there really is no such thing as coincidence, but only God-incidents or Divine appointments. Like Cornelius and Peter in Acts 10, God led people together to accomplish His will. God was and always has been faithful to provide for us and we want to give Him all the glory for that.
Now we have a building with parking and space to spare. But God continues to build and grow His work here. We don't ever want to limit Him in any way in terms of what He desires to do. We remain open to minister to those He leads us to on Long Island. We just want to serve Him in the Spirit according to His word. We want to share the hope we have in Jesus Christ, our "Blessed Hope" (Titus 2:13).
God has done, is doing and will continue to do wonderful things in and through Calvary Chapel of Hope. We are so thankful to God for all He has done. We give Him all the credit and glory. We are totally reliant on Him to guide and provide for us. Our heart’s desire is to be used by Him to have the Spirit of God make and build people of God through the application of the word of God. We are hoping in Him and we know God will do it because:
May, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26). Hope in Him!
Your servant always in Christ,