A Church Where Christ Is Lifted Up”
It has been said that all great things start out in a humble way. So it was with the New Hope Baptist Church. In 1932, the late William Nelson Stokes founded and organized New Hope in a small one room apartment with makeshift furniture at 1120 McCulloh Street. Founder Stokes was a man of great faith and he knew that New Hope could not grow unless it had a larger place to worship. With a $10,000 mortgage, he moved his small congregation into a new sanctuary at 580 West Biddle Street.
As time passed, Founder Stokes’ powerful preaching and God inspired leadership drew more and more members to New Hope. The congregation worked diligently and in 1943, the mortgage was burned. The membership roll continued to grow and Founder Stokes found himself preaching to standing room only audiences. He didn’t want to risk losing members because of overcrowded conditions, so he began to search for a more suitable place for them to worship. In November of 1955, Founder Stokes and his membership of more than three hundred took a new mortgage and marched into New Hope’s present home at 850 Harlem Avenue. Founder Stokes continued to preach, teach, minister and pray until God called him from labor to reward on October 30, 1965.
The death of Founder Stokes left New Hope without a shepherd, but even without a leader, the officers and members continued to worship God faithfully as they had been taught. During the year that the pulpit was vacant, they continually prayed and searched for a pastor. In May of 1966, Dr. Lewis Campbell accepted the call to be the second pastor of New Hope.
Under the leadership of Dr. Campbell, New Hope paid off the mortgage on its Harlem Avenue home. The second mortgage burning ceremony in the history of the church was held on October 29, 1972. New Hope also established its first checking and saving accounts and completed the first major renovation on the edifice.
With the church free of indebtedness and the membership continuing to grow, Dr. Campbell felt that God was calling him to a greater work. Answering God’s call, Dr. Campbell resigned his position as pastor of New Hope in January of 1974 to found and organize another church for God.
Although the pulpit was vacant for the second time, New Hope continued to worship each Sunday. In December of the same year, the officers and members called Reverend William H. Mills as the third pastor of New Hope.
After the departure of its third pastor, New Hope Baptist Church was again without a leader. The official board turned over the responsibility of the pulpit to Associate Minister, Reverend Joseph Boone. In his unique and humble manner, Reverend Boone continued to lead New Hope forward until the fourth pastor was chosen.
September 2, 1977, Deacon Howard Eaton, Jr. invited Reverend James J. Fuller, Ministerial Intern at New Shiloh Baptist Church under Dr. Harold A. Carter, Sr., to come and preach the morning service. As a result of his teaching and preaching eight straight Sundays, Reverend Fuller was called to be the fourth pastor of New Hope. Reverend Fuller took charge of New Hope’s pulpit in November of 1977 and was officially installed on June 11, 1978 as our fourth pastor.
The membership continues to grow and ministries have developed to meet the needs of the congregation and the community. The edifice has undergone extensive renovations to enhance the ministries of the church. Dr. Fuller is most concerned with the spiritual growth of the membership. He teaches and preaches regularly to assure that the congregation knows the word of God and is able to witness of its truth wherever we go. Teaching the Word of God is a priority for Dr. Fuller for both our adults and youth. The church has remained financially solvent throughout his thirty-seven year tenure. We believe we are blessed because we have responded to Pastor’s teaching and preaching regarding the giving of our time, talent and resources to the glory of God. New Hope continues to be A Church Where Christ Is Lifted Up. December 31, 2014, Dr. James J. Fuller retired. He was the first pastor in New Hope’s History to have the honor of retirement from this ministry.
New Hope was in need of another under shepherd. Reverend Betsy Goodridge was appointed as Interim Pastor until a leader could be found. A search committee was formed and began accepting applications from prospective candidates. January 11, 2015 Reverend Anthony Q. Bell, one of the associate ministers was elected by the overwhelming majority of votes to be our fifth pastor.
On March 8th 2015 Reverend Anthony Q. Bell was installed as the fifth pastor of New Hope Baptist Church of Christ. Pastor Bell’s passion is to bridge the gap between God and His people through the ministry that Jesus has entrusted into his hands, “The Ministry of Reconciliation.”