Liberty Christian Church 170th Anniversary Celebration

By Glenna With

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, Liberty Christian Church in Newnan, GA, celebrated its 170th Anniversary.  The worship experience featured special music, keynote speakers, and words of remembrance and reminisces from various members and friends of the church.  Rev. Denise Bell, blessed the church, and helped to share the joy of the occasion.  A covered dish luncheon was served following the service.  Over one hundred and twenty people attended the event, and each adult was given a commemorative mug and church history booklet.

Rev. Anita Renahan-White is the current minister, and Worship Director, Jimmy Walker led the congregation in hymns.  Music Director, Mary Jane Miles, led the choir in a special Pepper Choplin anthem, “Within These Walls,” and Beth Walker was on the piano.  Minister Emeritus, Dr. Rev. Burdett Wantland was able to attend, and his emotional witness was enjoyed by all.
A large tent was used to seat the guests, and the church was decorated in fall floral displays.  Liberty Christian Church is the third oldest Disciples of Christ Church in Georgia.

Sermon Highlights

Rev. Winston Skinner, local news editor and minister graced Liberty Christian Church with a message of hope, celebration, and grace that commemorated the 170th Church Anniversary of LCC.  He based his sermon on the follow poem by E. E. Cummings and the Mother Goose rhyme, “To Market”.

i am a little church
by E. E. Cummings

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

This celebration is a day for poetry, as prose falls short.  I read poetry when things are great or when things are not going well.  Poetry can speak to us when nothing else can.  When I was a small child, one of my favorite poems was “To Market” and it goes like this:

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, dancing a jig;
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog;
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

We are celebrating a great milestone today, 170 years.  It was the hearty pioneers who settled this area.  There were no roads to this point, only people seeking to find a new life and find a place to worship God. Home again.  Home again.  We can only imagine what life was like over 170 years ago, and from the memoir of Jasper Cotter, we read that there was plenty of game, a beautiful landscape, and it was inhabited by people with spirit.  Home again.  Home again.
The 126th Psalm was a song of ascents.  It was sung as the Hebrews were returning home from their time in captivity, and today we cannot help but sing this song.  Home again.  Home again.  We come to church to be prepared to go out in a world of difficulty, but here we find joy.  We come back singing, and we bring joy to God’s House.  Home again. Home again.

Haysil Hyde Hilton, a former member, was one of the first people that I met while on a job, and she was the Chief Deputy for Coweta County. Haysel was a sharp and tough lady, and every time we came into contact, she always asked me where I attended church.  Haysel was always smiling, and I could tell she was a child of the King.  She asked me to visit here many years ago, and now, over thirty years later here I am.  Home again. Home again.

Jesus called home wherever people needed Him. Liberty Christian Church is our picture of what heaven will be like.  Home again. Home again.

 Church History

Liberty Christian ChurchLiberty Christian Church was organized in Coweta County in 1847 by the Reverend 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 of LCC include such names as: 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, and the old homeplace of Henry and Marthalyn Benton Hyde, was a quarter mile down the road from the church, and at present day is 1115 Macedonia Road, and it 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 LLC 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 the 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 are:  Minister-Rev. Anita Renahan-White, Worship Leader-Jimmy Walker, Music Director-Mary Jane Miles, Pianist-Beth Walker, and Chairman of the Board-Kenneth Helton.  Rev. Anita Renahan-White has ministered to the congregation of Liberty Christian Church since July 2013. On October 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). She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Women's Studies, Master in Public Health degree, and Master of Divinity degree, all from Emory University.   In addition to serving as our minister, she is a Staff Chaplin for the Gwinnett Medical Center. She and her husband Jay reside in Decatur, Georgia. Today, this quaint white church, with delicate corbeling at the roofline and square brick columns, sits peacefully in a grove of trees on Macedonia Road.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make the 170th Anniversary Celebration such a wonderful day.

 Here are some pictures of our 170th Anniversary Celebration

Thank you to photographers Carrie Parsons, Glenna With and David Ingram for their pictures.




Below: Bill O’Hara, Jimmy Walker, and Roger With 


Pamela O’Hara decorating the tables.


Mardel Shumake transporting visitors in style!






Amma’s Garden shining in God’s Glory



Dr. Rev. Burdett Wantland and his wife, Shirley



JeNeill Sewell, on the left, the oldest member of LLC



Soloist Cynda Pierce, and Director of Music Mary Jane Miles



Elder, Ken Helton and Carrie Parsons



Guest Speaker, Rev. Winston Skinner



Rev. Denise Bell, Georgia Regional Minister



The Liberty Singers




Pianist, Beth Walker




Senior Minister of LCC, Rev. Anita Renahan-White




Worship Coordinator, Jimmy Walker








The youth of the church and Rev. Anita giving the blessing and benediction.














Jimmy Walker and the Quilts of Valor

Submitted by Glenna With

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

Foundation for Quilt of Valor

Quilt of Valor Recipient, Jimmy Walker

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, our own Jimmy Walker, President of the Georgia Men’s Commission, was awarded a Quilt of Valor by the QOV Foundation at the First United Methodist Church in Newnan, Georgia.  Area veterans are selected to receive a handmade quilt to thank them for their service to our country.  Many of Jimmy’s family and friends were there to share in his celebration of his military service.  Jimmy served in Viet Nam, and his heroic service resulted in the honor of receiving a handmade quilt.

Jimmy Walker
Jimmy Walker is about to be awarded his quilt.

Jimmy Walker
Beth and Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker

Roger With, Men's Commission Representative, Mary Jane Miles,
Music Director of Liberty Christian Church, and Jimmy Walker, quilt recipient.

Quilts of Valor Foundation History
Catherine Roberts’ Dream

Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to Catherine:

The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and wellbeing. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was:

Quilts = Healing

The model appeared simple: have a volunteer team who would donate their time and materials to make a quilt. One person would piece the top and the other would quilt it. I saw the name for this special quilt. It was a Quilt of Valor, a QOV.

I knew a Quilt of Valor had to be a quality-made quilt, not a “charity quilt.”  A Quilt of Valor had to be quilted, not tied, which meant hand or machine quilting. Quilts of Valor would be “awarded,” not just passed out like magazines or videos. A Quilt of Valor would say unequivocally, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor” in serving our nation in combat.

Jimmy was honored by this organization last Saturday, and his church, Liberty Christian Church is proud of his service to God, his country, and his church.


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