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IN THE BEGINNING…a small group of people, meeting in a firehall in Norwood (a suburb of Knoxville, TN) desired to organize a church in their community. This area was growing as WWII had drawn many people to this area to work in Oak Ridge. This meeting took place on April 19, 1953.
On August 12 of 1953 the Norwood Presbyterian Church was organized with 35 charter members. Of this membership less than one-fourth were Presbyterians; one third had never been in the church or were inactive; 12 different denominational backgrounds were presented and none had ever served as a church officer. A church was born!
Winter’s approach (and no heat in the firehall) prompted the need to find a new location. The Norwood Civic Clubhouse was chosen with plans to build a permanent church building was instituted. Ground was broken on November 23, 1954 with the first services held on May 1, 1955. The second part of the first building was completed in October of 1956 as membership grew. The dream of an adequate and appropriate church home was finally realized in 1966 with the completion of the final unit, the Sanctuary. The first worship service was held in it on December 11, 1966.
While Norwood was realizing their dream of a place for worship, another rapidly growing community in the northwest area of Knoxville came to the attention of Presbytery. This area was West Haven. ,The official organizational meeting was held on Sunday, October 7, 1956, and the new church was organized with 38 charter members. The first worship service in the new church at West Haven was held on January 19, 1958. On November 10, 1974 the congregation voted to negotiate a merger with Norwood United Presbyterian Church; accepted on November 24, 1974.
At the first congregational meeting of the merged churches on December 8, 1974 a new name was chosen – New Hope Presbyterian Church. A member pointed out the name came letters in the name of both churches – if you “borrowed” a P from Presbyterian.