Saturday, July 20th, 2024

Good Hope Methodist Church Story


A New Chapter of Independence

by Wendell Ward

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19 NIV

Isaiah 43:19 offers a prophetic promise of renewal and hope, a promise to rejuvenate God's people by paving a way through adversities. The people of Israel faced numerous challenges throughout their history, often faltering in their faithfulness, yet God continued to assert His presence and redemptive power. This verse not only reflects God's commitment to lead Israel out of physical and spiritual desolation but also serves as a metaphor for personal rejuvenation, urging believers to recognize and embrace the new paths He is forging in their lives.

As for embracing a "new thing," historic Good Hope Methodist Church in Chesapeake has taken a significant step toward spiritual rejuvenation by becoming an independent church, a decision motivated by a commitment to uphold traditional Methodist doctrines and disciplines.

A quarter of congregations within the United Methodist Church body are choosing to become independent due to growing theological disagreements that challenge their understanding of traditional Christian doctrines and disciplines. These churches seek to preserve Christian values and teachings they feel are being compromised by contemporary cultural influences and constraints within the United Methodist organization. This shift toward independence is driven by a desire for greater autonomy in doctrinal matters and church operations, enabling these congregations to adhere more closely to their understanding of scripture and the original tenets of Methodism, free from the external pressures that they believe dilute their religious practice and community outreach.
Nestled in the heart of Hickory since 1848, Good Hope Methodist Church is one such church that has gained its independence. Known for its deep historical roots and vibrant worship, Good Hope welcomes all who enter its doors to join in a journey of faith, service, and lifelong learning-even more so now that it stands on its own.

As explained by Good Hope's pastor, Nancy Vaughan-Moss, "Good Hope is one of the few churches in Southside Hampton Roads to disaffiliate from the larger United Methodist Church, driven by a desire to return to the roots of Methodist teachings and to escape the ongoing bureaucratic and ideological shifts within these larger organizations." According to Pastor Nancy, a quarter of the churches within the UMC in the United States have chosen to disaffiliate and become independent.

Known for its deep historical roots and vibrant worship,
Good Hope welcomes all who enter its doors
to join in a journey of faith, service, and lifelong learning

"Our move to independence is a clear invitation to those who feel disconnected or unsatisfied with their current church homes due to the changes within the larger UMC," Pastor Nancy explains. "We aim to offer a spiritual sanctuary for Methodists and Christians seeking a community that prioritizes traditional values and direct scriptural adherence."

The church's decision was not made lightly. "The United Methodist Church has seen its doctrines and disciplines, based firmly in scripture, increasingly disregarded," Pastor Nancy says. "We saw leadership moving away from these foundations, influenced more by contemporary cultural trends than by the eternal truths of the scriptures. It's a shift where the church is being influenced by the culture, when it should be the other way around."

This shift has not only theological implications but practical ones as well. "The bureaucracy had become overwhelming, diluting our ability to effectively minister and allocate our resources according to our community's needs," Good Hope member Gordon Magill adds. "By becoming independent, we regain control over our missions and financial decisions, allowing us to focus fully on the ministry and the direct support of our congregation."

Good Hope United Methodist Church is eager to welcome new members who are looking for a church committed to traditional Methodist teachings. As a long-time member of Good Hope Lindy Magill puts it: "If you're seeking a church that aligns with traditional Methodist values-one that offers straightforward, scripture-based teachings, we invite you to join us," she says. "Our pastor, Nancy Vaughan-Moss, is deeply committed to the scriptures and traditional values, and we are confident that Good Hope can provide a welcoming, spiritually fulfilling home for all who walk through our doors."

This bold move by Good Hope could be a beacon for those in the Methodist community who crave a return to traditional worship and church governance, free from external influences. "We want to be a home for those who value tradition and scriptural integrity," church member John Doody shares. "We're here, we're independent, and we're excited about the future of our congregation under this new framework."

As Pastor Nancy affirms: "In a nutshell, Good Hope separated only after careful consideration and prayer, taking the difficult step to leave the United Methodist Church, and we are committed to pursuing what we believe is God's new direction for us, continuing our heritage as Wesleyan Methodists and embracing the unity of all Christians within the Body of Christ. Anchored by the unwavering faithfulness of God through Jesus Christ, we look forward to building our future."
"If you yearn for straightforward, scripture-rooted teachings within a community that values tradition, Good Hope is your spiritual home," Lindy Magill assures. "Under the leadership of Pastor Nancy Vaughan-Moss, Good Hope is dedicated to maintaining an environment that is both welcoming and spiritually enriching."

Good Hope Methodist Church is more than just a place of worship; it's a community eager to welcome new members into their family. Whether it's through their Sunday services or their interactive online devotions, they offer numerous ways for individuals to connect and grow in their faith. The church extends a heartfelt invitation to all who wish to explore their faith in a supportive and traditional environment.

Good Hope Methodist Church
1633 Benefit Road
(757) 421-3201

The Shopper

1545 Crossways Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23320