Hope Alliance Church, a daughter church of the Derwood Alliance Church of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), began conducting services in Germantown on March 25, 1990. The first services were held in Fox Chapel Elementary School. Reverend David Arnold was the first pastor of what was then called Germantown Community Alliance Church.
During this period, Pastor Arnold resigned and a pastoral search committee was appointed. The committee recommended and the congregation approved calling Reverend James Nelson as Senior Pastor. He and his wife Beverly began serving in Germantown in January 1992. Around this time a new middle school was built on Waring Station Road. Initially, the complex housed and was called Sally K. Ride Elementary School. The Alliance Church made application for use of the new school for its meeting place. All services and activities were moved to the new school on Waring Station Road in 1993. 1993 was also the year we changed our church name to Hope Alliance Church to better define the church�s ministry role in the larger upper Montgomery County community.
In 1995 Hope Alliance Church made another move. A new elementary school was built on Seneca Crossing Drive. This housed Sally K. Ride students and faculty from the Waring Station Road facility, which was re-named Roberto Clemente Middle School. Along with relocation of the Sally K. Ride students and facility, Hope Alliance Church also relocated its meetings and activities to the new elementary school. In May Mark Charlton (Roseann) was added to the church staff as an Associate Pastor.
In 1996 the congregation of Open Bible Church joined with Hope Alliance Church. With the addition of new people and leaders, an outreach ministry was added. The AWANA program was part of the Open Bible Church and was enthusiastically endorsed. We began AWANA at Sally K. Ride in Sept 1996 and the program continues to minister to over 100 children through 6th Grade each week during the school year. Mark Charlton resigned in July of 1996. In 1997 the Seneca Creek Baptist Church participated with us as co-workers in the AWANA ministry.
From the earliest beginnings of our church in 1990, there was an earnest desire for a permanent home in the Germantown/Damascus corridor of Montgomery County. Within the first year, the possibility of obtaining about 20 acres of restricted development land was advanced. A deposit was placed but the transaction was not completed. This was not God�s plan for us and the deposit was refunded. Over the intervening years, several other parcels of land became available but the Lord did not enable us to reach a purchase agreement on any of them. Throughout these years, however, God prompted many of His people to contribute to our building fund with the expectation that in His perfect time, God would provide land and facilities for His glory.
The ideal site for construction of the Hope Alliance Church building would be located on a major thoroughfare in Montgomery County somewhere between Germantown and Damascus. Some of the desirable characteristics that were sought included visibility, easy access, favorable topography for full utilization, utilities readily available (including water and sewer service), and a price that was reasonable for a young and growing congregation. Further, it was determined that the size of the site should be sufficient to support future growth of the ministry.
Early in 1998, a tract of land west of Route 27 between Germantown and Damascus at Kings Valley Road was being planned for development. The developer set aside the portion abutting Route 27 as a possible church site. Through God�s providence, we were able to purchase the tract of land which at one time had been a dairy farm owned and operated by the Watkins Family. A deposit was put on the land and closing was completed the following year. Financing was made available by the Mid-Atlantic District of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in the form of a two year loan.
The Building and Land Task Force presented the Caleb Project to the congregation in September of 1999. The goal established was to continue to meet the monthly payment requirements of the two year loan and accumulate sufficient funds for the final payment in May of 2001.
We celebrated Hope Alliance Church�s 10 Year Anniversary in March. We engaged Total Construction Services to prepare a Master Pan for the development of the Kings Valley Road Property and Macris, Hendricks & Glascock to prepare surveys, data, and maps in support of the Master Plan for developing the property.
A major step of faith took place in early 2001 with the addition of an assistant pastor to the staff. Brad Mock as Assistant Pastor had specific responsibilities for youth ministries and evangelism. This was considered strategic towards the growth of the congregation and outreach to the community. It was a step of faith because of the added commitment of resources. Once again, God prompted the congregation and friends of Hope Alliance Church to contribute generously. The required amount to pay off our 2 year loan was received by May of 2001 and the final payment was made without any further borrowing. Hope Alliance Church held a celebration on our property in July with the assistance of our sister Hispanic Church from Rockville who brought their worship band.
Hope Alliance Church held our first Vacation Bible School on our new property—24310 Kings Valley Road, Damascus, MD 20872—in June under our big white tent (in previous years we had been holding back yard bible clubs at various homes). We have continued holding VBS every year since then with the addition of several smaller tents and borrowed sheds.
It was around this time that we set up a pile of stones on the top of the hill on our land that had 2 significant words attached to it: �Rehoboth� which means �The Lord has made room for us� and �Ebenezer� which means �Thus far the Lord has been with us.� Later, around 2004, we set up the large cross which you can see on our property today. During 2003 Hope Alliance Church began the practice of meeting Sunday evenings for prayer at Salem United Methodist Church. This practice is still continuing. We hosted a combined Sunrise Service on our property in conjunction with Salem United Methodist Church and Christ Lutheran Church. We have continued participating in Sunrise Services with these 2 churches and on occasion Upper Seneca Baptist Church also, but have not hosted again since it can still be very cold at Easter and it is an advantage to have a building to use for part of the service. Some of our men went on a missions trip to Matamoros, Mexico in April this year, and we held a Family Fun Fest open to the community, on our property in September. This year our teen ministry, IMPACT, began meeting Wednesday evenings at Sally K. Ride Elementary School along with our AWANA program.
We said farewell this year to our Assistant Pastor Brad Mock and his wife Polly, and welcomed Pastor Mike and Rachael Williams to our staff as Youth Pastor. A group from Hope Alliance Church participated with Habitat for Humanity in a project in Baltimore, and have done so on several years since.
Our church office moved to 20308 Sunset Dr. in Damascus during this year as we continued to meet for services and activities at Sally K. Ride Elementary School. We conducted a Conversational English Class this year on Wednesday nights.
Pastor Nelson and his wife Bev took a trip to Macedonia to see the ministry of C&MA International Workers there, which resulted in a partnership with them and the Evangelical Church of Macedonia in 2007. In addition that same year, in an effort to enlarge our global vision and impact, a relationship of mutual encouragement was developed between Hope Alliance Church and the Evangelical Missionary Church, a Brazilian congregation in the area. In July we sent a group of twelve, mostly teens, to New Orleans, LA to help with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.
Hope Alliance Church began our Macedonian Partnership with a trip in July. A group of 13 men was organized and went over there and did construction work on a church building which will also house a seminary. Seven were from Hope Alliance Church, four from an Alliance Church in Pennsylvania and two from sister Hispanic Alliance Churches in the area. It was a life changing experience for those who went and for those who stayed home and prayed.
This year saw another change in our youth leadership, with Pastor Mike and Rachael Williams moving on and Peter and Kristen Franzen, a couple from the church who were youth sponsors, taking leadership of the youth ministry. During September and the first half of October we had the privilege of having the Hispanic Alliance Church from Rockville worship with us, while they were without meeting facilities. This more than doubled our congregation and made our services bilingual during this time. It was a wonderful experience.
This year, after several years of relative inactivity, our building program was re-initiated. In February we contracted with the engineering firm of O�Connell & Lawrence and in July we began a contract with Architectural Design Studios to do preliminary work on our property and building design. In October Pastor Nelson joined several other pastors on a trip to Macedonia to see and encourage the work being done on the church there.
In May Hope Alliance Church tried something new—the Community Give—on our property. It was like a yard sale, but we gave away the things we had gathered. Also in May two elders from our church were sent to Macedonia with gifts and encouragement from us to our partner church there. They visited in homes and prayed with several families. In the summer the couple leading our youth ministry moved out of the area and in December a call was extended to Greg Flanders, with his wife Heather, and was accepted, for the position of part-time Youth Pastor. Pastor Greg began his ministry with us in February 2011. In October our new website was launched: www.hopealliance.org. This year eleven from Hope Alliance Church participated in the Crop Walk at Damascus Recreational Park.
Hope Alliance Church continues to meet at Sally K. Ride Elementary School for its Sunday worship services, Sunday School, AWANA, IMPACT Youth and fellowship activities. However, in the month of June the congregation meets for Sunday Worship on the church property, outside, under our tent. Vacation Bible School is also held on the property in the month of June (in 2011 June 20-24 from 9am - 12 noon). Two other ministries that we participate in yearly are a Hospital Night in November when we gather supplies, package them and send them to Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, and the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child program. We have two men's and two women's Bible Studies that meet weekly. We are also part of the Adopt a Highway program with the State Highway Administration and take care of the stretch of Route 27 that is next to our property.