About Liberty

OVERVIEW

Liberty United Methodist Church is a small church located in the Liberty City community in Macon County, Alabama, and was established in 1865.  The church building is located between Notasulga and Tallassee on Highway 14, and is only a few miles west of Auburn University, Alabama.  Our current Sunday morning worship service attendance averages between 70 and 90.



CHURCH HISTORY

Around 1860...
A small group of people organized a small Sunday School where the first meetings were held under a brush arbor located across the road from the present day church site.  Services were later held each Sunday in an old dwelling house that was also across the road from the present site (2nd meeting place).  Once a month Reverend Story, a preacher from Tuskegee, came over to Liberty and preached for the small group of people.
 
(1st picture) Example of what the brush arbor might have looked like;  (2nd picture) 100th church anniversary in 1965, reenacting the arbor and dress during that period.
       


On Sunday, July 23, 1865...
Liberty Methodist Church was organized.
When the church was first established, Sunday services occured only once every month.  Circuit riders were the primary preachers during this time.  A small building near the current building served as the first church building.  The 3rd meeting place was a "log house style church" construction with hand-hewn benches, which was the first church building that was built.  This church was located on the same side of the road as the present artifice... only much nearer to the road, and on the corner of the cemetery.

In 1899...
A second church was built (4th meeting place).  It was a wooden church building (also called an "old frame church").  Many church members contributed to both the labor and money for the construction.  A. T. Ware, a 13-year-old church member at the time, recalled carrying all the lumber used for the building from a saw mill at Lovelady Bridge, near Saugahattchee Creek in Tallapoosa County.
Reverend I. W. Chalker (1900 - 1903) was remembered riding his horse to the church during it's "all day singings".  After dismounting and ascending the steps, he would be singing as loud as those who were inside the building.

       


In 1949...
The third church building was build with red brick, and it still remains today (5th meeting place).  In the late 1900's, the glass front double doors were added and walk ramp with rails added.

(1st picture) The third building erected, in 1949;  (2nd picture) This new brick building adjacent to the previous wooden building...
       


In 2003...
A new addition was added in back of the church.  This structure included Sunday School classrooms, a fellowship hall, new pastor's study, a stage, storage rooms, and a sitting room in memory of Mary Willie Thompson King.

       


In 2006...
Multiple improvements were made to the building.  A new addition in the front of the church was added, which changed the looks of the church.  This included a new pastor's study, men's and women's bathrooms, an audio sound room, and a center foyer.  Outside, a new porch, steps, and walk ramp were added.  Additionally, the parking lot was resurfaced, a new circle drive was added in front, a new steeple was added, and a new church sign was added.

       



TIME CAPSULE

On December 18, 1949...
A time capsule was placed and sealed behind a mable marker on the right side in front of the church. 
 
On June 26, 2006...
The capsule was found while in process of knocking down the front entrance to enlarge the church.  Tommy Earl King found the flat metal box in the hole behind the cornerstone.  It contained the following items from 1949: list of church ministers inside an envelope (from Mrs. Mattie Ware), a letter about the history of Liberty Methodist Church (by Mrs. H.W. "Bessie" Laney), Alabama Advocate newspaper, Methodist "Book of Disciplining", a Bible, worship hymnal, and "Journal of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Church". 
The event was televised on site at the church on the WSFA Montgomery evening news at 6:00 and 10:00.  They interviewed Tim Brannon (the new pastor at the time), Mrs. Mary Ella Slay Grigsby (church historian), and Mrs. Wilmer Hood (church member).  Tommy Earl King, his son Richard King, Donovan Freeman (Tommy's grandson), and Jerry Matthew Hughes (grandson of James Albert Hughes) were filmed while working to break the bricks and clear the front entrance.




 


MINISTERS LIST
 
Minister Name Years of Service   Minister Name Years of Service
Thomas W. White 1865-66   Driftwood Hayne Rucker 1951-55
Lewis Flournoy Dowdell 1866-68 (served 3 times)   U.L. Martin 1955-59
William Burney Neal 1868-70 (served twice)   Parks Ward Jordan 1959-60
Robert Eugene Carey 1870-71   David Richard White 1960-62
Lewis Flournoy Dowdell 1871-74    Corydon E. "Cory" Friedrich 1962-64
William Burney Neal 1874-76   James Ford 1964
Morgan Clower Turrentine 1876-77   Samuel Franklin Lowery June 1964
Lewis Flournoy Dowdell 1877-78   Glenn Galtier 1964-65
David C. Crook 1878-79   John A. Bland 1965-68
Walter Phelan Dickinson 1879-81   Douglas Lamar Golden 1969-72
Hugh McLeod Gillis 1881-84 (served twice)   Michael C. "Mike" Robinson 1972-75
John Roberts Peavey 1884-88   J. Richard Holmes 1975-77
Andrew Jackson Cousins 1888-92   C. D. Monday 1977-82
Charles Andrew Rush 1892-93   Stephen G. "Steve" Mann 1982-84
George Peter Cosby Fontaine 1893-97   David J. Stutz 1984-86
Hugh McLeod Gillis 1897-1900   E. Glenn Greenhill 1986-89
I. W. Chalker 1900-03   Glen H. Smith 1989-90
Thomas Paine Fincher 1903-07   Oliver S. Mize 1991-92
Charles Wesley Northcutt 1907-08   Brian R. Healy 1993
Robert Ross Ellison 1908-09   Norman Glynn Williams, Sr. 1994-95
Caleb Bates 1909-12   Jack Phillip Davis 1996-97
John David Kersh 1912-13   U. L. "Buck" Ratcliff 1998-2000
H. W. Rice 1913-14   Molly Ann Estes Fulford 2001-06
Joseph Oliver Lawrence 1914-15   Timothy G. "Tim" Brannon 2006-10
John Clark Martin 1915-17   Fred Grady 2010-11
Francis Gilmer "Frank" Hastings 1917-22   Ryan Martin 2011-16
Jessie Paschel Peacock 1922-24   Benjamin "Chip" Oakley 2016-17
A. C. Lee 1924-26   Tommy "Tom" Skeen 2017-
George G. Vickers 1926-28      
Henry L. Tate 1928-32      
James Ray Hudgens 1932-38      
E. A. Howell 1938-39      
Braxton Moss Herlong 1939-40      
Marion Clyde "Si" Mathison 1940-45      
Henry Frank Chunn 1945-48      
Hubert E. McCrary 1948-49      
Walter H. Bozeman 1949-51      



CHURCH NAMES

Liberty United Methodist Church (1968-current)
Denomination - The United Methodist Church (est. 1968)
Alabama-West Florida Conference (est. 1956)
Montgomery-Opelika District

 
Liberty Methodist Church (1939-1968)
 
Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1881-1939)
 
Liberty Chapel (1880)
 

CONFERENCE HISTORY

Even before Alabama became the twenty-second state to join the Union on December 14, 1819, circuit riders were appointed to the Tombigbee Circuit. In 1808 Rev. Matthew Sturdivant was appointed from the South Carolina Conference.   In 1812 pastoral appointments to Alabama were made from the Tennessee Conference. From 1813 through 1831 appointments were made from the Mississippi Conference. In 1832 the Alabama Conference was organized. The conference was directed by four “Elders” one for each of the districts.

From 1809-1829...
All churches were in The Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1829 there was a split in the church because some members did not like having bishops, and the Alabama Conference of The Methodist Protestant Church was organized. In 1845 there was another split over the issue of slavery and the Alabama Conference of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South was organized. The Mobile and Montgomery Conferences replaced the Alabama Conference from 1864-1869. The churches might be in The Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Protestant Church, or The Methodist Episcopal Church, South within the two conferences. In 1870 the Alabama Conference and the North Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South were organized. 

In 1939...
The Methodist Church was organized on a national level from the merger of the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and the Methodist Episcopal, South churches. Also the Jurisdictional system was organized. Five jurisdictions were organized according to geographical regions of the country. The Central Jurisdiction was organized to include all of the black churches regardless of geographical location. Therefore, in Alabama there were three conferences – the Alabama Conference, the North Alabama Conference, and the Central Alabama Conference. With the merger of the three branches in 1939, all churches (Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Methodist Episcopal, South) in Alabama were in The Methodist Church.

In 1956...
The Alabama Conference changed its name to the Alabama-West Florida Conference. However, only one Bishop was elected from the Southeastern Jurisdiction for both the North Alabama Conference and the Alabama-West Florida Conference.  With the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren in 1968, all churches are now in The United Methodist Church. This same year the Central Alabama Conference was abolished and the North Alabama and Alabama-West Florida Conferences were reorganized to include the black churches with the geographical boundaries of the respective conference. The two conferences continued to share one Bishop until 1988 when Bishop Charles Hancock was appointed to the Alabama-West Florida Conference (Episcopal Area).