New Hope Chapel began as an Annapolis church plant in the late 1980s. It eventually became an official church plant of the Baptist General Conference (BGC) in May of 1987 and incorporated in the State of Maryland. The church’s first pastor was Denny Rigstad.
Following Pastor Denny Rigstad’s departure, the church called Gary Derechinsky to be its pastor in 1992. Gary, who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home before converting to Christianity, had spend 17 years working for Chosen People Ministries. While meeting in small office spaces and eventually at Annapolis Area Christian School, Gary brought his rich understanding of the Jewish context of Christianity into his teaching.
Gary also brought his love for music to the congregation, and in 1999, the church opened a Christian coffeehouse in Edgewater called Solomon’s Porch. The venue served as a popular place to hear local bands every Friday night, and Gary even did a radio segment introducing the bands on a local station earlier in the week when they were scheduled.
Later that year, the church moved from its location at Annapolis Area Christian School and began holding services at Solomon’s Porch. During this time, the church began teaching Bible seminars.
When the church’s lease expired and the owner sold the property, New Hope Chapel was
forced to meet again at schools and hotels.
In 2004, the church bought the church property at 804 Windsor Rd. in Arnold. During that same year, the church hired Justin Hibbard as the worship pastor. Following extensive renovations, the church began meeting there in November of 2004.In 2007, the church began hosting a monthly coffeehouse called “Chord and Canvas Cafe.” The goal of the coffeehouse was to be a gathering place for the community to hear, watch, and support local musicians and artists. The first event drew such a crowd that the church realized it needed to make renovations to the cafe area in order to accomodate.
Around 2008 and 2009, the church saw a boom in children attendance. Whereas very few children had attended when the church began meeting at its building on Windsor Rd., the church saw an influx of younger families and births. Since 2008, the children’s church program has grown from one class to two age groups, and has led to multiple Sunday School classes and a youth group.
At the end of 2009, the church began a ministry called “Christianity is Jewish.” The idea behind this ministry was to do church outreach while teaching people about the Jewish roots of Christianity. The church built a website at christianityisjewish.org and Gary recorded minute messages that aired on WRBS radio. The ministry proved to be very successful, as many had never heard about the rich Jewish roots of Christianity.
In August 2010, Gary Derechinsky, following 18 years of service at New Hope Chapel, accepted a call from Beth Ariel Fellowship – a Messianic congregation in Las Angeles. During the transition, many people began stepping up to serve in various capacities. A teaching team, organized by people with the gift of teaching and pastoral experience, began giving the Sunday morning messages. Others stepped up to fill needs in areas of worship, finance, fellowship, children’s ministries, adult ministries, and beyond.
In November 2011, the church called its worship pastor Justin Hibbard to serve as the pastor. Reflecting on New Hope Chapel’s history, Justin comments, “It’s amazing to see where this church has traveled and the many journeys God has led it on. We’ve been in office buildings, schools, hotels, and at times have had a concentration of about every age group. Various ministries have flourished – coffee houses, Biblical seminars, youth groups. It seems to happen in different waves. We’ve seen people come and people go. I guess that’s what happens when you live in such a transient area. What excites me is what God has for us on the horizon. I love this church; I always have. And I love being a part of the next chapter that God is writing in this book called New Hope Chapel.”