A Brief History of Hope Church
Hope Church, PCA was originally begun as a mission church of First Presbyterian Church in Schenectady. Students of Dr. Herbert Mekeel, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, held services in a home in Factory Village, New York beginning in November of 1953. The mission church was known as Factory Village Chapel. Once services began outgrowing the home, land was donated to the Church and in June of 1954 a prefabricated building was erected on the land. The focus of Factory Village Chapel was to minister to children and young people. The pulpit was temporarily filled by seminary students from McGill University. A full-time pastor was called in 1957. During his seven year leadership, a vote was taken to formally incorporate the church as Grace Community Church.
Additional land was given to the Church in 1961 and 1970. The total property then included 4.1 acres, a newer church building and a manse. During the years of 1964 through 1968 the church struggled due to inconsistent leadership which resulted in a split and the relationship with First Presbyterian Church of Schenectady was severed. Near the end of 1968 a licensed pastor of RPCES came to Grace Community Church as minister. Focus was placed on rebuilding relationships and increasing the Church’s community outreach programs. The Church joined the RPCES denomination in 1970 and the name was changed to Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church.
In October of 1975 the Church began to experience growth again under a pastoral change. Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church voted to merge with Malta Community Church on January 22, 1978. The merger of the churches resulted in a new name, Hope Church, and the two pastors worked in a co-pastorate fashion until 1981.
The church experienced steady growth and developed various ministries including youth programs, small groups, spiritual gift assessments and leadership training. To increase the community involvement and outreach, members became involved in parachurch organizations such as Christian Action Council, Bethany Christian Services and Prison Fellowship. An Assistant Pastor was called in 1989. In 1991 a group of elders and members broke away to form a new congregation in the Glens Falls area.
In February 1993 a second major expansion of the Church’s facilities was completed. The expansion provided additional classrooms, a kitchen, nurseries, office space and fellowship space. Sadly, at the same time, the Church’s pastor of fifteen years was discovered to be involved in inappropriate liaisons which lead to his resignation and subsequent deposition from ministerial office The effects of these events were far reaching for the Church. Attendance and giving dropped and a new pastor was called in 1994. In 1995 another group of members departed under the leadership of the Church’s Assistant Pastor to form a new congregation.
Once again the church began to grow and the youth programs (Christian Service Brigade and Pioneer Girls) flourished. The two morning worship services were well attended and for a time there was a third service that was held on Sunday evenings. The congregation benefited greatly from the preaching and teaching of the Word encouraging us to live as sons and daughters of the King. After twelve years of ministry there was some difference of opinion as to the vision of the church and the pastor left. A significant number of families left at that point and in 2007 a new pastor arrived and sought to encourage and build up the committed congregation that continued to worship each week. Unfortunately a tragic bicycle accident in 2010 resulted in the pastor’s paralysis from his neck down and by 2013 his ministry ended at Hope and he and his wife moved to VA. The Lord graciously provided us with an experienced man to serve as Stated Supply while a Pastoral Search Committee was erected and the search for a full-time pastor began.
A new chapter in the life of Hope Church began in November 2015 when our present pastor, Nate Thompson accepted the call of the Congregation and along with his family moved to Ballston Spa and began ministry at Hope Church.