Hopewell was formed on July 10, 1910 under the guidance the Holy Spirit, through the Rev. Frank P. Marshall. The charter members included: Rev. Frank P. Marshall, Mrs. Otha Johnson, Deacon Lucky Bolinger, Mrs. Betty Bolinger Martin, Mrs. Henrietta Smith, Mrs. Fannie Dowell and Mr. Bobby Thompson. This group of charter members met in the old News-Dispatch building on the 2nd floor. The name “Hopewell” was the name of Rev. Marshall’s mother’s church in Rapid Dan, VA and was proposed as the name of the new forming church and was rapidly accepted. After worshipping there for about 2 months the parish moved to Clay Avenueand Fifth Street where measures were taken to raise funds by sponsoring dinners, and soon they were able to buy the lot at 436 Chestnut Street where our first and second churches were built. The first building was a rough frame, 20 ft. x 30 ft., erected during the latter part of 1912 and dedicated on November 20, 1913 with a membership of seventeen. The members continued with their annual dinners and through this channel the church was paid off. In June 1917, Hopewell’s first licentiate, The Rev. J.E. Smith along with his wife and two daughters left Jeannette to reside in Greensburg and there formed a new congregation now known as FirstAntiochBaptistChurch. This caused our membership to decrease. But five years later in 1922, the membership had increased to 142, and the increase was attributed to the fact that Hopewell was the only black church in Jeannette. The old church building became too small for the congregation and was torn down and a new cornerstone was laid in May 1925. After 15 weeks, the members were able to meet in the new church building basement for services on the third Sunday in December 1925. The new church edifice was dedicated on the third Sunday in May 1926.
Hopewell continued to grow under the leadership of Rev. Marshall, but his health began to fail. On October 22, 1939, Rev. Marshall went home to be with the Lord and on October 26, 1939 the founder and builder of HopewellBaptistChurch was laid to rest.
After Rev. Marshall’s death the following pastors were called to lead our congregation: Rev. E.E. Hamlet, Rev. Beverly A. Taylor, Rev. Vernon M. Herron, Rev. W. H. Drayton, Rev. Robert M. McCoy, Rev. Albert Gans, Sr., Rev. Gerald Smith, Sr., Rev. Richard Freeman, Sr., and our current pastor, Rev. Anthony Murray.
Hopewell has had 5 sons of the ministry which were: Rev. William George, Rev. Guy McMillan, Rev. E.W. Demps, Rev. Robert Williams, and Rev. Albert Gans, Jr., and two daughters of the ministry, Minister Karen Murray who delivered her trial sermon on October 2004 and Minister Shari Edwards who delivered her trial sermon in October 2005.
Music has always played an important part in the church which is evident by the many choirs and music ministries we have. They have included the Senior Choir, The Bells of Harmony, Sunshine Choir, Junior Choir, Youth Choir, Young Adult Choir, Mime Ministry, Praise Team, Mass Choir and in 2004 a Men’s Choir. If you were a member of Hopewell some 30- 40-years or so ago, you have to also remember the duet of Mrs. Mamie Dooling and Mrs. Cora Porcha who sang at Hopewell and area churches, with their legendary song, “The Sun Will Never Go Down.”
Our ministries have included: Deacon, Deaconess Board, Sunday School, SaturdayChurchSchool, Senior Missionary, Pastor’s Aid, Trustees, Nurses, Willing Workers, Junior and Senior Usher Board, Mime, Kitchen Ministry, Prison Ministry, Day Care Ministry and Audiovisual and Tape Ministry.
VacationBibleSchool was first instituted in 1956 and was held the first two weeks in June under the leadership of Rev. Herron and under the leadership of Rev. McCoy the first bible study began. Both of these traditions are still continued today.
Hopewell has been an active member of Allegheny Union Baptist Association or the AUBA since 1914 attending yearly sessions, and the Annual Sunday School Round-up. We are also actively involved with the Jeannette Association of Churches and the Westmoreland Ministerial Alliance.
Many renovations and additions have been made to beautify our church over the years with the installation of a handicap ramp, new windows the purchase of a new van, computer, audio and tape ministry where CD’s and DVD are given to the sick and shut-ins. And in keeping with the age of the internet, we also have a website which features a calendar, daily bible verse, photos, announcements, audio sermons, prayer request, etc.
One of our many theme’s that we have is “Hopewell, we are looking to do a new thing.” Some of the new things we have done here at Hopewell came in the form of the ordination of 3 deacons, 2 of them being women. And in 2005 we held our first Weekend Leadership Retreat at the Mennonite Church Camp, in Laurelville and our first Youth Revival.
So, as we strive to carry on the work of those who had the vision to start this church 99 years ago, we pray that God will continue to bless this church and his people as we carry on their legacy because “We Have Come This Far By Faith.”