New Hope UMC has been part of the community since before 1800. This history is rich with 200 years of worship and community service. The current location on the Gloucester/King & Queen County lines was established in 1929 when the church was moved to this site and expanded.
The early records of the area are a bit unclear as a result of multiple 19th century fires in both the Kings and Queen County and Gloucester County courthouses. What is apparent, however, is that a worshipping communty began organizing around 1797 under the name of Groom's church. In 1811, the name was changed to New Hope, with the church being one of 19 on the Gloucester circuit, the largest in the Richmond District at the time.
Records in 1866 show that the original 1 1/2 acres of land was purchased from Robert Bowden and his wife Demarious Bowden. The trustees: Frances Smith and Munro Cooke of King & Queen County; John T. Groome and Robert B. Pierce of Gloucester County; Robert T. Bland and Thomas Bowden of Middlesex County served the Church at this time. The Church was a part of the Middlesex Circuit. The mall one-room building housed 121 members.
At the Second Quarterly Conference of the Circuit, held at old Church , May 21, 1904, a committee of Nehemiah Milby, M. E. Didfake and Joseph Milby was appointed with full power to rebuild New Hope Methodist Church and at the adjourned Fourth Quarterly Conference held November 7, 1904 (four months) this committee reported the church completed, out of debt and dedicated to Almighty God. This church was built after thoroughly modern design and considered one of the prettiest in the State. The sermon at the dedication was preached by Rev. R. H. Bennett, Professor of Moral Philosophy and Biblical Literature at Randolph Macon College. The Rev. G. E. G. Smith was pastor.
Many spiritual fires have burned down through the years under the leaderships of the Reverends C. T. Harrell, C. E. Hobday, E. H. Hopkins, R. V. Owen, T. G. Pullen, R. Junius Brooks, C. D. Coffey and others, when quarterly conferences and revivals were held all day with big spread dinners under the oaks standing the church grounds of New Hope Methodist Church.
The Third Quarterly Conference, meeting at New Hope on May 29, 1929, presided over by Rev. Walter S. Deyerle, voted to move New Hope Church to its present location. The two acres of land was purchased from Oran Portwood and his Wife Bertha Portwood, located between Shacklefords and Saluda, bordering Route 33. The Building Committee composed of M. F. Revere, P. H. Rilee, H. L. Rilee, R. B. Pierce and J. R. Greggs, with the aid of the membership, razed the building and moved it to the new location in four days. Within approximately 60 days, the rebuilding was completed with two wings and porch added, debt free. During this time the worship services were held without interruption in a garage on the land where the church was rebuilt. This work was accomplished under the pastorage of Rev. R. R. Burnett. The Reverends W. L. Jones, O. S. Good, A. W. Linthicum, W. G. Burch. M. H. Barton and Thomas W. Ogden, George Turner and Kenneth W. Lambdin served faithfully during the years of growth in the third era of New Hope Methodist Church.
In 1939, a merger of the three split methodist denominations recombined to create the Methodist Church.
Some years later under the pastorage of T. O. Edwards, New Hope was made a part of the Shacklefords Charge with the parsonage being at Shacklefords, Virginia. The Reverends Hugh Paylor, J. E. Oyler and H. H. Smith, Sr', served us during this time. This division lasted only a few years, and New Hope was again made a part of the' Middlesex Charge where it has been for many years.
It was during the pastorage of the Rev. Thomas W. Ogden, the building fund was started for the much needed addition. At the annual conference of 1951, the Rev. Glenn G. Williams and his wife Jean, were appointed to the Middlesex Charge. As this fine energetic young couple began their ministry with us, enthusiasm began to grow. For three years, we talked of the need of better educational facilities and during this time, Rev. Williams had the unforgettable experience of helping to set thousands of sweet potato plants as he worked with the Methodist Youth Fellowship in their God's Acre project. Sore muscles and backaches were forgotten when our dream materialized and our new Hammond Organ became a reality.
Finally, in the spring of 1954 under the leadership of District Superintendent Rev. Wark Curry and Rev. Glenn Williams, the building fund drive was begun and substantial pledges and cash enabled ground to be broken for the new addition in August of the same year. This project included six additional Sunday School classrooms, redecorating of the church interior, a central heating system, memorial windows and brick exterior.
J. C. Wilson was the contractor, but many and long were the hours of labor given by the membership. The building committeemen were: A. L. Walker, Irving Carlton, Rufus Carlton, Atlee Wilson, Carey Lawson and Brown South.
On January 30, 1955, the renovated New Hope Methodist Church was consecrated by the Rev. H. Wark Curry, District Superintendent of the Rappahannock District.
During the entire building program, every worship service was held in the church.
In August of the same year, a committee composed of Walter Fary, Owen Pierce, Aileen South, Thelma Coates, Wilbur Wilson and Garnett Carlton, were appointed to purchase new pews. This committee worked diligently and the lovely pews were installed in April 1956--paid for in full.
Atlee Wilson built the beautiful Lectern and gave it in memory of his mother, the late Lois Rilee Wilson. Linwood Willis, Jr. built and gave the lovely flower stands. The furnishings and new hymnals were dedicated May 13, 1956. Dr. Thomas J. Hawkins, Dist. Supt. of the Rappahannock District preached the sermon. The painting "Solomon's Head of Christ", was placed in memory of the late Richmond Wilson, by his wife Maude Wilson. The stained glass window in the gable end in the front of the church was given by the Rev. and Mrs. Glenn G. Williams.
Rev, and Mrs. Glenn Williams worked side by side with the members through the entire project. In the year, 1957, under the pastorage of the Rev. Carl W. Grubbs and his wife, Shirley, the indebtness of $2,500 was liquidated.
By December 1970, a brick parsonage had been completed across Route 33, and central air conditioning was installed in the church building.
A major fire on November 9, 1979 almost completely destroyed the sanctuary, but it was repaired quickly. The congregation continued meeting in the basement of the church parsonage until the work was completed. October 12, 1980 marked a great day for New Hope as the repaired facility was dedicated. The repair could not have been done without the generous support of many of the community churches.
In 1984, ground was broken again for a fellowship hall and more classroom space. The work was completed in November, 1985. In 1986, a new steeple as installed.
In 1994, Route 33 was expanded by the highway department. The new route required moving the church parsonage. The work, including extensive remodeling, was completed by the end of that year.
Since then, a new sign was designed and added in 1998. A new narthex was built and handicap accessibility was improved in 1999. There always seems to be some project to improve the facility and make it more inviting to the community. The work is not yet finished. The vision is yet before us.