Our Story

How it all started...

Recorded history tells us that New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was organized in the latter part of August or early September in the year of our Lord, 1885.
Based on various records, it appears that Rev. John C. Harding had been pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church; however, spiritual dissatisfaction and unrest precipitated his severance with the church body. Some members feeling the same unrest requested letters of dismissal and left Mt. Nebo with Rev. Harding. All of the members who accompanied Rev. Harding lived in the same general neighborhood located in South Nashville. Having walked withdrawn their membership they walked home together. Someone in the group suggested organizing a new church for their deep religious beliefs and dedication to Christ left them longing for a church home. Having agreed that a new church should be formed, the following persons became charter members: Brother David K. Davidson, Sister Eliza Davidson, Eliza Cheatham, Fannie Cheatham, Ann Harding, and Rev. George Davis. And so from these humble beginnings New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was born, named by Sister Eliza Davidson. The name was chosen because it expressed the sentiments that had motivated this new church.  Rev. John C. “Pap” Harding was called as its pastor.
The new church held her first service of worship on the first Lord’s day in September 1885 in a little log cabin located at 1409-1411 Hawkins street. The building was so small that it was referred to as “the cracker box”, and so open between logs that the minister was often pelted with stones by mischievous individuals as he preached. On the first night of worship they received as candidates for baptism, Brother John Henry Graham and Sister Sarah Turner, who were baptized on the second Lord’s Day in September in the Cumberland River at the east end of Broad Street. Since in many churches in the early day baptismal pools were nonexistent, they marched down the street to the river singing the grand old hymns in the good old fashioned way. A small box car equipped with a portable heater was provided so the candidates could change clothes after baptismal and dry themselves off.
The choir loft was so small only ten (10) members could sing during service. Alternates were available to sing in the event a regular choir member was absent
The Church worshipped on this spot, “the little cracker box”, until they had an opportunity to purchase another log and frame house at 1303 Hawkins Street, the present site of the church, from the Palmer Real Estate Company. The property was formerly used as a wood and coal yard. For several years they worshipped in the building essentially as it was until 1903. In 1903 they undertook a program of renovation and built brick walls around the frame structure. The frame walls were then removed and the inside walls plastered. The brick work was done by Ellis Jackson, Andrew Hogue, John Tyne, Walter Thompson, and others, while the plastering was done by Deacon Silas Perkins and others. During this renovation period a cornerstone laid. From these modest beginnings has grown the congregation which we now know.
In 1897, “Pap” Harding founded the Nashville City Missionary Baptist Association whose membership includes a large number of area Baptist Churches. The purpose was to establish a Widows and Orphans Home and Industrial School. Re. Harding was its first moderator and the first land was purchased in Hortense, Tennessee, in 1922 by Rev. Harding and others. Although the Widows and Orphans Home and Industrial School no longer exists, the association continues to meet annually and provides an opportunity for Christian Education, sharing, and worship.
It was during these early years there came into the membership two vigorous and stalwart supporters of the church, Brother W.C. and Sister Eula Sheffield. Brother Sheffield served in practically every capacity of the church except a preacher/pastor. One of the highlights of his church work is the fact that he serves as superintendent of the Church School for fifteen (15) years and was never late during the entire period in spite of the serious illness of his wife and his personal physical disabilities. He also served as president and director of the Senior Choir for approximately forty (40) years. For many years Sister Sheffield was a teacher in the Church School, a deaconess, and worker in the missionary department.
During these formative years, the church was put to a test of faith, although the property on the present site was paid for, due to inadequate records keepings, a misunderstanding arose surrounding payment and caused the members to pay for it again. Under the able leadership of Rev. Harding who remembered that Jesus said, that the gates of hell shall no prevail against the church, they fought and won the victory over the test. On June 23, 1928 ,after forty-three (43) years of faithful and fruitful leadership of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, God called him from labor to reward.

Expanding the vision...

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Where we are headed...

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Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together a 11:11 am.