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.