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New Hope Presbyterian Church
  • 7301 Shallowford Road
    Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421
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  • Phone (423)892-0853
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Regular Schedule
  • Adult Bible Study
    – 9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
  • Worship
    – 10:45 AM to 11:45 AM
  • Youth Group
    – 12:00 PM
  • Prayer Group
    – 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Brown Bag Dinner & Bible Study
    – 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Pastor's Page

Candace Worth

Candace's Pastoral Ponders...

In late October of 1974, the first worship service was held by what was to become New Hope Presbyterian Church.  I'm sure the air was full of excitement for the future as well as a fear of failure.  Yet, fifty-three men, women, and youth gave their fears over to God and made a "covenant with God and my fellow charter members to seriously and diligently reexamine my life, goals, and priorities for living in the knowledge of God's redeeming love for me in Jesus Christ and by the light of his Word (the Bible) as made clear to me by the Holy Spirit."  And "in view of the self-evaluation, I will seek to make available to God through this covenant fellowship my time, talents, and resources."  The charter members came from a variety of neighborhoods throughout the Chattanooga area.  They took the time to let their neighbors and others know about New Hope and what God was doing there.  They invited others to join them in worship.  Some heard and were intrigued enough to visit and then become a part of the congregation.  The enthusiasm spread.

About ten or so years later, construction began turning the farmland and houses across the road into one of the largest malls in Tennessee.  Seemingly overnight, the neighborhood around New Hope went from what was considered by many as the country to a metropolis of stores, hotels, businesses and restaurants.  Since then, New Hope has tried to continue under it's original calling - to be a neighborhood church.  For a while it worked.  

In recent months I have started to hear rumblings about lower attendance, the loss of so many members and the age of those who remain, as well as a drop in income.  It seems like we are the Israelites, wandering around in the wilderness not sure when or even if we will make it to the promised land.  Yes, the landscape around us has changed, but that does not mean that god is not with us or that god does not have a  plan for us.  However, we have to be willing to see that our original calling had changed over the years.  When I was interviewing to be your pastor, the search committee described the church as an oasis in the midst of all the mall development.  We are an oasis in many ways: we have trees and grass and wildlife :), we value people because they are God's beloved children and not because of what they can buy or provide, we are hospitable to those who live at the margins of society as well as those who live within, we are a physical reminder of what it means to be a gospel people in the midst of a society whose values are different.

A session member asked at the last meeting, "When was the last time you invited someone to church or told someone about why New Hope is your church home?"  It's a good question.  If we want to continue the legacy of those first charter members, then we too have to be willing to let others know about New Hope.  Why do you love this congregation?  When was the last time you were excited about being in the congregation?  I don't know what your answers to these questions are, but I will tell you mine.  I love the hospitality extended to visitors and members alike, whether one comes dressed in dirty clothes, can speak English, has the same viewpoints, is wearing all designer labels, no matter race or sexual orientation.  I love that you still show love and respect to one another in the midst of disagreements.  I love how you care for one another.  I am excited every week about spending time with you, what new things I will learn from the children in worship, the plans we have for Advent and Christmas, the possibilities and the potential of the future.  I could go on and on, but Leslie says my space is limited.  I will end by encouraging you to "seriously and diligently reexamine [your] life, goals and priorities" and to share the good news with someone.