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AHS, “Hope Church, #16 Gaylord Street ,” Amherst Historic, accessed December 3, 2023, https://amhersthistoric.org/items/show/39.
- This church was founded in response to black congregants wanting a separate, distinct church that would be managed and organized independently of Amherst College and the dwindling white congregation.
It was a long process and the congregation met at several other locations, including Town Hall and Amherst Academy until a location was found.
Plans were in existence by 1910 for Hope Church, a building that was subsequently erected on a lot on Gaylord Street bought from neighbor Henry Paige in 1907. About 1906 the black congregation of Amherst, who had been organized as a mission church of the College since 1869, meeting in a separate
Zion Chapel behind College Hall on Woodside Avenue, split into two groups. One group that wanted to be free of Amherst College's involvement, and not wanting to wait for approval by the Congregational Assembly (who had denied the first request) joined the African Methodist Episcopal conference and laid the cornerstone for a new Zion chapel on Woodside Avenue in 1910.
A second group that decided to retain ties
with Congregationalism, the denomination of white residents who had organized mixed Sunday school classes in the l860s, and who had supplied organists and ministers to the congregation in subsequent years, formed Hope Congregational Church.
Booker T. Washington came to Amherst to raise money for the Hope Church building fund, and Mary McLeod Bethune was present at the dedication ceremony of 1912.
Published on Mar 11, 2022. Last updated on Apr 9, 2022.