In the beginning...
During the Civil War days, Salem Church was born. It was originally located about 5 miles west of what is now know as New Hope. Sometime between 1870 and 1880, New Hope Baptist Church was built on it's present location. The congregation of Salem became the new Church. Membership started out with about 30 people.
In 1881, 21 members joined and went immediately to the water for Baptism. By 1896, there were approx. 45 members in good standing. In 1914, membership had grown to 155 folks. An associational letter dated 10/12/1924 reported 243 members. During those years revival services were held.
The first Church building was completed by 1880. In 1905 a new ceiling and floor were added. The Church building was literally "turned around", and the Santuary as we know it today was completed in 1917. Sunday School rooms were partitioned in 1925. The Church parsonage was added in 1948. The Church was brick-veneered and the educational building was completed in the early 1960's. A new steeple was erected by 1963. Additional Sunday School rooms, a baptistry and paved parking spaces were added there after.
New Hope Congregation, 1926
Many different renovations have taken place, with the most significant in recent history being in the summer of 2000 when the Sanctuary was completely reworked, and a playground was added.
Renovation in progress - May 2000
Renovation Completed - July 2000
A drive through covered car port was built in 2002 to aid in inclement weather, and a completely renovated kitchen in the educational building was completed Fall of 2006.
The new Family Ministry Center was completed in July of 2008! This facility will offer even greater opportunities for outreach here @ New Hope! More to follow...
The Pastors (click link to see a complete list of all NHMBC pastors from 1880 to Present)
The first pastor of New Hope Baptist Church was W.R. Purnell, who served from 1880 to 1882. He came by horse and buggy from Franklin County once per month for services on Saturday and Sunday. In 1881, the Church voted to have services twice per month. First Church of Wilson shared it's pastors from 1897 to 1899. They were J. A. Rood and W. R. Redish. At this time there was a lull in attendance. In 1900, J.S. Farmer was called. He was a young man of great ability, who lived in Raleigh. Under his leadership, the Church began to grow. Later he became the editor of the state paper, the Biblical Recorder. Sunday School at New Hope was first organized in June, 1901.
In 1924, Harry Wright became the first pastor to live in the community in a house across from the Church. By 1929, E.J. Harrell moved into this house, and later moved to Red Oak, giving that community half of his time. He pastored for approx. 11 years. W.E. Cholerton served from 1950 to 1956 as New Hope's first full time pastor. Bill Leary was very involved in the local community, and served New Hope faithfully from 1975 to 1983. Leigh Hebbard served the longest pastorate in the Church's history from 1984 thru 1997. During his service between 1999 and 2002, Billy Culbert called for major improvements in the Church buildings and grounds and was instrumental in launching the AWANA ministry, which is a thriving Children's program today. Paul Weaver served as interim at New Hope on three separate occassions since the late 90's (both official and unofficial), and still makes a surprise visit with his wife Helen from time to time.
With our current Pastor Steve Stephenson now serving, and new neighborhoods springing up in our community every year, we see great potential in the days ahead to reach out to the city of Wilson and to the World in service of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Much of the above information was taken from the "Memories of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church" Book, compiled by Mrs. Betsy Winborne, 2003