(The Formative Years, 1849—1854)
- Hopewell United Methodist Church’s history reaches far back to March 9th, 1849, when a group of citizens from Fayette and Coweta Counties met and determined to build an academy/meetinghouse by subscriptions: (Jared Handley—$20, Charles Clemmons [Clements]—$25, Gainey Westbrooks—$5, John Watson—$5, John Smith—$5, Samuel H. Ellison—$5, & Elisa Stephens—$2.50 = $67.50)
- The original deed granted three acres of land to be appropriated for the use of an academy or meetinghouse, whose doors were to be opened and free to all legal and orthodox denominations.
- A 30’ x 20’ wooden frame, clapboard building was built by the teacher, M. P. Byington, of the academy. The building became known as “The Hopewell Academy/Meetinghouse.”
- Following the norm of the day, both a Baptist minister and a Methodist minister would share the building with the minister alternating weekly Sunday services. On some occasions both ministers would arrive on the same Sunday.
- Tradition says the first services of Hopewell Church were conducted in a brush arbor.
Hopewell Methodist Protestant Church (1854—1939)
- Willis Landrum deeded on August 10, 1854, an acre of land lying on the west side of the lot of the Hopewell Academy, for the purpose of a church so as to be open for all other denominations of orthodox professions, when not conflicting with the appointments of said church.
- A church building was constructed, thus Hopewell Methodist Protestant Church had its own church building, 60’ feet long and 40’ feet wide. It was a wooden structure with a low-pitched, shingled roof.
- In the early days, there were only candles to give artificial light; there was neither coal oil lamps nor electricity. The people came to worship frequently walking five or six miles, carrying their small children in their arms.
- On November 2, 1854, in Atlanta, Georgia, the twenty-fifth session of the Annual Conference of the Georgia District of The Methodist Protestant Church convened. It was at this session that the recorded history of the Hopewell Church commenced.
- Spiritual leaders for the congregation were appointed after each annual conference by a “Stationing Committee.” Each pastor, referred to at the time as the “Superintendent,” could expect to have several churches under his pastoral care. To assist the “Superintendent,” an “Assistant” would be assigned to the circuit to aid and assist the minister-in-charge.
- Hopewell Methodist Protestant Church received its first “Superintendent” in 1854 as a member of the Palmetto Circuit. [Mt. Pleasant, New Bethel, Providence, Hopewell, & Marshes Mill] Rev. S. H. Griffin was the first Superintendent, and the Rev. Thomas Hearn served as the first “Assistant.”
Interesting Events In the Life of Hopewell Church
- The Civil War, or The War Between the States, began on April 12, 1861. Our people were caught up in the struggle. For the most part, The Confederate States of America demanded the loyalty of our people. (Notes from 1861)
- At this conference, the Constitution of The Missionary Society was printed in the minutes. The name given was The Missionary Society of the Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church of the Georgia District. (Notes from 1862)
- General Robert E. Lee of the CSA surrenders to the Federal Forces on April9, 1865. Unknown numbers of our men gave their lives for the cause; there are 34 veterans buried in the cemetery. (Notes from 1865)
- Old Soldiers Reunion: Veterans of The Civil War who had served as soldiers of The Confederate States of America began holding a reunion in 1892. (Notes from 1892) Thereafter, the reunion was held in Tyrone, Georgia, on the grounds of Hopewell Methodist Protestant Church on the third Friday of July for a full day’s activities. The last reunion was held in 1968 due to a lack of interest, feebleness of survivors, who were few in number.
- On September 17, 1897, Larkin L. Handley deeded to the church adjoining property for the cemetery. The first row to be reserved for Handleys and the second row for the McElwaneys. (Notes from 1897)
- The Atlanta, Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad extended its route through this area in 1907. The name of the railroad was later changed to the Atlanta, Birmingham and Coastline; much later to the Atlantic Coast Line, and finally to the Seaboard Coast Line, which is a part of The Family Line. (Notes from 1907)
- A station was placed in this northwest section of Fayette County on the Atlanta, Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad. The name Tyrone was given to it; it is believed the name, Tyrone, was given by the men of the railroad who were reminded of County Tyrone in Ireland. (Notes from 1907)
- This community around the Hopewell Church had been a farming settlement from the first settlers. With the arrival of a railroad station, a small town began to take form. (Notes from 1907)
- The Eightieth Session of the Georgia Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church was held at the Hopewell Church, Fayette County, Georgia, on November 24–26, 1909. (Notes from 1909)
- The Georgia State Law Number 182, entitle “Tyrone, Town of, Incorporated,” passed the General Assembly on August 18, 1911. E. E. Jackson was appointed Mayor of Tyrone, and B. E. McElwaney, J. H. Knight, & W. D. Flowers were appointed Tyrone’s first Councilmen. (Notes from 1912)
- The first town election was held on the first Wednesday in January of 1912. J. F. Jones became Tyrone’s first elected Mayor and E. E. Jackson was the first elected Town Clerk. (Notes from 1912)
- The Eighty-Seventh Session of the Georgia Annual Conference of The Methodist Protestant Church was held in the Hopewell Church at Tyrone, Georgia, on November 23–26, 1916. (Notes from 1916)
- On April 6, 1917, the United States of America declared war on Germany. World War I begins for us. (Notes from 1917)
- On November 11, 1918, Germany signed the Armistice. The soldiers began to return from foreign service. (Notes from 1918)
- Under Rev. W. M. Hunton’s ministry, he organized the ladies of our church in the Woman’s Society in 1920. (Notes from 1920) Under the leadership of Mrs. W. D. Farr, this organization became known as “The Ladies’ Aid.” Later, it became The Women’s Society of The Methodist Protestant Church. Miss Betty Brittingham, the National President of The Woman’s Society, visited the group in 1936.
- The Ninety-fourth Session of the Georgia Annual Conference met in Hopewell Methodist Protestant Church in Tyrone, Georgia, on November 21–25, 1923. During one of the evening services much enthusiasm was manifested. “Uncle Tom” Cowan was the leader of evangelism. The preachers all became happy and instead of “shouting,” the “Holy Laugh” was much in evidence all over the church … a scene not soon forgotten. (Notes from 1923)
- When the schools in the area consolidated, a new site was found for the Hopewell School. It was located across Georgia Highway 74 from the Hopewell Methodist Protestant Church in 1929; it was the Tyrone Junior High School. The closing of what was once The Academy left the old grounds vacant. (Notes from 1929)
- The first telephones in Tyrone were in the names of Joshua “Josh” Barge, Emily Barge, Will Flowers, Floy Farr, Roy Farr, Redwine Bank, E. E. McElwaney, and Dr. Abraham Burton Jones. (Notes from 1933)
- On May 11, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 7037 creating the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) as a federal lending agency to help light up the rural areas at a reasonable cost. It was late 1936 and early 1937, when the people of Tyrone had electricity in their homes and businesses. (Notes from 1937)
Hopewell Methodist Church (1939—1968)
- The Uniting Conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 26, 1939, in which The Methodist Protestant Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church, and The Methodist Episcopal Church (South), were merged into one church body, The Methodist Church. Thus, our local church became The Hopewell Methodist Church in The North Georgia Annual Conference, Atlanta Area, Southeastern Jurisdiction, of The Methodist Church. We were placed in the Fayetteville Circuit in the Griffin District. (Notes from 1939)
- On June 28, 1942, a group of interested members met with the pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Moore, in Hopewell Church to discuss plans for the erecting of a new building to replace the old one. The church building was in need of repairs; it was decided that instead of repairing the old one that a new building should be built. A committee of three was elected for transaction of the formal business; they were Floy Farr, Chairman, Estell Flowers, Secretary, and Ralph Ellison, Treasurer. (Notes from 1942)
- July 5, 1947, the ground was broken for the new church building. On July 9th, the foundation was poured. On August 5th, Floy Farr laid the first brick. Once again, the school and the church were closely related, for it was to the school auditorium we assembled for worship while the church was under construction. (Notes from 1947)
- On April 25, 1948, the first service was held in the new church building. The structure is of American architecture, beautifully proportioned with the exterior finished in red brick. Lovely stained glass memorial windows and plaqued doors bear the names of loved ones. The old altar furniture was saved and refinished for its present “holy” place. Electricity and gas heating system were installed. (Notes from 1947)
- Many committees, plans, devices, donations, pay-programs, etc., were used until finally in November, 1950, the last dollar was secured for the $15,000 Church Fund. Rev. James Wilder was the first donor and other contributions came from many sections of Georgia and the states and as far away as Africa, England, France, and Hawaii. (Notes from 1950)
- Magnificent oak pews were placed in the sanctuary of the church on March 24, 1953. These added to the comfort of our people and the beauty of the church. (Notes from 1953) Unfortunately, when the congregation sold the church to the Town of Tyrone, the magnificent oak pews remained behind.
- As time passed, we outgrew the small classrooms, therefore it became necessary to expand. A plan was drawn up to build an annex which was completed in April, 1956. (Notes from 1956)
- Hopewell became a Station Church this year. (Notes from 1962) This refers to the fact that Hopewell Methodist Church became a single-church charge, no longer part of a circuit.
Hopewell United Methodist Church (1968—Present)
- The Evangelical United Brethren Church at the General Conference in 1968 merged with The Methodist Church and the denomination became The United Methodist Church.
- The two conferences within the Atlanta Area: The North Georgia Conference and the Georgia Conference, met in joint session at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on Monday evening, June 21, 1971. Bishop John Owen Smith declared the two conferences merged into and to be known as The North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. (Notes from 1971)
- In the Spring of 1980, the sanctuary was remodeled; a steeple and a porch were added to the front of the church. New pews were purchased and added to those already in the sanctuary. In the belfry, the old church bell given by “Aunt Rhoda Davis” was hung. (Notes from 1980)
- In 1997, after selling the church to the Town of Tyrone and worshiping for a little over year in Sandy Creek High School, Hopewell United Methodist Church moved to its current location.