Oral history tells us that freed slaves living in Kentucky traveled across the Ohio River to Indiana to worship as a band of Christian believers. This was thought to have been the genesis for what is now New Hope Baptist Church.
After enduring these tiresome travel conditions for some time, this small band of believers decided to settle on the Indiana side of the river. It is believed that as early as 1870, property was purchased in the High Street area for a potential house of worship. Available history also tells us that this band led by Rev. Elijah Torrance organized as a body in 1879 and began to fellowship in this area of town.
Little is known of the building but more than likely it was a regular home. Like the wandering Israelites, this band of Christians began the journey that would eventually lead to the present location at 663 Dr. W. R. Brown Sr. Way. From High Street the group moved to Walnut Street in 1901 and yet unnamed - just a group of believers praising and worshipping God. They moved from Walnut Street to Bell Street (Bellemeade) and the name Bell Street Baptist Church was chosen, no fine sanctuary just a simple shotgun house. Their numbers stood at fourteen (14) members. Rev. Torrance moved to California and an interim lay leader Bro. Townsend was chosen.
Rev. Frank Long was called to the pastorate of Belle Street Baptist Church. The church was erected in 1912 and rebuilt in 1924. Rev. Long remained as pastor until his death in 1926. The church then called Rev. Jeff Dixon and the next Pastor was Rev. Alexander Cantrell.
Rev. George L. Cooksey became the Pastor of the Little Hope Baptist Church in 1934 and served for seventeen years. Rev. Cooksey retired in 1951 due to ill health. Rev. Walter Rodgers Brown, Sr. was called to pastor in 1953. Due to the foresight of Deacon Rash Ferguson who realized that the name was an important part of who we were that Little Hope was then changed to New Hope and a dynamic era began.
In 1956 Rev. Brown presented to the congregation a plan for erecting a new $100,000.00 sanctuary. Finally on March 14, 1960, the New Hope congregation marched into a "new home built to the glory of God". Reverend Brown retired after 50 years of service.
After 50 years of faithful leadership the New Hope Baptist Church was in search of another pastor. The Lord led the church to call Rev. Rabon L. Turner, Sr. as the 7th Pastor of this historic church. He accepted the call formally on the second Sunday in October in 2004. Under his leadership the membership expanded to where there are now two worship services on Sunday.
Pastor Turner has been given a vision for our church and over the past 11 years he has led us in achieving many of the milestones the church set out to accomplish.