Is There a Hope Community Church?
A church founded in 1890 that was once the home of a large African American congregation in the Deep South is now a nonprofit faith.
Baptist Church of Des Moines in Polk County, Iowa, will receive $150,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.
The church was founded by a group of African American ministers and leaders in 1890, and served as a congregation for more than 40 years before it was absorbed into the Des Moines Archdiocese.
The new church, which is expected to open in 2019, will be the first of its kind in the United States.
“Our mission is to make it possible for us to continue to live our lives in peace and harmony with God,” said Rev. Michael L. Harris, a former pastor at the church who founded the church.
In an interview with the Deseret News, Harris said that he was “a bit surprised” by the church’s decision.
“[Baptists] are a church that has been a congregation in this region for more, more than 150 years,” he said.
“This is a community of God, where people have been baptized for more years than we have.”
The church, located in a rural town, had a small congregation until a black pastor, James P. Moore, moved to the area in the 1930s.
Moore and a few others became the founding members of the church, and it was known for its black ministers.
At one point, the church had over 700 members.
According to Harris, the community was growing but there was a lack of churches.
Over time, the congregations grew in size, and Moore and others began to move to other parts of the country.
Harris said the community is looking for new ways to support the church in order to continue serving the people in the community.
A new chapter will be established in the church by the end of this year.
With funding from the NIEH, the Baptist Church of Iowa will provide support for the construction of the new church.
The Baptist Church is a Christian denomination and does not recognize same-sex marriage.
Funds for the project will come from the Descent of Faith Foundation.
For more on the Descend of Faith, click here.