First Baptist Church of
New Hope Alabama

 

History of First Baptist Church of New Hope, Alabama

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The First Baptist Church of New Hope, Alabama was born on the evening of October 10, 1935 in the home of Mrs. Bessie Blackburn. Three ministers, Rev. H. M. Nipper, Rev. Henry Branumn, and Rev. Alonza Shubert, and thirteen other people gathered to organize a church with Rev. Nipper moderating. The church covenant was read and approved, and the articles of faith were read and adopted. The council declared them to be, and to constitute a Southern Baptist Church called the New Hope Baptist Church. The council recommended the church to the Fellowship of the Madison Baptist Association. Charter Members included T. F. Tidmore, Maggie Tidmore, Avery Tidmore, Haden Tidmore, Mrs. Aaron Passeur, Sammie Tidmore, Carl McCowan, Ernest Laverette, Mrs. Ernest Laverette, Mrs. A. G. Laverette, Mrs. Harry Blackburn, and Mrs. Nan Jones.
The first meetings and services were held in downtown New Hope above W. D. Pegues’ store where New Hope Café is currently located. The Masons also used this facility. Rev. Paul Goodner, known to the community as the "boy Evangelist" held a summer tent revival in New Hope and served as our first pastor. Service meetings later moved to the Tidmore Shoe Shop where Sutton’s Garage is now located. The church was accepted into the Madison Liberty Association in September 1936.

In June 1938, rock was hauled from Marshall County to begin construction of a rock building. Dick Christian donated the property for the church site where the current Senior Center is located. A one-story, forty by sixty foot stone building was constructed with nine Sunday School rooms, an assembly hall, and 250 seating capacity, being completed by the Masons due to financial limitations. The Masons met on the second floor until June 1947 when we purchased their interest and converted the space to Sunday School rooms. In 1953, the Minnie Kennedy House was purchased for use as a pastorium during the tenure of Bro. Smith Ledbetter. Our pastors lived there until 1965.

In April 1960, Jim Allen Mann was elected Chairman of the Property Committee in a special called meeting under the leadership of Rev. J. E. Jones. An option on five acres of land from Mr. and Mrs. Harry Colburn was made on April 23, 1960. Plans were developed to construct an H-shaped building consisting of two educational wings, temporary sanctuary, kitchen, bathrooms, pastor study, and Sunday School office. It was to be of concrete block construction and brick-veneered later. Financing was accomplished through the Key-Plan and the chuch family raised $30,000 from bond sales within 48 hours.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on April 23, 1960. Mrs. Bessie Blackburn turned the first shovel. The name of the church was changed from New Hope Baptist Church to First Baptist Church of New Hope on January 18, 1961. We moved into the new facility in July 1962 with Bro. Jones conducting the dedication service.

The church voted to build a new pastorium and additional pre-school facilities on February 9, 1965. This was financed by bond sales and dedication services were held September 19, 1965 with Bro. Homan leading. The bus ministry and Children’s church were organized in 1973 under the leadership of Bro. Don Butler. The church rented the first bus from the City of New Hope. As the ministry grew, the church bought the bus and two additional ones. This ministry continues to be a vital part of our church. Early leaders included Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Freeman, Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Robbins, Mr. and Mrs. Billy McKerley, and later Bobby Butler, and Terry Rice. Mrs. Mildred Stewart served as director of Children’s church until 1984 followed by Mrs. Patsy Maples, and Miss Mary Taylor. Others included Keith Bevels and Diane Roberts.

Plans to construct the present sanctuary were presented in July 1981. Groundbreaking occurred September 6, 1981 with Tom Renfroe turning a shovel of dirt. Bro. Rick Marshall, Association moderator, was guest speaker and C. R. Ealy, Mayor of New Hope participated. Dr. Hudson Baggett preached the Dedication service on April 4, 1982.

By 1986, the church had full-time, paid staff employees including Bro. Stanley J. McFall, pastor, and David Layne, Associate Pastor of Music and Education. All Mission organizations were in place and the church began expanding its mission programs to include local, national, and foreign activities. Some key events included a mission trip to Kent, Ohio; initiation of Fifth Quarter activities following Friday night football games by Scott McKerley; 1988 involvement in building a school in San Andreas, Guatemala with Gary and Donna Clayton, Keith Bevels, Bro. Stan McFalls, and Amanda Williams; the opening of a Library/Media ministry with 300 books, tapes, and records under Nancy Hicks; and a tutoring ministry for school children was started in the fall of 1991 with many church members involved.

By 1999 the church growth was to the point that additional space was sorely needed. Planning for the Family Life Center began and a committee was elected in April 2000 consisting of Daniel Spears, Billy McKerley, James "Sonny" Pritchett, Steve League, Keith Miller, Bob Freeman, and Merritt Robbins. Under the leadership of Bro. Larry Bishop, construction of the steel shell began in June 2002, lumber was delivered February 20, 2003, and construction of the inside began February 24 with "Campers on a Mission" providing a two-week core effort to supplement our local folks. A financial boost was received with a bequest of approximately $43,000 from the Rayford L. Jones estate. "Carpenters for Christ" arrived in April to continue critical building support. The building was completed with dedication services on August 3, 2003. Following the advice of the Southern Baptist Convention, our church voted in 2002 to incorporate. The research and the Articles of Incorporation were completed by Jim Newell, Chairman of Trustees and filed March 24, 2003 officially incorporating our church under the non-profit statutes of the State of Alabama.

May the Lord continue to bless and add to His church.

Adapted from the article: "First Baptist Church, New Hope, 70 Years Heritage" by Shirley Williams.
     

 

       
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