History of New Hope Baptist Church, Coal Valley, Illinois


     New Hope Baptist Church was started as the result of many events and dedicated people seeing the need to reach out in a community where there was no Southern Baptist Church.

     In the early 1970s Dr. W.J. Fritts was largely responsible for drawing people together, securing resources and starting mission services in Coal Valley.  Bible Clubs were held in the community, surveys were taken and extensive visitation was done.  In the late fall of 1974, Home Bible Study Fellowships were started by Dr. Fritts in his home and in the homes of David Newcom in Coal Valley and Clayton Cockerill in Orion. 

     On Sunday, July 27, 1975 First Baptist Church of Green Rock sent the Fritts, Newcom and Cockerill families as a core of workers for the Coal Valley Baptist Chapel.  Financial support was secured from Broadmoor Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee and Paradise Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon, Illinois.  The first services were held in the Coal Valley Masonic Hall.

     In March, 1976 Dr. Fritts resigned as pastor, and Jim Collins of Moline served as interim pastor.  Sam Duncan was called as pastor in August, 1976. 

     On March 6, 1977 the chapel was constituted into the Coal Valley Baptist Church.  Just over a year later, in October 1978, the church purchased 5.4 acres of land at what is now its present site.  Work was also begun with the Spanish-speaking people of Moline with the help of Dean Pruitt

     In November, 1978 Rev. Duncan resigned as pastor and Henry Ramey began to serve as interim pastor the following January.  Pastor Ramey accepted the call as pastor in May, 1979.  During that same year, the church called John Lujan of Texas to work with the Spanish-speaking residents of Moline.

     In November, 1979 leveling the church property began in preparation for building.  However, the church did not contract for the new building until May, 1982.  A ground-breaking ceremony was held on August 1, 1982, and construction of the present facility commenced in September, 1982. 

On May 15, 1983 the first services were held in the new building. Records indicate that 107 attended Sunday School that first Sunday, and 126 were present for worship services.

     In the next decade the church installed important upgrades such as a kitchen, sidewalks, and a handicapped parking area and entry ramp.  During the economic crisis of the mid- and late 1980s, the church struggled to maintain its programs and meet its financial obligations.  However, the Lord continued to provide for the needs of this worthwhile work with Ramey as Pastor.  In October 1987, E.J. Cole was called as Associate Pastor.

     In May, 1989, Pastor Ramey retired as pastor, and Dr. Steven Smith accepted the call to the pastorate in June, 1989.  He resigned in January, 1992, and Byron Wooten was called as interim pastor.  In October, 1992, Byron Wooten accepted the call as pastor.  He resigned as pastor October 2, 1994.  Steve Williams became the interim pastor until November 20, 1995. 

     In May 1995, the church voted to merge with Baptist Temple in Colona but to maintain the Coal Valley location.  Edmon Clemmons, who had been the pastor of Baptist Temple, was called as full-time pastor.  At that time the church voted to change its name to New Hope Baptist Church.

     On May 29, 2000, Ed Clemmons resigned.  Retired local pastor, Robert G. Poor, became the interim pastor on August 20, 2000 and served in this capacity for the next year.

In September, 2001, James Grieme was called to serve as pastor.  He served until November, 2007 when E.J. Cole and Jerry Higdon became interim pastors.

In November 2008, Tracy Irvin became pastor.  He resigned in 2014, and Jamie Miller began serving as interim pastor.  Jamie Miller accepted the call as pastor in December, 2015 and served the church until November, 2016.

In January, 2017, Jon Sedgwick began serving as interim pastor and accepted the call to pastor in June, 2017.

  July 2021  
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