In the early 80s, the General Council of the Assemblies of God was developing a plan for the 90s to be the Decade of Harvest to launch us into the 21st Century. The Ohio District was committing to plant 100 new churches during the Decade of Harvest. Two district officials, Rev. Bruno Glodkowski and Rev. Robert Crabtree, had a vision for a church in Stow, and so were excited when Rev. David Klein, who had previously served as a youth pastor at Canton Bethel Temple, a missionary with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), and Dean of Men at Malone College, approached the district about beginning a church in Stow. Our church, New Hope Family Life Center, would be one of the first of the 100 new churches during the Decade of Harvest! Much groundwork and preparation lay ahead.
Our first official service convened New Year's Eve - December 31, 1983. There were 41 who gathered at the home of Leo and Geneva Chervenic. At midnight we observed a very special communion service and declared the church to be launched January 1, 1984. For the next few months we met on Sunday evenings, in homes and in the 3rd floor room of Chervenic Realty on Darrow Road. Our first Sunday morning service was Easter Sunday, 1984 - the Lord had given us favor with enough people that we were able to rent the auditorium at Kimpton Middle School. We met at Kimpton until 1986 when Pastor "chanced" to meet Carlton Buck of Team IV - a Christian architect who had designed the Kids Play Child Care Center on Kent Road, where we were able to meet from 1986 to 1992.
At this time Pastor Klein met a Stow businessman named Ken Sauter, who owned a large field on Route 91 - five acres of the most prime land in the city! Such a purchase would be a giant leap for a small fellowship like ours but we trusted in the God of the universe who has great things in store for His people. Our Intercessory Prayer Team gathered and marched around this field and prayed and consecrated the land for the Lord's use. We were able to purchase the land and then needed to build. Again we prayed, and a man named Del Shaver surfaced who had retired from the Summit County Engineering Department and wanted to spend his retirement years doing for the Lord what the Lord had allowed him to do for a living. He served the church at no salary!
As soon as we moved into the building in November 1992, we realized that we needed more space. Our first addition project was the K Room which served as a fellowship room, classroom, and whatever was needed. That was completed in 1994. Then, we saw a need for classrooms and a multipurpose room (gym) for other church activities - that project was completed in 1999.
Then came the miracle of what is now New Hope Learning Center! Our ministry has always centered around children, and in 1998 our Leadership Team was looking to start a before- and after-school program when Judy Hart approached Pastor Klein about moving her school from Munroe Falls to our building. We believe it was a God-incidence! At that point, with the scope of ministry growing, the decision was made to change our name to New Hope Ministries with two parts: The Church of New Hope and New Hope Learning Center. Mrs. Hart continued to serve as Director of the learning center for fifteen years. Her assistant director, Dawn Langbein, stepped into the Director's position following Judy's retirement.
Things continued to flourish at the church until Pastor Klein's retirement on March 1, 2006, at which point Pastor Roger Larrison served as an interim pastor until we called Rev. Chris Decker to serve as the next Pastor of The Church of New Hope. In 2007, through the generosity of one of our families, the funds were given for constructing the wonderful Pavilion that we so enjoy. During Pastor Decker's tenure, the church offices and classroom were added to make the building as it is today. Almost without exception, when people tour the facility, they comment that it is so much bigger than it looks from the front!
As we got used to working together, blending our church family, we developed the goal of being a church of real people in relevant, relational ministries - a seven-days-a-week congregation that would stay close enough long enough to make an impact for Christ! This builds nicely on our foundation:
Christ in [us], the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)and
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Pastor Decker resigned as our pastor on January 29, 2011. Through the Ohio Ministry Network's Interim Pastor Program, Pastors Al and Margie Yanno agreed to serve as our Interim Pastors, and then in May 2012 Pastor Roger Larrison agreed to serve the Church again until we selected our new pastor. After much prayer and searching, God provided us with Rev. Dr. Joel Soza, who also serves as Professor of Old Testament at Malone University, to be our new pastor. Pastor Joel and his wife, Dalia, have served since January 2014 and have been a great blessing to the church.
In our 30+ year history we have had the opportunity to send missionaries to the mission field around the world and to draw people to Christ who now minister and serve in various occupations. Today we continue seeking to be real, relevant, and relational as we serve Stow and beyond with the gospel of Jesus Christ.