New Hope First Baptist Church in Cedar Park is celebrating their 150th anniversary on October 22nd. Or, as they like to reference the milestone: 150 years of making a difference in the Cedar Park and Leander communities.
A Heart For Children
The church was chartered on a Thursday in 1868, by six founding members. The first service was held three days later, on Sunday, October 25th. From the very beginning, New Hope showed a heart for children, leasing out their first space (a log building) to the State of Texas as a schoolhouse. In 1901 they began to support Buckner’s Orphan Home, now known as Buckner International, an organization that helps thousands of children and families every year. One of New Hope’s pastors, D.E. Simpson, was also instrumental in the founding of the Texas Baptist Children’s Home (in Round Rock) in 1950.
In 1949 New Hope held a month-long VBS (Vacation Bible School). Anyone who’s ever worked a normal week-long VBS can tell you that it would take a real passion for children to implement a program for an entire month. The planning and effort required would be monumental.
102 Years of Revival
New Hope was also a force for revival in Williamson County for more than 100 years. Between 1879 and 1980 the church hosted 102 consecutive summer revivals. Thousands were baptized at these annual meetings, usually held under the Brush Arbor, which was built in 1897 specifically for revivals and outdoor summer services.
Julia C. Inman was the youngest daughter of founding members S.C. and Mary Cathren Inman. S.C.’s first wife, Martha, was the first person interred at the historic New Hope Cemetery. Julia’s mother, Mary, and S.C. are also buried there–as are many of the founding members and their descendants. Julia lived until 1987. Her life spanned every revival held under the Brush Arbor. Julia remained a member of the church her father helped found her entire life. She is also interred at the New Hope Cemetery.
New Hope Today
Today, New Hope First Baptist Church would likely astound members from even 50 years ago. Mostly because in 1960 the church membership stood at only 209 people. The population of Cedar Park was just 200 at the time. In recent years, they have seen that number more than quadrupled on a normal Sunday worship, and even more recently, the church’s Easter services have been held at the Cedar Park Center in order to have enough space for everyone. The latest sanctuary boasts modern, state of the art multi-media technology, contemporary worship music, and comfortable floor and balcony seating areas.
One thing remains a constant for New Hope First Baptist Church, however: They still display a heart for children. They continue to host VBS every summer, just as they have each year since 1942. In addition to that they host an annual Fall Fun Fest (held on October 31st); collect school supplies; conduct mission trips to help children in Mexico and even support Leander ISD administrative services.
Join The Celebration
New Hope will be celebrating its 150th anniversary with its members all October-long. They invite the community to celebrate with them on Celebration Sunday, October 21, 2018. Services at 9:30 & 11:00 am will be full of celebration elements, and continue after services with lunch, interactive exhibits, time capsule preview, and hands-on history presentations (provided by Williamson County Museum). In addition, there will be kid zones that include inflatables, spin art, and sno-cones plus lawn games, photos with a Longhorn, photo booth, drawings and even more!
New Hope First Baptist Church is located at 183 and New Hope Dr. in Cedar Park, TX. New Hope FBC is pastored by Keith Pate, who has served in local churches over 30 years. You may visit them online at https://www.discovernewhope.com.