To the Editor:
Six miles south and west of Richmond, on Proffitt Road, there stands an old country church that was built in 1820 and named The New Hope Primitive Baptist Church.
One strong tradition the country folk who founded this church adhered to was to meet at the church on the first Sunday in May. On Sunday, May 5 this year, relatives of some of these founders still met at the church.
Sadly, through the years families have scattered, the children haven’t been taught about their ancestors and interest in the past has faded. But still, on any given day of the week, a car may come to this church and the peoople wander around the grounds.
They’ll read the head stones, look at the flowers, enjoy the peace as the gentle wind blows through the cedar trees, remembering their loved ones and the good times that were had at this chuch in days gone by.
You might even see someone making a rubbing of a head stone or writing down information in a search about their ancestors. And yes, the church is listed with the Historical Society of Missouri for preservation in the future.
The church and its grounds are still maintained and funded by two accounts set up by the members. One fund is for the repairs and upkeep of the church itself, and another fund is for the repairs and upkeep of the cemetery grounds. These funds are added to by individuals and sending generous donations and contributing when they visit on Memorial Day weekend.
For the people visiting the church grounds this year, on Saturday or Sunday May 25 or 26, someone will be at the church to answer questions to let you visit inside the church and accept your donations if you wish to contribute.
If you have never been inside the church, you will find it quite interesting. The pews were hand-carved and the seating is still arranged as it was in the olden days.
News articles are framed on the wall regarding the church when it was renovated about seven years ago, and to just sit and listen to the quiet of the church and its grounds brings you peace of mind as you imagine how it was back in the 1800s.
If you can’t be there and wish to contribute to our upkeep, make a check payable to New Hope Primitive Baptist Church and mail it to Janis Lanning, 8591 Vandiver Rd., Richmond, Mo. 64085. Please specify if you’d like the donation to go to the church or cemetery fund.
– DeNelda Jongerius