New Hope Church

New Hope Church

Several denominations sent missionaries to work among the Cherokee. The Moravians, Baptists, Methodist, and Presbyterians were among the first to devote their missionary efforts to Cherokee communities. The earliest missions included religious services as well as schooling for children. After moving to Indian Territory, the Cherokee Nation set aside one acre of ground for each church and another one or two acres for each cemetery. Congregants often got together to raise their church.

Scriptures and hymns were published in the Cherokee language. Hymn singing was a much enjoyed pastime, and the Cherokee language was heard lilting from various church windows. The most rural churches often had itinerant preachers with members of the congregation filling in on Sundays when the traveling preacher was scheduled to be at another small church on his route. Sunday services were generally longer than today’s and generally involved a picnic meal on the church grounds because travel by horse drawn wagon took more time than today’s modes of travel (and travel times also caused churches to be sprinkled throughout the territory to serve remote congregations. During revivals, a brush arbor might be built to accommodate the larger crowd. During revivals, members would bring bedding and camp on the grounds overnight.

The New Hope church building in Adams Corner Rural Village was not originally a church, but was located at Muskogee and Ross Avenues as part of the Log Cabin Florist business. After being donated, it was moved to Adams Corner to represent an early church building.

The Cherokee Heritage Center sponsors an annual Hog Fry and Gospel Sing in May to commemorate the early church traditions of Cherokee people. The award-winning Cherokee Nation Youth Choir is known for gospel singing and various CDs of their work is available. One of the favorite hymns of Cherokee citizens is Amazing Grace, which in translation is markedly different from the English version.