Perhaps the most accurate way to describe Hopewell Baptist Church’s 144th Homecoming plans is this phrase: “Hallelujah Homecoming Hoedown.”
That’s what Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks, Hopewell’s senior pastor, is calling it. This two-day celebration will be held at the church this weekend and will highlight the church’s recent growth.
“The church continues to grow,” Middlebrooks says. “It’s not anything I’ve done — it’s just that God is doing a lot for the lives of everyone around here, and I’m just trying to make sure I don’t mess it up and get in His way.”
The centerpiece of Hopewell’s growth is the new children’s building, which now is much closer to the sanctuary. The portables were renovated to move the youth classes, for older kids, out of that building.
The adjacent playground also received a renovation, making that section of Hopewell, bigger, safer and more fun. It should get plenty of use over the weekend.
Saturday’s main attraction is a performance by the Weaver Believer Survival Revival band, a family ministry that travels the country to play their blend of Southern Gospel and Bluegrass music. The Weavers, a family of 10 with kids as old as 21 and as young as 9, all sing and play an instrument.
“Each one of those kids are tremendously gifted,” Middlebrooks says. “I would get them as close to the Von Trapp family as I possibly could, but the Von Trapps just sang — these kids sing and play instruments.”
The church believes it will have enough chairs to accommodate everyone but encourages people to bring light snacks with them.
On Sunday, there will be more traditional worship. There will be plenty of preaching and music, and food that Middlebrooks says would “put a five-star hotel to shame.”
“They used to call them, ‘Dinner on the Grounds,’” Middlebrooks says. “These are not just ladies cooking — it’s a cook-off. And, a lot of these people bring some of their best dishes. It’s better to fast before you come to Homecoming.”
Although Middlebrooks and the church are focused on making this weekend’s event a good experience, they already are thinking about next year — the church’s 145th anniversary. He wouldn’t reveal exactly what plans were set, but did offer this tease:
“Next year, at 145 years, it’s going to be a yearlong celebration with exciting announcements,” Middlebrooks says. “Probably the best way to look at it is that it will change the landscape of Hopewell Baptist Church. When we start that — when God says, ‘Go,’ we’re not going to be standing still or walking backwards. We’re going to be running forward.”
Contact Justin Kline at [email protected].
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 10 a.m. Sunday, May 4
WHERE: Hopewell Baptist Church, 6001 S. C.R. 39
INFORMATION: hopewellbaptistfl.org or (813) 737-3053