On Muraoka Drive, in a newly remodeled building on the north end of town, surrounded by warehouses and industrial buildings there was a party going on. There was a rock band, food, drinks, laughing and singing. It wasn’t a nightclub or a house party; it was a church ceremony.
After four years of construction New Hope Community Church was celebrating a new beginning. The building itself, large enough to double as an airplane hanger, can host over 1,000 worshipers. There are an information desk and i-Pads at the doors designed to help guide the parishioners and televisions on the wall, broadcasting the band’s performance with accompanying lyrics on one of the monitors.
It took a lot of faith to finish the project and a lot of hope. Having hope is something that lead pastor Malcolm MacPhail is an expert at and he needed every ounce of hope he could muster when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in 1994.
“There wasn’t a donor so they weren’t going to operate,” MacPhail said. “Hope was all I had and at the time, it felt like there was none left.”
MacPhail survived and with an new abundance of hope, he embarked to grow his congregation.
New Hope Community Church is an Assembly of God Church, a Christian denomination founded in 1913. The atmosphere within the church, from the lively music and the technology is unlike that of most other churches.
“It’s based on salvation in Christ, the expression of spiritual gifts and it’s a belief that we are to go all over the world with missionaries,” MacPhail said. “We spend over $100,000 a year to support missionaries going into third world programs running feeding programs and building bible colleges. I just got a letter from a missionary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who built a bible college in the jungle.”
It took New Hope four years to raise the $800,000 it needed to complete the church on Muraoka Drive. Even during the construction process, despite the sawdust, church services continued on Sundays.
“Everybody bared with the process and it was great to see everybody do church as a team,” Pastor Chris Soto said. “Everybody pitched in. We’re in a great place financially and we’re happy to celebrate that with such a big project.”
With the completion of the church, New Hope Community Church will work to continue its mission to bring together the various churches in Gilroy to make a greater contribution to the community.
“There’s been an increase in relationships between other denominations and other pastors in the last 10 years and there’s a greater awareness now that churches are a vital part of the community,” MacPhail said. “We work very closely with the public schools, Rebekah Children’s Services and St Joseph’s. We also partner with an organization in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Churches now see the importance of going beyond our walls and do acts of kindness more than ever before.”
The work to complete New Hope was another collaborative effort from various contractors in Gilroy including Kent Construction and R W Gish Construction along with contractors Tom Cline, Steve Jeske, Dan Crumrine and lobby design by Rachelle Castaneda and Nicole DelMoral.
“This is a great day for us,” MacPhail said. “We doubled our capacity so we can invite more people to experience Jesus Christ.”
Aside from Sunday services, New Hope hosts Rise Youth Movement for jr. high and high school students on Tuesday nights, New Hope Women, The L.O.F.T., designed for young adults aged 18-35 and Adventure Awaits for children on Wednesday nights. The church also hosts various recovery groups on Fridays.
“We do something about every night so we can get the full use out of this building,” Soto said.
The church is not 100 percent complete quite yet; they still need to finish their cross.
“We have one, but it’s just not here yet,” McPhail said. “We just need to refurbish the one we have. It’s a huge one. It was actually used to in a play to hang a real person on. It’s even got blood stains on it. It’s pretty cool. That’s the only thing we’re missing.”