In the year of 1927, the late Mother Willie Johnson founded the New Hope Baptist Church after leaving the St. Joe Baptist Church of Galloway and moving to this community finding it without a place for Christian worship. Mother Johnson then began a singing choir, Sunday school and Wednesday night prayer meeting in her home with a band of children.
Later, Mother Johnson went to the late Mrs. Nannie Fairmon to get her permission to use the place where there had been a little church started, but the place had been wrecked and was used to house cattle. Then she, along with the aid of the children, cleaned the place and also purchased material to fix the floor and replace some of the walls. Later on, the place was rented for $6.00 a month from Mrs. Fainnon.
Rev. J. Barnes, the Moderator, eventually organized the church. The first business meeting was held in the home of Mother Johnson. Miss Sallie B. Johnson named the church New Hope Baptist Church. Then the enrolling of members began. The first clerk was Bro. Chester Clark and the first members along with Bro. Clark were Sis. Ada Greer, Sis. Halter Greer, Sis. Carrie Johnson, Sis. Sallie Johnson, Bro. Mose Green, Bro. Neal Clark, Bro. Ed Johnson, Bro. Cecil Johnson, Sis. Melinda and Ada Willie Johnson. The chairman of the meeting was Rev. W. M. Green. After the church was organized the cornerstone was laid. In the next business meeting Rev. W. M. Green was elected as pastor.
The following are names of the former pastors of New Hope:
W.M. Green, J. B. Thomas, E. Alexander, E. C. Canady, J. N. Armstrong, B. T. Mitchell, Alex McNeil, J. N. Mack, E. C. Coakley, A. C. Crane
In the year of 1960, Rev. L. B. Kelly was elected as Pastor. Under his divine administration, the New Hope Baptist Church was remodeled in 1967. The deacons that served under his leadership were: Ed Johnson, Mose Williams, Samuel Riggs, Fudge Moreland and Cleophus Kelly. On the third Sunday in December 1969, Rev. L. B. Kelly offered his resignation and it was accepted.
On the Friday night before the second Sunday in January of 1970, Rev. Don A. Kelly, Sr. was elected as Pastor. Under his divine leadership and administration, the New Hope Baptist Church, in the year of 1973 was relocated and rebuilt with the general church as contractor. The second cornerstone was laid and three hundred and forty-five members were added, twenty deacons ordained and twenty-three ministers licensed and of the twenty-three, fifteen were ordained. The pavement of the church grounds and also the sign were erected. The adjacent twelve acres were purchased to continue the prosperity of the Lord, for his divine outreach work here and abroad. Pastor Don A. Kelly served for twenty-two years (1970-1992) before the Lord called him home.
On January 31, 1993, the Rev. Edward D. Lairry was elected as Pastor. On February 7, 1993, he preached his first sermon as pastor and was installed as pastor on March 28, 1993.
Under his administration, thirteen ministers were ordained and ten ministers licensed. Three church vans were purchased and three hundred and seventy five members were added to the church family. Under his administration six outreach ministries were added, the sanctuary remodeled along with the bathrooms, new carpet and church furniture were installed. Also, a new church sign was erected. The church prepared to build a new edifice and an additional nine acres were purchased. Rev. Lairry offered his resignation during the business meeting on January 6, 1999 and it was accepted immediately and the church family split.
Under Pastor C. L. Kelly’s leadership and administration, a new edifice was built and completed in December 1999. New Hope Baptist Church has experienced phenomenal growth spiritually, numerically and financially. New Hope’s membership has increased from 125 members to over 1500 members. In September 2003, we added an additional worship service at 8:00am. A full time administrative office and staff have been added. Four new deacons were ordained.
Ministries such as New Membership Orientation, L.I.F.E. Development Classes, Intercessory Prayer, Greeters Ministry, Health Ministry, Newsletter Ministry, Children’s Ministry and many more were added to reach and develop people. In September 2003, an additional worship service was added and on January 16, 2007, God expanded our territory to Central Arkansas in the City of Conway, Arkansas. In June 2007, the L.I.F.E television boradcast was first aired.
Through the teaching of God’s Word, we have discovered our God given purpose as a church family. Pastor Carlos Kelly completed his assignment to New Hope on January 8, 2015.
Continuing to build upon the rich legacy and faith, God assigned a well qualified shepherd to continue on His vision for the the church. Rev. George Lewis Parks, Jr. was elected as the Senior Pastor in February 2015 and was installed on June 7, 2015. Pastor Parks continues to build on the Vision of the New Hope Baptist Church and charged the church to Expect the Great in its next season. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love them.” New Hope, we’ve come a long way, but the best is yet to come.