A Long History
Hope Township is one of the earliest planned communities in the United States, having been established by German Moravians in 1769. They knew what they wanted to achieve, evident on several early planning maps, which detail streets, homes, wells, businesses, farms, a school, tavern and church. After a formal survey of the Village completed on November 26, 1774, the community was officially accepted by The Moravian Church and the name was changed from Greenland to Hope on February 8, 1775, by drawing lots. After almost 40 years of the Moravian “experiment” in Hope, the community was sold and almost all of the Moravians migrated to Bethlehem or Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Methodism in our community dates from 1785, the accepted date of origin of the Union Methodist Church. Francis Asbury first visited this part of New Jersey in 1786; pioneer preaching was first done near the site of Union Cemetery just North of 1-80. Land for a church and cemetery was donated and a meeting house was constructed in 1810. Prior to this, the people of Methodist faith traveled approximately two miles from Hope to Union Church to worship. In 1831, there was a sufficient number of people from the Hope area to establish a church in the town. St. John's church was officially dedicated in 1832. For a detailed church history, please download A History of St. John's Church We proudly celebrated our 175th anniversary in 2007.