By Mary Louise Bonner
Hope Assembly of God Church
Hope Assembly of God was begun in the early 1960’s, when a tent revival was held in Aliquippa, PA. Following the revival meetings, a former Jewish synagogue on Church Street was purchased to serve as the first home of the church. Some remodeling was necessary to convert the building into a church. Worship services and Bible studies were held on the upper floor, while Sunday School classes were held downstairs. The congregation was small and consisted of about 7 families and at least 8 individuals. The first pastor was Willard Chapman, a Canadian Assembly minister. He and his wife served the church for about one and a half years.
Not long after the Chapmans’ departure, a young, fresh-out-of Bible school graduate, was assigned to pastor the church. Donald and Mary Jane Brasco agreed to live in the downstairs apartment. Naturally, some more remodeling was necessary. About a year into his pastorate, Pastor Brasco felt led of God to construct a new church building. Land was purchased in Hopewell Township on what was once a nursery owned by Frank Fisher. With the help of the “Sites for Souls” project by the Assemblies of God, building began in the summer of 1962. The dedication ceremony of the land and future building was held before construction began. By winter of that year, the construction was finished and services were held in the new Aliquippa Assembly of God Church.
The Brascos remained in the pastorate for seven years. (All three of their children were born here.) They chose to accept a pastorate in Kent, Ohio.
The next pastor was a young and newly married John Kuert. He and his wife Sandra remained at the church for approximately three years. Pastor Kuert directed his ministry toward the youth of the church.
The Kuerts were followed by the Fergusons (Ken and Kathy, who later became missionaries to Jordan), the Hixons (Wayne andShirley and their two children), and the MacDonalds. All of these families lived in the parsonage which was part of the church building.
Earl and Amy Baker (along with their three sons) accepted the pastorate and remained for four years. They made the decision to live in a house in the township and to convert the former parsonage into Junior Church classrooms.
Roy and Carol Helgerman, with their children Dan and Jocelyn, took the pastorate after the departure of the Bakers. They also resided in the house the Bakers had lived in. It was under Pastor Roy’s ministry that the name was changed to Hope Assembly of God. The Helgermans pastored Hope Assembly for five years.
Pastor Glen Younghans, his wife Sharon, and son John took over the ministry in the early 1990’s. Due to recurring health problems, Pastor Glen was forced to resign his one and only pastorate after serving for a year. He was a very humble servant of God and was sorely missed.
Pastor Jerry Adams, his wife, and two children became the next pastor. During his tenure, the new parking lot was constructed, replacing the graveled one. He and his family lived in Beaver Falls. Their tenure was brief, due to Pastor Jerry being recalled to the military to serve as a Marine chaplain.
Dennis and Amy Thompson became the next to minister at Hope. They initiated many improvements to the church: a sound system, new outside doors, a new roof, new glass block windows in the sanctuary, and a downstairs kitchen for the social hall. Their tenure was the longest — 13 years.
The Thompsons were succeeded by Mark and Judy Baumgartner. Pastor Mark was a very dedicated man of God who served for three years before he was called to Heaven, after battling cancer. He instituted weekly afternoon prayer sessions for the needs of the people and God’s direction for the church.
While alive and serving as minister, Pastor Mark mentored the current pastor, Janet Giles. She is unique in that Pastor Janet is the only female to be voted to serve the church. Under her leadership, many improvements have been made to the building: painting of the sanctuary, padded seats for the pews, a new sound system, and refurbishing of the Junior Church. She has continued the twice-a-week prayer sessions. Her current objectives are to reach out to the communities around the area, to see spiritual growth in the lives of individual church members, numerical growth of the congregation, and divine direction and guidance for the church.
Everyone is welcome to join us for worship each Sunday as we continue the history of Hope Assembly of God!