A new beginning needed a new name, so when the congregations of Emmanuel United Methodist Church and the Englewood United Methodist Church decided to merge, they decided the new name should be Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church.
“A new name also means a new start, and we are doing that here at what I call the campus at 3885 S. Broadway,” said the Rev. Judy Taylor, the pastor. “Our sign out in front of the building that telsl you that, ‘our lives, like our church, are under construction,’ is accurate because a lot of work is going on in the building and in our congregation.”
For about a year, the congregations of Emmanuel and Englewood churches worked together on the prospect of merging into a single church.
“I served as pastor of both churches and the services rotated monthly between the two locations while the merger was being discussed,” said Taylor. “The majority of both churches agreed it would be a good idea to merge the two congregations, and the idea became a reality when we elected to move into the campus at Mansfield and Broadway, which is now the Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church.”
The site was selected because of a number of practical reasons, including handicap accessibility, visibility and available parking.
“This is a new beginning for us,” Taylor said. “We see a lot of opportunities for service as we seek to bring forward the best of both churches in order for us to serve the community in a variety of ways.”
The pastor said a new beginning means a turnaround, and there is a literal turnaround underway in the sanctuary. For decades, the pulpit was placed so the congregation faced the south. That is being changed, as a temporary pulpit is placed so the congregation faces north while work is completed to turn the sanctuary around.
A number of former Englewood United Methodist Church services will continue, including the monthly food closet and clothing pantry that is open the second Saturday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m.
“The closet and pantry are open to anyone in need and I understand there are usually about 200 to 250 people who come to the event. There also is a meal available to those who visit our clothes closet and food bank,” Taylor said. “We also will continue to have our all-day child care and preschool for infants starting at 6 weeks old to those who are about 5 and ready to go into kindergarten. The program continues to stress providing top-quality child care at a very reasonable cost.”
She said her excitement and vision is to reach out to help the residents of the community.
“Our location is convenient and we want to get outside the doors, find out the needs of the community and how we can try to meet those needs,” Taylor said. “We feel there is a wealth of experience and knowledge in our congregation, and we hope we can find ways to share that experience and knowledge to the benefit of Englewood’s community and its residents.”