By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
WEST MONROE — Good Hope Baptist Church of West Monroe was an integral partner in founding Fair Park Baptist Church in 1949, but as the years passed the West Monroe congregation declined.
Still, even with few in number, the people of Good Hope desired to see the Gospel spread in their community.
Through the leading of the Holy Spirit and the vision and direction of Fair Park’s Pastor Waymond Warren, Fair Park set out to help their founding church.
For about a year, Fair Park sent members to lead music and preach on a weekly basis at Good Hope. But after a while the smaller congregation expressed a desire for stability in the pulpit.
At that time, Good Hope moved their services from 11 a.m. to 8 a.m. to allow Fair Park Pastor Warren and Minister of Worship Darris Waren to lead services at Good Hope and have time to return to Fair Park, about 2 miles from Good Hope, for the 10 a.m. worship there.
Fair Park also helped with outreach activities — such as a fall festival, a live nativity at Christmas and a community parade — to bring others from the community onto the Good Hope campus. As time passed, the two congregations began to feel like one church, and that led to a vote to merge the two congregations in late June, 2015.
Exciting things are happening on the Good Hope Road campus, Waren said. Plans are to continue regular worship at the Good Hope Road location, and continue to reach people for Christ.
Recently the church broke ground on Hope Park, which will provide an outdoor pavilion, restrooms, children’s play area and walking track, and will be built in phases using volunteer labor and donations.
“God was preparing us for several years to help Good Hope, our mother church,” Waren said. “I hate to see any church struggling and it has been a blessing to be able to be a part of what God is doing on the Good Hope campus. I am so glad that we are all part of the same church family now.” Waren continued.
“We have been able to minister to and love on the congregation there, just as they have us. They don’t realize what a blessing they have been to us and what a blessing it has been to serve with them.”