New Hope Church – “A Place for New Beginnings!”
New Hope Church believes that the purpose of its preaching and teaching ministry is to bring people to the realization of their need and acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It has as its goal to help people to grow in grace and love and to enable them to live as loving disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. We at New Hope profess to that faith and that task.
For more information about the beliefs of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination, visit our denomination headquarters link:
New Hope Church was formed during the beginnings of the Great Revival of 1800 when this part of the country was the frontier. In 1799 a few people from North Carolina, who were members of the Presbyterian Church, began meeting every Sunday to read the Scriptures and pray together near their homes just north of the Cumberland River in Wilson County, Tennessee. Thus, New Hope can trace its history back to this group of Christians that came over from North Carolina and settled in what was then called the “Cumberland Country” – part of the land grants to Revolutionary soldiers.
They met frequently and were being served occasionally by circuit preachers until 1810. In the fall of 1810 this congregation, afterward noted for camp-meetings, held their first camp-meeting near the “Double Islands,” on Cumberland River. At this meeting they were much revived and encouraged, so much so, that the next year (1811) they purchased a lot of ground, erected camps, and held a second camp-meeting one mile above their first encampment. The Rev. William McGee, who was present, called this new camp-ground “New Hope.”
In May 1812, Rev. Hugh Kirkpatrick organized this group of Christians as the New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church with founding members William and Catherine Gray, James and Margaret Stewart, Andrew and Elizabeth Bay, Alexander and Jane Kirkpatrick, John and Ann Kirkpatrick, David and Rebecca Kirkpatrick, Samuel and Sarah Motheral, Elias Morrison, Joseph Kirkpatrick, and Margaret Motheral. Preaching once a month, Hugh Kirkpatrick served this congregation until 1816 as their minister.
According to Cumberland Presbyterian records, New Hope is first mentioned sending delegates to a Cumberland Presbytery meeting as an organized church in 1812.
Samuel Motheral sold a parcel of land (eight acres) to New Hope on 25 June, 1832 (where the New Hope Cemetery is still located) and the membership erected a 12-corner log structure – one corner for each of the twelve apostles.
Church records show there were 230 members by 1849. However, the growth in membership was severely affected by the War Between the States and, later, when a number of members affiliated with the newly organized Melrose Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the Cairo Bend community. (See the history of the Melrose Church on this website). By 1880, the church began to experience renewed growth and, needing more space, moved to its present location in 1886. In 1886, a new frame structure was erected on new property on Coles Ferry Pike.
New Hope moved into the twentieth century surviving a tornado which pushed the church off its foundation (the men of the church lifted it back into place) two world wars, and the Great Depression. Through it all, the faithful few at New Hope persevered by God’s Grace.
Classrooms were added to the back of the sanctuary in the 1950’s and a Fellowship Hall and restrooms were added in the 1960’s, which is now classroom space. The fellowship hall and two restrooms that form the L-shape were also added in the 1960’s. Many fine folks have passed away the last few years who would have remembered the church like this. There are still a few of us here who do… In 1980, the Melrose Church closed its doors and that congregation united with New Hope. This unification enabled the church to survive the “lean years” of the late 1970’s. New life and new hope was infused yet again. The Melrose Church was moved to Fiddler’s Grove at the Wilson County Fair Grounds in 1993 for all to enjoy. Its mission there continues.
A larger Gym/Family Life Center was built in 1989. The old sanctuary was extensively remodeled in 1994 with the addition of a large new foyer. In 2004, the church session decided that it was in the best interest of New Hope to update the facilities and to “modernize” the old sanctuary. Plans were made to add ramps and other improvements. But sadly, the original frame sanctuary was found to be structurally unsound after 120 years of faithful service. It was replaced by a beautiful new brick sanctuary in 2006, paid debt-free in 2008, thanks be to God. God has truly blessed New Hope during its long history, and we are excited about the next 200 years!