New Hope UMC Recognized as Shawnee Valley District Light of the World

The people of New Hope United Methodist Church in Proctorville are reclaiming their identity as beloved children of God, and they invite everyone to be part of the great work God is doing. After having no professions of faith and 3 baptisms in 2017, New Hope UMC saw 5 professions of faith and 12 baptisms in 2018. New Hope UMC was recognized as the 2018 Shawnee Valley District Light of the World award winner at this year's West Ohio Annual Conference. Light of the World churches are outstanding in their commitment to shine the light of God's love into their communities and reach new people for Christ.

New Hope UMC is located on the Ohio River in the foothills of Appalachia and provides a traditional worship service with contemporary elements to about 90-100 people each Sunday. What makes New Hope unique, according to Pastor Anthony Thomas, is that "we have a burning passion to serve ALL people, we come together when there is a task at hand, we strive to be non-judgmental - and we recognize that we still have work to do in all of these areas."

In addition to worship, the church provides many services to the community, including backpacks filled with school supplies for about 200 children each fall; free exercise programs; greeting cards for local assisted living and veterans' facilities; and a food pantry in conjunction with three other local churches. New Hope has also started a program for parents and young children, which gives space for children to play together and caregivers to converse with other adults.

The church has a growing prayer ministry, which gets people out in the community, walking and praying for the neighborhood, the church, and for individuals. New Hope has also begun a Dinner Church ministry, as they seek to provide inter-generational opportunities for everyone to come together, leaving no one out.

As he looks to the future, Pastor Anthony, now in his third year at New Hope, says, "My hope for the future is that we will continue to recognize who and what God is calling us to be - a church that is actually open and welcoming to all people. God is doing something in this place, and we have to get past ourselves and jump on board with all that God is doing."

Congratulations to New Hope UMC for being recognized as the 2018 Shawnee Valley District Light of the World congregation!