Courtesy of Kathryn Crawford Winter, Photos by Zilla and Dewitt Spencer
THE NEW HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH
In August 1946, and several years prior to that time, Poplar Springs Baptist Church held a revival meeting as a mission outreach at or near the Gillespie School House. These meetings were first led by Bro. L.F. Haire and Later by Bro. A.F. Brasher. In 1946 Bro. Brasher invited Bro. R.B. Patterson, Calhoun and Pontotoc County Missionary, to help with the services. When the weather permitted, these revival meetings were held in a brush arbor which was the responsibilithy of the local community to build. It was at the construction of the brush arbor in 1946 that desire was expressed by Robert Freely, Durrel Winter, and Larkin Landreth for a local community church.
The October 6 meeting at the Gillespie School House was led by Bro Brasher. A time limit for securing thirty charter members was set for January 1, 1947. Bro. Patterson was asked to come to the Gillespie School House twice a month to lead the group in worship until other arrangements were made.
On April 6, 1947, the Council of Recognition met at the Gillespie School House and gave its approval of the organization of an independent Baptist church. The organizational service followed and such a large group attended the service that the group had to be moved to the front lawn for the program. It was not until May 29, 1947, that the name of New Hope Baptist Church was given to the newly organized church. The naming took place at a prayer meeting in the Bass Winter home. On August 17, 1947, the church became a member of the Calhoun County Baptist Association.
On June 6-13, 1947, New Hope’s first revival meeing was held in a brush arbor built on the church’s new property donated by Robert Freely. It was at this thime they eleceted their first pastor, Rev. Carmon Savell, who led the week’s revival. The church continued to meet for Sunday worship at the Gillespie School House until a church building on the new property could be built. In September 1947, the church purchased the old Vardaman Baptist Church building for $500. In November 1947, two Sunday school rooms of the old Vardaman church were purchased for $100 and were moved along with the main building to the New Hope property south of Mr. Robert Freely’s home. Erecting and remodeling on the old buildings began in January 1948, and as soon as possible the church services were moved from the Gillespie School House into the remodeled building. A few months later in April the church purchased its first piano for $220.
In June 1948, Rev. L.F. Haire was elected to serve as the church’s second pastor. He continued as pastor until he accepted the position of Calhoun County Missionary in 1954.
The pastors of the church since its organization are shown in the listing here. Bro. Brasher, Bro. Savell, Bro. Haire, and many of the other pastors listed are well-known for their service in other Baptist churches in Calhoun and other nearby counties.
The present building was built in 1966 with additions in 1979. The Fellowship Hall was added in 2000.
The sanctuary was remodeled and finished in May 2004.