“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.”
~ Psalm 115:1~
Olive Freeman, a member of Oakland First Covenant Church and a fourth-grade teacher at Lazear Elementary School in Oakland, reached out to needy families among her students. This eventually led to the creation of Harbor House, a multi-service community development organization that continues to serve to this day in Oakland’s San Antonio Neighborhood.
FORMATIVE YEARS (1990s)
Some volunteers at Harbor House began collaborating with in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship members arriving in Oakland. They organized “New Hope East Oakland Fellowship” in 1996, which incorporated in 1998, and then affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination in 1999 to become "New Hope Covenant Church of Oakland". Outreach and ministry focused on neighborhood refugee families and youth.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT (2000s)
New Hope purchased and renovated the 2626 E.16th property in part from proceeds from the successful Oak Park Apartments lawsuit. The church started Little Sprouts Preschool. A vital core of New Hope members settled into the local neighborhood, including numerous homeowning families. Worship and fellowship followed a cell church model, with most Sundays spent in individual members’ homes. Then, in 2006, regular Sunday worship began at the Youth Employment Partnership site.
CHALLENGES AND CHANGES (2010s)
New Hope has responded to neighborhood needs and challenges with a tutoring ministry, outreach to unhoused neighbors, and connections with nearby parolees. We have also wrestled with responses to local and national politics and debates, including Black Lives Matter, the 2016 election, immigration issues, and sexuality issues. The current season is one of renewing a vision for our chuch and our neighborhood, seeking a fresh embrace of discipleship, community, compassion, and justice.