Hope Presbyterian Church
|Denomination||Evangelical Presbyterian Church|
|Weekly attendance||6,874 (2014)|
|Senior pastor(s)||Rev. Rufus Smith Previous: Dr. Craig Strickland (1988-2013)|
Hope Church is an Evangelical Presbyterian megachurch in Cordova, a district of Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. R. Craig Strickland is the Founding Pastor. His catchphrase is "If you're looking, there's always Hope." It describes itself as a "church for the unchurched". Rev. Rufus Smith is the Senior Pastor.
In December 2007 the church opened a major extension, added 5,000 seats to its capacity with state-of-the-art audio-visual facilities. The $26 million worship center, which took 16 months to build, added 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) to the existing 210,000-square-foot (20,000 m2) worship center. The original plan had been for a $50 million auditorium with 5,500-seats and a 76-foot (23 m)-tall building with a bell tower that would reach to 180 feet (55 m). That plan was abandoned after protests from local homeowners. The center built under the revised plan was opened in time for a series of candlelight Christmas services at which total attendance was expected to be 20,000.
The church runs a youth football program for first- through sixth-graders. The church sponsors the Boy Scout Troop 338. In March 2008 church volunteers started work on renovation of the nearby 114-unit Cedar Court apartment complex, which the church had bought and was upgrading to provide affordable housing in the area as part of an urban outreach ministry. In 2010 the church started running Sunday Lunches where singles could meet in a more wholesome atmosphere than bars and clubs, with unexpected success. This was a continuation of a drive to attract young people looking for a nontraditional church, seen as the future of the church.
The church often lets its auditorium be used for concerts. Performances between November 2008 and July 2010 included Lecrae, David Crowder Band, Brandon Heath, Building 429, Todd Agnew, Family Force 5, House of Heroes, Decyfer Down, Dave Barnes, Haste the Day, The Devil Wears Prada, Chris Tomlin and TobyMac. In August 2008 the church staged a concert in memory of Isaac Hayes, who had recently died, which was attended by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Other notables included U.S. Representative Steve Cohen, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh. The church was widely criticized for agreeing to host the concert, since Hayes was well known as a Scientologist. The church defended the event, saying it was a tribute rather than a memorial, and it was for the entire community.
- "Hope Presbyterian Church". USA Churches. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Hope Presbyterian Church Grows With Shure". Penton Business Media. July 17, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Hope Presbyterian Church Sanctuary – Memphis, Tennessee". Belew Architects. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- James Dowd (December 22, 2007). "Hope Presbyterian holiday events offer preview of new sanctuary". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Around Bartlett and Cordova". The Commercial Appeal. June 4, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Welcome!". Troop 338. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- James Dowd (March 3, 2008). "Hope Presbyterian, neighbors team to rehabilitate North Memphis apartments". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Cathryn Stout (April 14, 2009). "Virtues of dating: Christian singles seek out alternatives to mainstream courtship". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Lindsay Melvin (August 16, 2008). "Congregations reach to unchurched young adults". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, TN Last 10 Shows". preamped. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Isaac Hayes Tribute at Hope Presbyterian Church in Memphis". Life Magazine. August 18, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Bob Mehr (August 18, 2008). "Singing soulful praises: Music, memories fill air at star-studded service for Isaac Hayes". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- Lindsay Melvin (August 14, 2008). "Isaac Hayes service prompts outcry; critics say church no place for Scientologists". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved August 10, 2010.