Who We Are:
New Hope UMC serves the Northern Berkshire community, and we seek to transform lives through the grace of Christ. We have a rich legacy being birthed from the merger of the two historic UMCs from North Adams and Williamstown, and we have a long history of concern for people and issues of social justice. We support global and local ministries. Our calendar of events includes worship, Sunday School, short term Bible studies, book discussions, fellowship opportunities, and ministries to the local and global communities.
As a Reconciling Congregation, we appreciate diversity and try to live the United Methodist motto: "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors."
We currently gather for Worship at St. Andrews in North Adams on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month at 10 a.m. We engage in service in both North Adams and Williamstown. We gather at the Williamstown Commons at 11 a on the 2nd Sunday of each month for a time of prayer, song and reflection upon scripture. On the 4th Sunday of each month, our 10 a.m. worship at St. Andrews is child-focused, teaching children and adults alike the different practices of the church, new songs and interactive Bible lessons.
Our church office is located at 550 W. Main St. in North Adams. Office hours are from 12-1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
On October 10, 2010, the First United Methodist Churches of North Adams and Williamstown voted to merge into one church serving Northern Berkshire County. As of January 1, 2011, we officially became a new church in search of a new name and a new location. On March 15, 2012, we chose our name - New Hope United Methodist Church. Also during this time we formed a strategy team to help us envision how to become a viable congregation once again. We knew that we could not sustain a full-time pastor, yet we also knew that we needed full-time leadership to keep us moving forward.
In June 2013 we took another bold step of faith as we decided to go "all in," and in a special meeting with Bishop Devadhar, DS Heidi Chamberlain, and Rev. Rick McKinley, we were offered a full-time pastor with pertinent education and experience. With consultation and recommendation, we agreed that this new pastor would spend about 20 percent of her/his time cultivating the current congregation and 80 percent of her/his time building relationships in the community, restarting the church, and planting new worshipping groups. Because we made this decision right before Annual Conference, we did not have time to get a July 1 appointment, yet Bishop Devadhar appointed a full-time clergy to begin September 1, 2013.
Both former First UMC congregations have rich legacies of Christian Education programs, social justice action, community engagement, and community service. Unfortunately, as Christianity has lost credibility in culture accompanied by a decline in industry and employment in the area, most congregations in the area have experience a general decline in attendance and giving. Even so, throughout this time we have continued to pay our apportionments fully, and engage the community in outreach.
Brief Chronological History of Methodism in North Adams
- 1823 - On Petersburgh Circuit in Troy Conference (the pastor would travel 100 miles within 3 weeks to fill all appointments. The congregations met in homes.)
- 1824 - Convened in structure built for glass factory. Paid $30 for lot on Center Street.
- 1843 - Bought Main Street corner lot and built wooden church for $400.
- 1873 - Brick building was built on same site. It was the largest in Troy conference.
- 1923 - Mission giving $10,000 to Korea for boy's school. The school is now (2015) a Technical Schoool.
- 1927 - Fire destroyed building.
- 1928 - Stone building built.
- 2003 - Named Historic Congregation by the New England Conference.
- 2009 - Building placed on market. Worship gatherings moved to First Congregational Church of North Adams.
- 2011 - Building sold to artist Eric Rudd for the purposes of becoming a museum.
Brief Chronological History of Methodism in Williamstown
- 1821 - Prayer meetings begun in Daniel & Eliza Evans house on Water Street as one of eight small churches on the Petersburg Circuit in Troy Conference (the pastor would travel 100 miles within 3 weeks to fill all appointments. The congregations met in homes.)
- 1837 - First Sunday School organized.
- 1846 - First building dedicated.
- 1849 - Taken off Petersburg Circuit & received own pastor.
- 1872 - Present building dedicated, providing stability.
- 1875 - Gift of organ, to become focal point of music ministry of the church.
- 1910 - Renovation of interior, memorial stained glass windows installed.
- 2010 - Building sold to Williamstown Community Preschool.
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