By Sam Jordan, Editor
(SHADY) For a community that is just beyond the state highway and at the start of a county road, the residents in Shady, have had one constant in their community… New Hope Baptist Church.
This Sunday, parishioners and community members alike will join in for a celebration like no other. 139 years of being a part of a community and most of all, a community church.
New Hope Baptist Church had humble beginnings and has seen lean times, but they have held the bond together that has kept it firmly entrenched and reaching souls from near and far.
This church is not just a church in Shady, Arkansas. It reaches out to people in Board Camp, Nunley, Dallas and all the way to Mena. It also reaches people that visit the nearby Ouachita National Forest and the various trailheads that are located nearby.
New Hope Baptist Church is located at the end of State Highway 375 and at the beginning of Polk County Road 81, next door to the Shady Volunteer Fire Company.
The church is right in the middle of the hub of Shady. It has seen growth in the 139 years of existence, from being started in the old school house in 1880, to a new church being built in 1907, to a remodel in 1957, and the church taking on a huge project by constructing an addition that gave the church a dining room and Sunday School rooms in 2001.
Pastor Danny Minton has been in charge of one of Polk County’s oldest Baptist churches since 2014, and is proud to continue to see this little congregation continue its growth.
Minton is also proud that the church is also giving back to the various ministries that the Ouachita Baptist Association supports both on the Home Missions and Foreign Missions fields. It is not easy for a small, country church to be able to maintain its own bills and needs, in addition to supporting other important initiatives within the association.
Russell Anglin Jr., who acts as the New Hope Baptist Church Historian, says that the church has meant a lot to him and his family. In particular, to him alone.
Anglin experienced death three times last year alone, was paralyzed from the neck down and the one constant that Anglin counted on was the congregation at New Hope Baptist Church in Shady.
Pastor Minton mentioned that two parishioners in particular, Ruth Lien and Merle Hendrix are two of the oldest that still makes New Hope Baptist Church, their church home.
Lien is 98 years old, while Hendrix is just 93, and they still show their continued support to the church and its mission of reaching the lost and giving that compass that has guided them through their lives to new people.
Minton, who is the Director of Maintenance for the Mena Public Schools, is excited by the prospects of continuing the growth that has kept New Hope Baptist Church prospering.
According to members of the church, the church is not done growing either. Youth focused initiatives are at the forefront of the congregation. The youth is the future of any church growth and members want to see the church continue the passion and mission of New Hope prosper.
Whenever their has been a need for someone in the community, the people in Shady has came to the challenge to help others. That wasn’t always the case just a few years back, but, the phoenix always finds a way of soaring to new heights at New Hope.
The public is invited to the celebration on Sunday, July 14th. Sunday School begins at 10am and Sunday Morning Worship begins at 11am.
The Church Anniversary Dinner gets underway at Noon, with a Potluck. Then, Sunday Evening Worship at 5pm.