THE HISTORY OF NEW HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH
Only six years after Alabama became a state and two years after St. Clair County was established…New Hope Baptist Church was formed. According to meeting minutes from the Coosa Baptist Church Association, the year was 1824 and it began with only five members.
Much of what we know about New Hope’s early years comes from meeting minutes of the Coosa River Baptist Association. Throughout the years, like most churches, New Hope has experienced times of prosperity along with times of dysfunction and decline. The Civil War years proved especially difficult for New Hope with little information available from 1860-1865. However, with a 186 year history, there must have been more good than bad.
Early in the church’s history, ministry and education went hand in hand because New Hope also served as the local school house. Although New Hope lost some early records in a fire, available records do give an insight into the ministries that New Hope provided. Services, as well as revivals, were held on a regular basis and many souls were saved. Jim Alders, J.W. Fagan, and Bob Isdell are among the men who led revivals that led many to Christ in New Hope’s early years.
As you can imagine, facilities have changed many times over New Hope’s long history. The first two meeting buildings were log cabins with dirt floors and no windows. The exact location of the first building is unknown. Actually, the location of the second building is a guess at best. However, we know for a fact that the third building, a vast improvement from dirt floors and no windows, was located somewhere near the site of the Family Life Center. How do we know it as fact…Mr. C.S. Alverson.
Mr. Alverson, a longtime member of New Hope, was able to provide historical details from his childhood memories. The fourth facility was built in 1888. Minutes from an 1890 business meeting indicated the value of the building and property to be around $2,000. This building sat only a few feet from what is referred to as the “Old Sanctuary”. Finally, the fifth facility was the “Old Sanctuary”. This facility was built in 1951 and served as the sanctuary until the new one was constructed and dedicated in 1997. The most recent building was the Family Life Center which opened in 2008.
Other noteworthy pastors include: A.C Phillips whose name can be seen on the dedication plague on the Old Sanctuary Building. Also, Curtis Rush who served as pastor on more than one occasion.
Lastly, New Hope’s current pastor of 19+ years is Paul Brasher.
God has blessed this community and New Hope for many years. The men and women of previous generations were faithful and steadfast in serving The Lord and spreading the Gospel. In the preface of the History of New Hope Baptist Church Booklet, Curtis Rush says, “We recall the past only as a means of challenging us to a greater future in the work of our Lord.” May the current and future members of New Hope be found faithful!
** Information contained in this article was obtained from the History of New Hope Baptist Church Booklet that was compiled in 1972. Special thanks to Curtis Rush and many other members who worked to gather & publish the historical information.