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Hope Italiano Lee
All About Hope
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it holds the power of salvation for all who believe!” ~Romans 1:16


I am a fourth generation Presbyterian, married to a fifth generation Presbyterian immigrant, and the mom to two sixth generation Presbyterians! I grew up in a small rural congregation in the Presbytery of Baltimore, went to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, Princeton and Columbia seminaries, and hold a D.Min in homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Currently, I am the lead pastor of Kirkwood Presbyterian Church in Bradenton, FL (the retirement capital of the country)and a member of Peace River Presbytery. Previously I served congregations on Amelia Island, FL and in King of Prussia, PA. Before ordination, I worked in youth ministry and camp and conference ministry in several different settings.

The Lee Family
My husband, Sung Ho, is also an ordained PC(USA) pastor and serves as a chaplain here in Bradenton and also is on staff at Kirkwood. Our children are 7 and 3 and although we don’t have any pets, we do have a croatan plant in our front yard that we have successfully managed to keep alive for almost a year now! Our family is very big on the outdoors and loves camping, canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and hiking. This summer we celebrate our 15th straight summer of leading youth mission trips and conferences!


Just a Few Ministry Passions

On Preaching...  
"There really has never been a better time to be the church!  In a world where just about everything is fleeting and temporary, it is exciting to me to be able to share and give people the Word of Life which is eternal."
On Redevelopment...
"In recent years, God has put a clear vision on my heart for the work of redevelopment. What an opportunity to bring a fresh breath of the Spirit to congregations who have felt forgotten and abandoned. What a joy to invest in the rich history of the church, bear a deep love for the people who have spent their lives in a congregation and who have a story to share, and extend grace, patience, and creativity to navigate such congregations into a renewed sense of purpose, value, and call!"
On Migrant Farmworker Ministry
"Although I am a child of the church, it was not until my early college years when God led me to Mision Beth-El, a farmworker ministry in Wimauma, FL, that I truly encountered and developed a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ. My time spent on the staff of the mission transformed my understanding of grace, mercy, and compassion and brought into significant clarity what a hands-on approach to active engagement in social justice looks like as a person of faith.  I am thrilled to have accepted a call in Peace River Presbytery, where I now serve on the Board of Directors for Mision Beth-El."
Kirkwood Summer Soccer Camp at Mision Beth-El

Pastor Hope and some of the Kirkwood
kids at the all-church mission at Habitat
On Being the Church...
"There are wonderful moments that every congregation, regardless of size or location, can discover when they look at their neighborhood, their immediate community, and the world right outside their window and realize that they weren’t meant to be just a building, but the church…..and the church has nothing to do with even having a building. God has given us everything we need to be successful in ministry."
One of several trips with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to the Gulf Coast