The History of Hope Moravian Church

Hope Moravian Church was founded near the end of the American Revolution as an English speaking congregation. All the other Moravian congregations spoke German. Hope and Friedland were the last congregations organized before church authorities' restricted growth for the next 60 years.

Original Hope Church The first English service held by the Moravians in the area that became Hope was on Easter Monday, April 4, 1763. A number of the families were acquainted with the Moravians, because they had lived near them at the Moravian settlement of Carroll's Manor in Maryland. Other families followed from Maryland, and in 1775 work began on a school house that would also house a minister and his wife and be the place of worship. The Revolutionary War delayed construction. On August 26, 1780, the congregation of Hope was formally organized with Br. Johann Christian Fritz serving as resident pastor.

In the 19th century, the church was frequently abandoned. For a time it was declared to be so unhealthy that no pastor was stationed there. After the Civil War, the Synod appointed a fact-finding committee in 1866 to go and meet with the congregation. The committee went to the church and was greeted by only four people. But by the time the meeting had ended, the little church had been filled, mostly with young people. The committee reported that it had found much hope at the little English congregation named Hope.

Gemeinhouse It was rare for Hope to have a resident pastor. For most of the 19th and well into the 20th century, the congregation was served by pastors from other Moravian churches, most often from Friedberg and Clemmons. The pastor reportedly rode "a la mule" until 1923, as the roads were too muddy for any other means of travel.

Meanwhile, Hope's old meeting house, begun in 1775 as a school, had served its usefulness and the main road had passed it by. A decision was made to relocate some distance away on Clemmonsville (now Hope Church) Road. On August 29, 1896, the new church was consecrated. A vestibule with a distinctive belfry was added in 1923 and enlarged in 1975. A Sunday school building was constructed in 1940 and the Christian education building in 1964. A parsonage was also completed in 1961 for Br. John Walker, Hope's first full-time pastor in more than a century.

Though a small congregation, Hope has observed its centenaries in a big way. For its 100th anniversary in 1880 nearly 2,000 attended, including the Salem Church band and choir members. Hope's bicentennial in 1980 was a year-long affair with special bulletins, programs, and an outdoor drama presented near the anniversary date.

- Moravian Archives, 2001