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Our Church History

Liberty Missionary Baptist Church 1869-

The Liberty Baptist Church was organized between the years 1869 and 1870 by a group of pioneer settlers who were living in the farming village of Siluria. The worship meetings were held each Wednesday, and Sunday School was held every Sunday morning. They met for a long time in a brush harbor built structure.

          The first church building sat next to the mountain beside the main road, one block past the first traffic light in Siluria.

          It was decided by the mission that: the church shall be known as the Liberty Missionary Baptist Church; the purpose is to promote the cause of Christ; promote intelligence and happiness in the homes; establish Christ's Kingdom in the hearts of men and women; and to support the work of the mission in the community, state, and abroad.

          In the 1890's the farming land was sold, and the little town became a cotton mill village. In those days, the light of the gospel of the Son of God was not shining as it is today. For many of the settlers in those days could not read or write. They were a people that believed in God, somehow they seemed to have had a mind of God with a vision to work, with God as their guide.

          So this band of people moved out of Siluria and began to settle on more farming land in Byersville, Keystone, and Scottrock. The officers met and held a meeting with the members that were living in the above communities to seek out a place for worship. They purchased one and one-half acres of land at the present site of the church. A deed was obtained in December 1900. The names of Lee Byers, Aaron McCellan and Allen Shorts were on the deed. Lee Byers, and Aaron McCellan were deacons, and Allen Shorts was the Church Clerk.  Rev. Price Fancher of Calera, Alabama was the pastor and had been for a long time.

          The church was built, and the first cornerstone was laid in July 1906. The names on the cornerstone were Lee Byers, Aaron McCellan, Allen Shorts, Will Tannehill, Richard Hudson, Treasurer, Lewis Hudson, P. W. Harris, and Oliver Oden; all of whom were deacons. Some of the faithful brothers were Will Lacey, George Richards, Reuben Walker, and Brit Nabors, caretaker of the Cemetery, Some of the faithful women of that day were Sisters Peggy McCellan, Cancis Hudson, Polly Ann Hudson, Georgia Ann Richardson, Francis Smith Fancher, Susie Nabors, and Mattie Walker.

          Rev. R. Fancher resigned as pastor shortly after the laying of the cornerstone. The church then made choice and called Rev. Lucius Jones as pastor, and Rev. Lee Jones assistant pastor. The Rev. Jones remained with the church for about one and one-half years and resigned. The church then called the Rev. T. Troutman who served a little better than one and one-half years. The Rev. Houston Lanier of West Blocton, a missionary of theShelby Springs Baptist Association, came and held services for the church. He was elected pastor in July 1909. Under his administration the following deacons were ordained: Brothers Sam Watkins, Mark Lee, John Watley, and John Wooley, Sr. Some of the faithful women of the church at that time were Sister L. R. Byers, Lillie J. Watts Alexander, Georgia Welch, Laura Watkins, Hattie Wooley, Hattie Bunkley, Nettie Kirkland, Ida Strickland, Annie White, Ardell Oden, Daisy Jackson, and Hattie Stewart.

          The first church building was torn down, and another building was erected in 1925. After the new building was erected and since there was no educational facilities, accessible to Blacks during this time, the Liberty Baptist Church building functioned as a school three months out of the year. On May 19, 1932, Bro. Clint Jackson and Bro. George L. Bunkley were ordained as Deacons of the Liberty Baptist Church. Rev. H. W. Tolbert, Sr. was ordained a minister from a licensed preacher.

          In the years 1941-42, the Sunday School Annex was added to the building, new pews were bought, and a pool was erected on the outside of the building for baptismal. The following deacons were added to the board: Bro. J. E. Moncrief, J. Ceasar Hansard, and Bro. Monroe Carlton. The cornerstone to the new building was laid August 1943. The secretaries and clerks serving under Rev. Lanier's leadership were Sis. Dyke Chatman, Sis.Alberta Thompson, Bro. John Wooley, Sr., and Sis Daisy Jackson. During the administration of Rev. Lanier and because of some discord among the members, a few members decided to part with Liberty Baptist Church. These members banded together to form a new church, which they called Freewill Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Lanier served the church faithfully 37 years during which time many souls were saved and added to the church. The services were held on the third Sunday in each month. Rev. Lanier died February 15, 1946.

          The church then gave the call to Rev. Thomas D. Wesley of Centreville, Alabama, and regular church services were held twice a month. Under Rev. Wesley's leadership, the basement was added, but not completed. Some improvements on the grounds were made. The following were ordained as deacons: Brothers George Swift, L. G. Griffin, Rufus Vison, John Wooley, Jr. ,Bro. Nathaniel Davis and Ezell Jones. At this time a new member from Harpersville, Bro. Jackson Cohill, Sr., was added to the board along with Bro. Grady Brown. Bro. Charlie Nabors was one of our faithful workers serving as both an usher and as a ward leader. Bro. Cleve Tolbert, coming from the A.M.E. Church, was later added to the Board of Deacons. Bro. Nathaniel Davis served faithfully as Sunday school superintendent. Rev. Wesley served the church for eleven years. He resigned in November 1958.

          The church then made choice and called Rev. Silar Moncrief in May of 1959. The church continued to progress under Rev. Moncrief's leadership. The sanctuary was remodeled, and bricks were added to the outside of the building. This greatly improved the appearance of the church. Brother Willie B. Arrington, Pellum Moncrief, Jr., John Arrington, and Harvey Threatt were ordained as deacons. On October 4, 1964, Brother Williams L. Kemp, the Sunday School Superintendent, and Willie L. Cunningham were set aside to become deacons. Rev. Moncrief accepted the call from another church inMontgomery and resigned as pastor after serving for five years.

          The ordination services for Bro. Kemp and Bro. Cunningham took place at the Mt.Olive Baptist Church with Rev. H. H. Hall, Pastor and Moderator in charge. Assisting with the services were Rev. H. J. Jones, Rev. R W. Mays, and Rev. S. E. Kidd. Rev. George Robinson passed from a licensed minister to and ordained minister at the same services.

          On the first Sunday in December, 1964; Rev. B. E. McKinney accepted the call as pastor of the church. All the unfinished work on the church building was completed. This provided more space for Sunday School classes, and restrooms were added. The church continued to grow spiritually and financially under Rev. McKinney's leadership. Bro. James Parker coming from Maplesville was added to the board of deacons. After much training and individual teaching by Pastor McKinney, Brothers Lee Byers Harris, Joseph Lee Lewis, Willie James Green, Sr., and James A. Cohill, Sr. were ordained deacons of the church on July 4, 1971. Bro. Bobby Harris united with the Liberty Baptist Church and was later ordained a minister. Rev. McKinney resigned on July 18,1971 and accepted the call form a church in Talladega.

          The church then made choice and elected Rev. Horace L. Patterson of Bessemer as pastor. He was a faithful, energetic young leader. The church began to have services every Sunday. Under Rev. Patterson's leadership much progress was made. The fellowship building was built, but not completed. A young brother of the church, Bro. Wille J. Nathan was ordained a deacon. A few months later he accepted the call from heaven to preach the gospel, at which time he was given license to preach. Rev. Patterson resigned to accept the call from a church in Talladega in June of 1974. He served as leader for three and one-half years.

          The Liberty Baptist Church, after much praying and asking the Lord's guidance, made choice and called Rev. Grady C. Kelley originally from Harpersville, but more recently returning from Gary, Indiana in September, 1974. Bro. Frank Keith was added to the Broad of Deacons. The church prospered spiritually and financially under his leadership. Many souls were saved and added to the church. The fellowship hall was completed with a nice kitchen and dining room, and additional space for other church work was now available. The church installed central heating and cooling units for summer and winter comfort. A bus was purchased for transporting members.

          Under Rev. Kelley's administration, Rev. Donald Taylor received his call from heaven to preach the gospel, and was licensed and ordained by the church for ministry. Bro. PaulCohill, Sr. a new member from Freewill Baptist Church was added to the Board of Deacons. Rev. Kelley resigned in June of 1977.

          The church then called Rev. W. L. Martin to serve as shepherd of the flock. Much progress was made under Rev. Martin's administration. Renovation of the sanctuary was begun in 1978 and completed in 1978. This renovation included purchasing new pews, installing carpet and new windows, and making other minor repairs that were needed. The appearance of the sanctuary was greatly improved. Two buses were purchased. Bro. Verner Lewis from Dallas, Texas was added to the Board of Deacons in July of 1979. Being a dedicated humble young man, he brought much inspiration to the membership. In 1980 we published our first souvenir book as a memorial for the future.

          In 1983, Bro. Lewis Stoudimire, received a call from heaven to preach the gospel. He preached his first sermon on May 1, 1983 and continued to be a source of inspiration for the membership.

          On October 20,1983, Bro. Orange Lewis, another new member announced his call from God to preach the gospel. On December 18, 1983, Bro. James Marcus united with theLiberty Missionary Baptist Church and was added to the Board of Deacons.

          Major projects for the church in 1984 were paving the parking area around the church, and purchasing a copy machine for printing programs.

          On December 8, 1985, Dr. Richard Holmes, a native of Mississippi united with the church and was added to the Board of Trustees. Bro. Clifford Murray was set aside to become an ordained deacon. Rev. Martin served as pastor of the church for nine years.

          After much praying, meditating, and humbly submitting our request for a leader to God, our prayers were answered. On June 1, 1986, the church made choice and called Rev. S. W. Kindall of Birmingham as pastor. Within the short time of his leadership much progress was made. The church prospered both spiritually and financially. A major project was completed with great success.

          On August 17, 1986, Bro. Clifford Murray was ordained as a Deacon and Rev. Lewis Stoudimire was ordained and licensed by the church for the ministry. Bro. Kenneth Crowder and Bro. Joshua Lee united with the church on August 3, 1986 and were added to the Board of Trustees.

          In 1987, we purchased a new piano, Sr. Choir robes, and a marquee. We also started project SHARE. This program would allow us to help the less fortunate of our community through food donations.

          Bro. Leamon O'Neal announced his call to the ministry on April 17, 1987 and preached his initial sermon on April 24, 1987. Rev. S. W. Kindall resigned as pastor of the church on August 30, 1987.

          Rev H. S. Davis was called as pastor on March 6, 1988. He served as pastor for 1 1/2 years and resigned on July 16, 1989.

          The ordination services of the Rev. Leamon O'Neal were held on September 17, 1989 at the Liberty Baptist Church with the Rev. R. L. White in charge. Assisting in the ordination services were Rev. Albert, Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Almont, Alabama, Rev. Lewis Stoudimire, Pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama; and the Rev. Van C. Houser, Pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church, Jemison, Alabama.

          Being led as we believed by the Spirit, the church called Rev. Van C. Houser to pastor the church on October 8, 1989. He assumed his responsibilities as pastor of LibertyMissionary Baptist Church in November 1989.

          Under Rev. Houser's leadership along with the assistance of Liberty MissionaryBaptist Church family and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Lord has allowed many things to be accomplished. In 1990 the church purchased a set of drums. The membership enrollment was revised and updated.

          The board of trustees was revised and Bro. Robert Tolbert was renamed as chairman of the trustees. The members consisted of Bro. Willie Jenkins, Sis. Mayo Taylor, Sis. Susie Warren, Bro. Willie O'Neal, Bro. Troy Williams, Bro. Paul Calhoun, and Bro. Ocie Allen. In January 1993, Bro. Eric Marcus, Bro. John Adams, and Bro. Richard Holmes were ordained, as deacons. Later that same year Bro. Rodney King, Bro. Ronnie Brooks and Bro. Danny Williams were added to the trustee board.

          The church organizational structure was revised and included the adoption of a constitution and bylaws. An annual budgeting system was administered by the financial department which included procedures in compliance with IRS tax laws.  This resulted in reporting employee's yearly compensation. Under the leadership of Rev. Houser and with his faithfulness to the Lord, the church finances and membership grew tremendously. In 1993 a new PA system was installed. The church purchased a riding lawn mower and replaced one air conditioning unit.

          In November 1993 the already established Liberty Missionary Baptist Churchscholarship fund was renamed in honor of the chairman of the Deacon Board. It was named the George L. Bunkley Scholarship Fund. As the Lord has blessed LibertyMissionary Baptist Church to be financially able, many scholarships have been awarded.

          In 1994 Rev. W.L. Williams of Mobile, Alabama joined the Liberty family as an associate minister and served faithfully until his death in 1995.

          In 1994 the church acquired a new computer, a copier, and redecorated the pastor's study. Bro. Rodney King was appointed by Rev. Houser as the Director of Finances.

          As the church progressed under the untiring leadership of Rev. Houser, the music department was expanded. In addition to the drums an organist and music director were hired, a saxophonist was added later.

          By vote of the church members, the church purchased an automobile for Pastor Houser as a 5th Anniversary present in March 1995.

          The Lord continued to bless the church and several preachers had joined the Libertyfamily. In March 1995, Bro. Lorenzo D. Taylor, a family member, announced his call from God to preach the Holy word. His initial sermon was preached on April 5, 1995. Rev. Marvin Ford, Rev. Darrell Gonzales, and Rev. Glen Monroe had also joined the Libertyfamily and served in the Houser administration with much fire for handling God's business. Under the direction of Rev. Houser and with the desires of the church and the Holy Spirit in mind, Rev. Ford and Rev. Gonzales were ordained  by the church for the ministry. The ordination services were held on January 21,1996. The ordination committee consisted of the following ministers, Rev. Albert Jones, Rev. Earnest Nix, Rev. Larry Coleman and Rev. R.W. Davis. Rev Gonzales was later named  Christian Education Director.

          Later that year Bro. Elijah Nelson, Sis. Elaine Johnson, Bro. Lennell Honer, Bro. Phil Hill, Bro. Greg Marcus and Bro. Sonny Willis were added to the board of trustees. LBC also installed a heating and cooling unit in the fellowship hall.

          With still continued blessings from the Lord and a clear vision of Pastor Houser's the church began to focus on mission and ministry, and a mission statement was adopted.

          The mission statement was voted on and accepted by the church body. Copies were framed and placed in four locations in the sanctuary. The church continued to enhance and develop church ministries such as the Deacon's Family Ministry, Senior Citizen's Ministry, Children's Ministry, Youth Ministry, Singles' Ministry, Couples Ministry and the publication of a monthly newsletter, The Liberty News.

          Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and as it was voted on by the church members some years earlier, plans were put into action for building a new sanctuary. With much prayer and help from our Lord and Savior, on June 23, 1996 a ground breaking ceremony was held and the building was begun. Several Alabaster city officials were present as well as the news media.

          Deacon Eric Marcus assumed the responsibility of the building project previously headed by Bro. Ronnie Brooks. A new roof was added to the old sanctuary and the fellowship hall.

          In church conferences on November 4, 1996 the church members voted as they were directed by the Holy Spirit to make Rev. Houser a full time pastor. As the Lord answers all prayers of sincerity, full time pastoralship will come to pass.

          1996 marked 127 years for the Liberty Missionary Baptist Church and as the church continues to rely on the help of Jesus Christ, the praising of his name, believing in his word and by believing the church motto: " I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."

            In August, 1996 Bro. Rodney King was set aside to become a deacon. Shortly afterwards, Rev Marvin Ford accepted a called by Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, in Brent,Alabama to become their pastor.

            In January, 1997 Bro. Rodney King was ordained as a deacon of Liberty Baptist. He was formerly a trustee and financial director. Bro. Sonny Willis became financial director. Later that year instrumentalists was added to the LBC Music Ministry.

            On February 9, 1997 marked a historic event. The Liberty Baptist Churchcongregation proudly dedicated their new sanctuary. It was a long-awaited event, but with the help of the Lord, the doors were opened and on that Sunday more than 1000 people worshipped with the Liberty family during the morning and evening services.. Many of the Alabaster city officials were present for this grand occasion.

            Later, in March 1997,  Bro. Darryl Johnson announced his calling to preach and his first sermon was held in April of 1997. In May of 1997 Sis. Mattie Kinard was licensed by LBC as an evangelist.  Later on in November 1997 the pews and windows purchased by several families of Liberty were dedicated. Also in November the cornerstone was placed on the new building. In December 1997 Deacon Rodney King replaced Rev. Gonzales as Christian Education Director after Rev Gonzales submitted his resignation. The next year, Rev. Gonzales was called by Mt. Calvary Baptist Church to become their pastor.

            In June, 1997 the LBC Summer Camp was opened. The organizers were Mrs. Wanda King, Mrs. Felicia Johnson, Mrs. Joann Parker, and Mrs. Patricia Berry.  The camp opened with 30 children. Also LBC purchased  a cassette duplicating machine. Under the leadership of Bro. Philip Hill, the LBC Audio & Video Ministry was organized.

           In January 1998 Rev. Allen Moore joined as an associated minister and preached his first sermon as a member of Liberty in March, 1998. Later in 1998. Four deacons were added to the LBC Deacon Board. They were Ossie Blackmon, Kenneth Shaw, Greg Holman, and John Powell. Later LBC produced the first picture membership directory. Also in 1998 the Personnel Ministry was created, producing a personnel manual for LBC. Also the church employed its first cemetery caretaker.

               1999 was a landmark year for Liberty Baptist Church. Under the leadership of the Chairman of Trustees, Bro. Robert Tolbert, Co-Chairman of Trustees Bro. Lenell Honer, with resources and abilities of Mr. Kenneth Potter, and with a few other dedicated men of Liberty, the old sanctuary and fellowship hall were renovated to help meet the standards for our LBC Daycare Center. In August of that same year, the Liberty Baptist ChurchDaycare Center was established and opened with an enrollment of ten children. The Director of the Daycare Center was Mrs. Connie Holman and the Board of Directors were Rev. Van Houser,  Mrs. Elaine Johnson, Dr. Judy Holmes, Mrs. Lois Lewis, Mrs. Venetia Amos, Mr. Lesley Smitherman, and Mr. Alfred Perkins.  Other events highlighted 1999 includes Drama Ministry, Step Teams, Flag Corps, Praise Dancers, Discipleship Ministry, and Prayer Partners.

          In June, 1999 Dezerick Kirkland preached his first sermon and LBC. In September, 1999 Mrs. Barbara Toomer preached her first sermon. Both were licensed to preach the Gospel.

        In June 2000, Rev. Edmund Solomon joined the LBC family. He preached his trial

sermon in Albany, Georgia. He later was chosen to head the Evangelism Ministry.

       In November of 2000 Rev. Brenda Clarke joined Liberty Baptist Church as a minister along with her father Deacon Isaac Massey, who was added the Deacons Ministry at LBC. Deacon Massey was previous ordained. Rev. Clarke preached her first sermon at Liberty in December, 2000.

          In January 2001 the following new positions were added: The Congregational Care Ministry was added to the Pastoral Staff. The Director and Co-Director of this new

Department are Deacon Joseph Lewis and Deacon Eric Marcus, formerly the Chairman and Co-Chairman respectively of the Deacon Board. The following Committees are part of the Congregational Care Ministry: The Benevolent Committee, the Flower Committee, the Deacon Board, the Kitchen Committee, and the Pastor’s Aid. Deacon Rodney King was chosen to be the Chairman of the Deacons and Deacon Kenneth Shaw was chosen to be the Co-Chairman of the Deacons. Bro. Lenell Honer and Bro. Greg Marcus were chosen to be the Chairman and Co-Chairman respectively of another new department: The Church Facilities Department. This department has the Trustees, the Cemetery Care, Church Custodian under its oversight. Also, 2001 brought renovations to the kitchen, day care, and fellowship hall.

       In September 2001, Bro. Kenneth McGrue was appointed the new Director of Finances for Liberty Baptist, replacing Sis. Elaine Johnson, who re-located to Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(updated 2001)

 


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