Mount Hope Church had its beginning in 1925. That year, Joe Kerekes of Detroit, Michigan, received a word from the Lord to quit his job and move to Lansing, Michigan, to witness to a man named James Nemeth. When James asked Joe Kerekes, “How long are you staying?” Joe replied, “Until you are saved.”
After James Nemeth was led to the Lord, he started holding meetings in people’s homes. His focus was on the population of Hungarian immigrants in the Lansing area. His goal was that every family of Hungarian descent in the city would be saved. That goal was met through fasting, prayer, and Bible studies almost every night.
After 1928, for nearly ten years, the church met in a rented hall above a store on Cedar Street. The church grew to a total of about 80 people.
In 1936, Pastor Nemeth decided it was time to build. He mortgaged his family farm for $1,000 and purchased a lot on the corner of Mt. Hope Avenue and Rundle Avenue. Initially, they met in the basement, but after a few years more, floors were added and the church was completed. It still stands today at 725 W. Mt. Hope Avenue.
At that time, the church was officially named Mt. Hope Assembly of God and received a new pastor, Sister Elsie Petro. Sister Petro’s ministry as pastor spanned over 10 years. After her retirement, a temporary pastor, Brother Good, was appointed for one year. Eventually, Carl Graves, a retired missionary to Ceylon, was voted in by the congregation and stayed for 12 years. During this time, Mt. Hope Assembly’s first daughter church was started, Calvary Assembly of God in Lansing. After Pastor Graves retired, Pastor Roy Davidson led the church for six years until his retirement.
Glenn Snook was then elected to the position of pastor in 1976. His vision for Mt. Hope Assembly included a new and bigger building. Land was purchased at 4415 W. St. Joseph Highway. The new structure seated 500 people in the sanctuary with classrooms, office space, a youth chapel, and a multi-purpose room. At this time, the church was officially renamed Mount Hope Assembly of God. Under Pastor Snook’s leadership, the church continued to grow. In 1981, Pastor Snook announced the completion of his 5-year plan for the church and served his intention to retire.
The search for a new pastor began. Week after week candidates were interviewed for the position, but none seemed right for the job. One Sunday, when no guest speaker was scheduled, the youth pastor, Dave Williams, was asked to speak. After that service, the church Board of Directors knew their search was over.
In 1981, Dave Williams was elected as senior pastor of Mount Hope Assembly of God. Under his leadership, the church experienced exponential growth. Soon, three Sunday morning services were needed to accommodate everyone. Once again, the church needed more room.
Forty-three acres of land were purchased at the intersection of Creyts Road and Michigan Avenue, and in 1987, Phase 1 of the new building was completed. At this time, the official name was changed to Mount Hope Church. Under Pastor Dave Williams’ anointed teaching and God-given vision, the church continued to flourish and expand with the addition of Phase 2 in 1995, which included the Garden Prayer Chapel, and expanded Children’s and Youth facilities. Then in 2003, the opening of Gilead Healing Center was celebrated. And the only modern Valley of Blessing was completed in 2010.
Other expansion included several new Mount Hope Churches in Michigan and hundreds in Africa and Asia. The multiplication is too rapid to have an accurate number! Also during Pastor Dave’s tenure, the generous believers of Mount Hope Church gave over $40,000,000 to world missions.
Another pivotal chapter in the story of Mount Hope Church began on February 9, 2012 when, after 30 years of shepherding the Mount Hope Church flock, Pastor Dave Williams passed the mantle to Pastor Kevin Berry. Taking on the role of Bishop and Ambassador, Dave and his wife Mary Jo, remain a very important part of the Mount Hope Church family.
Pastor Kevin Berry has attended Mount Hope Church his entire life. In 1989, he became the assistant to the Youth Minister of Mount Hope Church and then served as Youth Minister from 1993-2007. He then served Pastor Dave Williams as the Executive Team Leader, overseeing the pastoral staff and departmental leaders of Mount Hope for five years before being appointed as Pastor.
Therefore, Mount Hope Church has a rich heritage of godly leadership and prayer. While in Washington D.C. in 2011, Pastor Kevin saw this inscribed on the national archives building: “The heritage of our past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.” Right there, he burst forth in praise, thanking God for our rich heritage and for the great future He has for Mount Hope Church.
The Best Is Yet To Come
Under Pastor Kevin’s leadership, Mount Hope Church is filled with expectation for divine acceleration, advancement, and becoming 1,000 times more!
From its small beginnings as a ministry outreach to Hungarian immigrants, Mount Hope Church has become a very effective tool of evangelism—not only locally but also to the world. Mount Hope Church is over 80 years old… and counting… but our days ahead are sure to be the brightest yet!