Clanton’s Liberty Hill commemorates 150 years with weekend celebrationcomment (0)
November 20, 2008
By Kimberly Wright
Liberty Hill Baptist Church, Clanton, in Chilton Baptist Association devoted a weekend in September to celebrating its 150th anniversary.
The celebration began Sept. 27 with a barbecue picnic and a time of sharing. Approximately 125 current and former members attended and shared experiences of growing up at Liberty Hill Baptist.
At the 9:45 a.m. worship service Sept. 28, past choir members and former ministers of music provided special music, as did the group The Samaritans. The church’s youth drama team, Truth and Dare, and the children’s handbell choir performed.
Roland Davis, who served as Liberty Hill’s pastor for 25 years (1979–2005), gave the morning message.
A covered-dish lunch followed and approximately 330 people attended. The church’s average worship attendance is about 500.
Kent Dodson, current pastor of Liberty Hill, called it “a day to celebrate 150 years of God’s faithfulness. We celebrated what God has been doing and what He continues to do.”
During the celebration, 91-year-old Myrtice Turner was honored for being the oldest living member of Liberty Hill.
She joined the church when she was 13 years old. She remembers growing up in the community and walking to church with her girlfriends.
“I’ve had sad times, and I’ve had good times. But Liberty Hill was always there for me,” Turner said.
Tina Deason, a 20-year member, said, “Our church has a reputation for being a loving church. It’s like one big, happy family, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.”
The exact date that Liberty Hill became a church is unknown, but it was chartered with 10 families. It is believed that the church was founded sometime prior to the 1850s. Records do indicate, however, that its Articles of Principles were drawn up Aug. 8, 1858.
For the first 15 years, members met in a one-room structure near what is now Mount Carmel Baptist Church No. 1 before a log structure was built six miles from Clanton to house the church.
In 1877, the church, now with 24 members, became affiliated with what was then Mulberry Baptist Association. At the time, services were held one Sunday a month and business meetings the Saturday before. Communion was observed once a quarter.
In 1896, a committee agreed to move the church to its current location on County Road 37 in Clanton, on property donated by Travis Headley. The one-room building with wooden benches and no windows was relocated to the site in time for the first service to be held Sept. 11, 1897.
In 1898, a one-and-a-half-acre plot was given by G.L. Foshee, a charter member, for a cemetery. And charter members Edgar and Olive Foshee Littlejohn later donated additional space.
By 1901, church membership had grown to 109, and Liberty Hill soon became part of Chilton Association.
It wasn’t until 1949 that the first pastorium existed, and it remained in use until it was sold and moved in 1965. Then in 1969, a new 1,700-square-foot pastorium was built.
In the late 1970s, the church voted to renovate the sanctuary into classrooms and build a new sanctuary, which was dedicated Easter 1982. The same sanctuary is still in use today.
Through the years, a family life center was built adjacent to the church property, the pastorium was sold and the fellowship hall was renovated into a two-story education building. Other building projects may occur in the future to support ministries of the church, allowing more growth and further outreach to the community.