The Newnan Times-Herald


Liberty Christian celebrating 170th anniversary

  • By Winston Skinner
  • |
  • Sep. 21, 2017 - 10:09 PM

Liberty Christian celebrating 170th anniversary

Submitted photos

The current meetinghouse of Liberty Christian Church was built in 1900, but the congregation is 170 years old and will soon celebrate that milestone.

Liberty Christian Church, 948 Macedonia Road, will celebrate its 170th Birthday on Oct. 1.

Liberty Christian Church is a Disciples of Christ church, and its founders established the church in 1847. The denomination is dedicated to the basic principles of religious freedom and Christian unity.

The 170th Anniversary Celebration will begin at 11 a.m., and a covered dish luncheon will be served immediately following the worship service.

Later in the afternoon, those who wish to share memories and reminisce will be

invited to the sanctuary to speak.

The keynote speaker at the morning worship service is Rev. Winston Skinner, Newnan historian and news editor of The Newnan Times-Herald. To commemorate this special day, previous ministers will be sharing their recollections of the church.

Dr. Burdette Wantland, the “interim” pastor, began his association at the church in 1969. Wantland is still considered interim status, as he never formally signed a contract as the permanent minister. He served as minister more than 40 years, and he will share of his love and devotion to this church and its congregation.

He was awarded the position of Minister Emeritus in honor of his service to Liberty.

Dr. Milton West, who will also speak, pastored the congregation from 2011-2013, as will Anita Renahan-White of Decatur, the current minister. Renahan-White has ministered to the congregation of Liberty Christian Church since July 2013.

On Oct. 20, 2013, she accepted the call to become the permanent minister. She was ordained to the Christian Ministry in May 2012 at First Christian Church of Decatur (Disciples of Christ).

In addition to serving as Liberty’s minister, she is a staff chaplain for the Gwinnett Medical Center.

Invitations were mailed to past members and friends of the church. An invitation from the church is extended to everyone in the community and beyond, “to help us remember our past and celebrate our future.”

Liberty Christian Church was organized in Coweta County in 1847 by the Rev. John Smith. It is believed that this congregation is the third oldest church affiliated with the Disciples of Christ in Georgia.

This historic church dates back almost to the very beginnings of the Disciples of Christ.

Charter members had the surnames Lenderman, Dyer, Smith, Nix, and Hyde. Descendants of these pioneer families are still on the roll of the church today.

In 1863, Henry Lumsden Hyde gave the church two acres including the land where the church cemetery is located. The first building was erected in 1854.

The old homeplace of Henry and Marthalyn Benton Hyde was a quarter

mile down the road from the church, at present day is 1115 Macedonia Road,

and was in existence until 1978. The current homes of members of the Helton

families on Macedonia Road are where the old homeplace once stood along with

adjoining land.

As the church grew, the Hayes family was also instrumental in the

growth of the church.

In 1900, the present building was erected, and it was dedicated in 1903. It was moved back from the road in 1949, and Sunday School rooms were constructed in the newly formed basement.

Current Liberty Christian member, Kenneth Helton, recalls that day, which included the use of a horse named Roaney, belonging to his grandfather, Daddy Tom Hyde, to move the building to its present location. Some remodeling has occurred over the years, including adding a porch, carpeting, a baptistery, a handicap ramp, central air and stained glass

windows. JeNeill Sewell, the oldest living member of the church, donated a grand

piano for the enjoyment of the congregation.

Current staff members in addition to Renahan-White are Jimmy Walker, worship leader, and Mary Jane Miles, music director.