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Heflinís New Hopewell Church celebrates 100 yearscomment (0)

May 13, 2010

By Gary Hardin

In 1910, four individuals gathered prayerfully, with the vision of starting a church.Today New Hopewell Baptist Church, Heflin, flourishes as “a country church that loves people and loves the Lord,” according to Charlene Brown, the church’s clerk.

Love is what stands out to Shelby Camp, too.

“We believe in treating people fairly, loving everyone and seeing the lost saved,” said Camp, a member of the Cleburne Baptist Association church since 1972.

And those whose lives have been touched by the church showed their love for it by gathering to mark its 100th anniversary April 18.

An overflow crowd listened to special music provided by Tri-City Quartet and a message preached by Pastor John Brown and watched as the church received a plaque from the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission.

Prior to the anniversary celebration, the congregation recognized Esteus Camp as the oldest living member. The 93-year-old has been a member of New Hopewell Baptist for more than 60 years. 

After the service, attendees enjoyed a potluck lunch.

When the church began its ministry, services were held in a schoolhouse for the first two years.

In 1912, Pastor B.R. Layton guided the congregation to construct its first building across the road from the school.
The congregation worshiped in that building for 60 years.

By 1971, it had become apparent that the building needed to be torn down so that a new one could be constructed.

The congregation depended on God’s supply of volunteer labor, donations of building materials and sacrificial giving in order to construct its new facility.

The first worship service was held in the new building in March 1972.

A cemetery was added to the church property in 1971. Sixteen years later, the church bought two acres of land and Loyd Owens’ donated two more, allowing the cemetery to be enlarged.

Through the years, additions and improvements have been made to New Hopewell, including a steeple in 1990, a fellowship hall in 1997 and, most recently, new Sunday School rooms, handicap entrances, stained glass windows and improved parking.

And as the church begins its second century of ministry, one thing remains unchanged.

“Our goal is to share the gospel and reach people for Christ,” John Brown said.

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