TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Good Hope Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist Church in the city of Lafayette
In the year 1878, a few worshipers met and organized a church that was later incorporated as the Good Hope Baptist Church of Lafayette, Louisiana. A year later, in August 1879, a plot of ground situated in the town of what was then Vermilionville was donated by the honorable Alexander Mouton, a citizen of Lafayette and Governor of Louisiana during that period, for the erection of the church edifice. The adjoining lot was purchased from Governor Mouton for the sum of one hundred dollars. Said property was located at what is now Polk Street at Congress. With spirits lifted and joy abound, the house of worship was erected.
Good Hope has been dedicated to the principle that a church must be ever mindful of its purpose to develop and strengthen the lives of its members and the community in which it serves. In keeping with this philosophy, the edifice was not only used for religious purposes but as an educational institution as well. Classes were held in the church until the city provided a school for the Negro children of Lafayette in 1896.
Throughout the years of her existence, Good Hope has been blessed with outstanding ministerial leadership. The Reverend T.J. James was her first pastor. Under his guidance the church was remodeled in 1904.
Reverend G. Oliver and Reverend Finister Hamm each served as pastor of Good Hope for a short time. Reverend J.B. Livingston of the Union Sixth District Missionary Baptist Association served as interim pastor until a pastor was elected.
In 1912 the church was incorporated and the following year Reverend Albert R. Butler was installed as pastor of the church. He served in that capacity for forty-five years. With the support of faithful members and his leadership, improvements were made, including the installation of a baptistery.
In 1957 plans for further renovations were discussed and members finally agreed that the construction of a modern building was needed. The first deposit dedicated for this construction was five hundred dollars. Mr. Isaac Bendal, a businessman of this city, bequeathed this amount to the church. Thus began the Building Fund for a new edifice. Reverend Butler did not live to witness the finalization of his endeavors. He died in January 1958.
In May 1958, Good Hope elected Reverend Albert David Teno, Jr. as pastor. Under his leadership and the contractual skills of Brother Thomas Wilcox, Jr., president of the Trustee Board, and with the loyal support of the membership, a new edifice was erected at its present location – 1325 South Magnolia Street. A dedication service for the new church was held in May 1964. The late Reverend Teno served Good Hope Baptist Church for twenty-four years.
On October 6, 1982, Brother Antoine Batiste, President of the Trustee Board, presented Reverend Edward Harris of Washington, Louisiana to the membership. He was chosen pastor and served for three years.
In 1985 the church was once again without a pastor. Under the guidance of Brother Othus Doomes and Brother Excell Terrell, Reverend Edward Harris of Shreveport, Louisiana was selected as pastor and he served for a very brief period.
Under the same leadership committee and with the support of the church body, Reverend Francis Davis was named pastor on March 9, 1987. During Reverend Davis’ tenure, enlarging the secretary’s office and the pastor’s study remodeled the church. A vestibule, balcony and finance room was also part of the improvement plan. Sister Frances Gibbs bequeathed $5,000 to this building project. Reverend Davis resigned in February 1992 after serving faithfully for almost five years.
On June 8, 1992 after being without a pastor for three months, the church began a new chapter in her history. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of Brother Preston Welcome and Brother Bently Senegal, the names of three candidates were submitted to the church for consideration as pastor. The Lord’s choice was confirmed on July 6, 1992 when the church named Reverend Ricky E. Carter of McComb, Mississippi as part-time pastor.
The Lord has opened up the windows of heaven and blessed the Good Hope family through Pastor Teacher Ricky E. Carter. Through his preaching and teaching many souls have been added to the Body of Christ. Under his guidance and leadership the operational budget has increased; new ministries have been initiated to meet the needs of members as well as the community and the entire interior of the church has undergone extensive renovations.
On January 10, 1994 Pastor Carter became the full time pastor of GHBC and has proved to all that he is a “child of God” and a “true laborer of the Lord.”
The following is a list of changes/accomplishments of GHBC in recent years:
Published its first Pictorial Directory to be distributed in July
Because of the increase in membership, Good Hope has outgrown the facilities at 1325 South Magnolia Street. In December 2004 construction of our Family Life Center at 1501 East Willow Street began after eight years of prayer and planning.
God made provision for the successful completion of this awesome project. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 12, 2004. Over 200 members and public official were in attendance along with Larry Guidry (now deceased) of Guidry Beasley Architects and representatives of JB Mouton Contractors. November 2005 was projected for the completion of the Family Life Center.
Just as we cannot determine the time of Jesus’ return, we could not determine the exact time for the completion of the Family Life Center. Katrina and Rita caused a delay in completion; however these were times when we were able to share our wealth and good fortune with those affected by these devastating hurricanes in 2005. It was not until February 2006 that we were able to move into our new home. The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Dedicatory Service took place on March 5, 2006 and every Sunday and Tuesday in the month of March pastors and churches from near and far shared in our celebration.
Our God is an awesome God and continues to bless the Good Hope family. As we celebrate 130 years standing on His promises, we joyful anticipate the construction and completion of the sanctuary which will be built adjacent to the Family Life Center where will continue to worship and praise God for His many blessings, His grace and His mercy!