2013-09-11 / Front Page

Service to honor Rev. Gibson, founder of Hope Lutheran

Rev. Albert W. Gibson Rev. Albert W. Gibson FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Hope Lutheran Church will hold a service in memory of its founding pastor, the Rev. Albert W. Gibson, at 3 p.m. Sept. 14 at the church, 211 Elton-Adelphia Road.

Members and former members of the church and community are invited to pay their respects to the family at 2 p.m. at the church, followed by the service and a reception.

Gibson was born in Baltimore in 1932, according to information provided in a press release. He moved to Freehold in August 1966, founding the mission congregation that was to become Hope Lutheran. The first worship service was held in September and the congregation was formally incorporated in January 1967.

In 1968 he founded the Hope Christian School for preschool members of the community. It has grown to offer after-school care and kindergarten classes, according to the press release.

Gibson’s ministries outside Hope Lutheran included visiting patients at the Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital and chairing the Freehold Township Recreation Commission. He was a member of the Freehold Township Planning Board, Youth Guidance Council and Human Rights Council.

During his ministry in Freehold, Gibson was on the board that planned and then established Freehold Area Hospital, now CentraState Medical Center. He later became chairman of its board of trustees and was instrumental in establishing a multifaith chaplaincy at the hospital, according to the press release.

He helped establish the Freehold Clergy Association; Freehold Area Open Door Inc. (a food assistance program); and under his guidance, Hope Lutheran was an early supporter of Western Monmouth Habitat for Humanity.

In 1978, Hope Lutheran and the Catholic Parish Family of St. Robert Bellarmine, Freehold Township, established an accord by which the two churches began to share common ministries. In addition to vacation Bible school and Baccalaureate services, they established joint Thanksgiving worship, which has since been extended to the entire Freehold faith community.

In 1978 Gibson participated in the resettlement effort for a Vietnamese family, Sai and Sen Nguyen, who still reside in Freehold.

Under his leadership, a counseling center was established at Hope Lutheran, which still provides service today.

Nationally, Gibson was elected to the Church Council of the American Lutheran Church and named chairman of the Board of Regents at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio. He also chaired the Board of Outreach for the New Jersey Synod of the ELCA.

Gibson retired from the full-time ministry in November 1997 and moved to Fayetteville, Pa. There, he continued substitute preaching and other Christian ministries at St. Luke Lutheran, Chambersburg. He was active in the Penn National Community where he lived.

He died in Gettysburg, Pa., on July 1.

His wife, Lois, who taught kindergarten in the Freehold Township schools for 28 years, survives him, as does his son, Tom, who manages the Market Yard Grille at the American Hotel, Freehold, a son, Steve, in Connecticut, and a daughter, Marti, in Ohio, as well as six grandchildren.

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