Hopewell Baptist celebrates 175 years


Mayor Kenneth Nail, accompanied by daughter Haana, delivered a proclamation from the City of Hanceville for Hopewell Baptist Church’s 175th anniversary. / W.C. Mann

HANCEVILLE – On Sunday morning, Hanceville’s Hopewell Baptist Church held a special service celebrating its 175th anniversary.  Established in January 1842, the congregation is the oldest in Cullman County.  Three former pastors- Trueman Davis, Steve Miller and Wayne Wisener, as well as Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail, Alabama Baptist Historical Commission Executive Director Dr. Lonette Berg and East Cullman Baptist Association Director of Missions Randy Makemson were on hand to join in the celebration.

Anniversary committee chairman Tyler Hooper said, “We have been doing a year-long celebration, starting literally on New Year’s Day and running through New Year’s Eve this year, and we’ve tried to have various different events and projects going on each month.  In February we had a rededication service: the members rededicated their lives to Christ and God, and rededicated the facilities in their name.

“Our theme is ‘embracing our heritage, preparing for our future.’  We definitely wanted to reflect on the past 175 years, but also make sure that we didn’t lose sight of where we are and where we’re going: trying to create a memorable impact in the community.  We’ve been here the longest of any church.  We just want to make sure that we’re here to set the groundwork, then celebrate those who’ve gone before us–the founders who laid the groundwork–and we lay some of our own groundwork for the next 175 years, so that when people look back, they’ll see what we did at this time to get them where they will be.”

Nail presented a proclamation from the City of Hanceville, and Berg presented one from the Baptist Historical Commission.  Makemson presented the church a plaque from the association.   While other dignitaries did not attend in person, the church also received proclamation certificates from State Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, the Cullman County Commission and Gov. Kay Ivey.  All three former pastors addressed the congregation, and the oldest and longest tenured members were recognized with commemorative platters.

History of Hopewell Baptist

1842 – “The Baptist Church of Christ of Hopewell” founded north of present Hanceville

1858 – A log church building was constructed

1870s – Name changed to Hopewell Baptist Church of Christ

1883 – Hopewell joined the Cullman Baptist Association

1909 – Hopewell organized a Sunday School

1912 – A new white church building was constructed

1948 – Wednesday evening prayer services begun

1961 – Construction of new brick building begun; name changed to Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church

1973 – Church building completely destroyed by fire; congregation meets temporarily in community center in White City

1974 – New building, which is now the fellowship hall, completed

1975 – Construction began on the current sanctuary building

1986 – Another building added for more Sunday School classrooms

1988 – Lake Catoma Baptist Church founded as a Hopewell mission

1991 – Sanctuary expanded; office, nursery, and preschool building added

Today, Hopewell has around 200 members on roll, with an average Sunday attendance of 60-70.  The church currently has an interim Pastor, Rev. Layne Howard.  Dale Thomas serves as minister of music, and Jerrod Jackson serves as minister of youth.

For more information on Hopewell Baptist Church, visit www.facebook.com/HopewellHanceville.

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