Celebrating Over a Century of Fulfilled Visions, Hopes, & Dreams: The Second New Hope Baptist Church
Visions Come to Pass
Following the Civil War, blacks remaining in the Spotsylvania community began life as freedmen. Most of them farmed for themselves while also working for white landowners. During this time, blacks began to branch off into independent churches – leaving behind the past and the years they worshiped in the galleries (roofed outdoor balconies) during segregation.
Members of Second New Hope were among these visionary Christian leaders who left the Massaponax Baptist Church congregation. In 1869 they stepped out on faith and formed The Second New Hope Baptist Church.
Like the children of Israel, all of their blessings did not come to them quickly. It wasn’t until June 23, 1883 that members of the congregation were able to purchase land recorded as the church’s current site. The purchase was made from Mr. & Mrs. Richard White for the sum of thirty-five dollars.
The first elected pastor for the congregation was Reverend York Johnson. Johnson was from Stafford, Virginia, and he served as their shepherd for over two years.
Reverend John Pendleton of Caroline County followed Johnson. Under his directive the church body built a brush arbor – a shelter made of vines and branches. Their humble beginnings later led them to a log church and through God’s grace this structure was also temporary – a framed building was erected some years later. After several years of faithful service Reverend Pendleton resigned as pastor.
A New Hope for Tomorrow
In the years that followed there were many great men of God sent to lead this branch of Zion. And although they came from different walks of life their hope and confidence in the blessings God had in store for the Second New Hope family would have profound impacts on them and for many generations.
Reverend Willis Robinson of Fredericksburg pastured for a few years, and his successor was Reverend Samuel Brown. Brown was also an educator and he held the position of principal for Mayfield’s High School. After three years of service, Brown left Second New Hope to pursue pastoral charge at a sanctuary in Petersburg, Virginia. For a few brief months, the church was blessed to serve under the leadership of Reverend Willis Robinson. In the short time he was with the church he touched many lives. Reverend Robinson was called home to the Father in ?????.
Reverend Pritchett, Reverend Walter Moss and Reverend L. Price also passed through Summit, Virginia in response to God’s call. Reverend Price’s call to charge occurred in 1920. He served as the church’s spiritual leader for twenty-three years. Many people who worshipped with Price throughout the community can still recall the manner in which he delivered the Word, his voice as he sang, his gift in teaching, and his sweet spirit. Within a few short years after being elected as pastor – Price’s innate skills to manage projects became very apparent as he organized the building process for the current edifice of our main sanctuary. Price is also remembered for reuniting New Hope with its daughter, New Ark Baptist Church. In November of 1943, Price passed into eternity after many years of labor. ‘Father Price’ is missed, but certainly not forgotten.
Our next elected pastor was Reverend Clarence Chick of Fayetteville, North Caroline. Following a year of service, Chick resigned to accept a position at Fayetteville State Teachers’ College.
In 1947, Reverend Russell Robinson was called to serve. He had a profound desire and respect for educating the members. As such, four new Sunday school rooms were added to the basement of the church, which enabled classes to be offered every Sunday instead of once a month. Another structural change during Robinson’s tenure included the addition of a pastor’s study in the basement. However, despite the modifications Reverend Robinson saw an urgent need to expand the facility by building educational rooms to the existing structure.
He served unselfishly to build the addition to the church. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held and the new project was underway. In remembrance – cornerstones were laid in January of 1967. Yet, Reverend Robinson was unable to see this vision through to its completion. His labor and work here on earth ended and he was called home to be with the Lord, but his legacy and love for people remains in the hearts of men.
During the tenure of Robinson, God also gave way to the spiritual development of one of our own sons, James (Bud) Smith. Reverend James Smith was licensed as a minister under the pastoral ship of Robinson.
Reverend James O. Powell of Staunton, Virginia came to pastor Second New Hope in 1967. He entered into service with unfaltering zeal as he picked up where Robinson left off in his quest to complete the education room expansion. Powell is also credited for organizing a financial committee for the church, a youth committee, and weekly bible studies. Reverend Powell resigned from the church in 1971.
Reverend Richard Rice became the pastor in 1971 and the motto “Under the Rainbow of Hope” was taken. Under the leadership of Reverend Rice, numerous things were accomplished: a new air-conditioning unit was installed, two additional deacons were added to the Board and many souls were saved. We know and respect Reverend Rice for his humility, his leadership abilities, his high morals and his spiritual character. Reverend Rice resigned in 1975 to pastor the Liberty Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Reverend James Rodgers of Alexandria, Virginia was installed as pastor in 1976. During his ministry, the Sanctuary was filled each Sunday with eager ears to hear the word of God. Under his ministry, the Sanctuary was painted, the Twilights’ were established for children under ten, a Sunday school bus was purchased, pews were refurbished and the Church was bricked. Additionally, the Mass Choir was formed, The Deaconess Board was established and two sons of the Church, Reverend Charles Hilliard and Reverend Lafayette Samuels, were both licensed. Reverend Rodgers resigned in 1982.
In 1982, Reverend R. P. Pringle of Madison County, Virginia, was installed. He was truly a God fearing man who led the congregation on to greater endeavors. He worked diligently so his sheep would strive to live for Christ. During his ministry, the sanctuary was remodeled, new carpeting was laid, a new baptism pool was installed, and two additional deacons were added to the board. With the help of the Lord, much was accomplished. Reverend Pringle passed away on July 29, 1984.
Reverend Alvin A. Edwards, Sr. of Richmond, VA was installed as pastor on August 31, 1986. Structual changes during his service included the basement’s renovation. Under his ministry, we continued to march forward triumphantly. The congregation traveled throughout the state with Reverend Edwards spreading the good news about our Lord and Savior – Jesus Chris. He is remembered for his spirit-filled sermons and his songs of praise.
Today we worship under the ministry of one of our own sons, Reverend Charles H. Hilliard. He was installed as pastor in 1993 after serving as interim pastor for one year. He has been blessed of God to fulfill his ministry as parish shepherd for eleven years of tenure at his home church. Pastor Hilliard brings us the unadulterated work of God through his sermons and teaching of the gospel, so that we may all gain a better understand of Christ.