Though this building (located behind a more modern church home) has long been in disuse, it represents an important development in Baptist history. It is not the first New Hope Church building, whose congregation is described in the Georgia historic marker text seen below, but it’s part of the story.
New Hope Primitive Baptist Church was constituted in July 1830. The presbytery officiating were: Wilson Conner, David Wood and Jordan Baker. Minutes of the church for the first 12 years were lost, and there is no record of charter members, but the church roll of March 5, 1842, lists 53, many of them pioneers of this section. It was at New Hope Church that the division in the Primitive Baptist denomination occurred, when some withdrew and formed a Missionary Baptist Church.* The Rev. Richard M. Tucker was the first recorded pastor, in 1842. George R. Reid was clerk in 1842.
I’ve recently learned that this structure is scheduled to be demolished. I am unsure to the date of its construction, but judging the architecture, I’d guess it’s circa 1880-1910. Having photographed it for over five years, I must say that there is no saving it, and there’s no other solution, but I wanted to bring attention to this historic congregation.
*Liberty Baptist Church in Brooks County is among the earliest Missionary churches still in existence, dating to 1841, and though contemporary to the rift outlined here, was part of a larger fringe movement of Mission work and Sunday schools seen as too “newfangled” by most traditional Baptists of the day.