Old Liberty Missionary Baptist Church
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments (Psalm 78:6-7).
In the year of our Lord, 1865, following the Civil War, a small group of African Americans, then called Negroes, established the first Black church in this community. These individuals previously slaves, now free men, chose to name their church “Liberty” that means freedom. Isaac Cooke, Sam Harris, and Bryant Cooke were the founders and the first deacons of the church. They were former members of Flat Rock Baptist, the white church just down the road. They held their first services under a brush arbor. The land for the church was donated by Dr. Timberlake of Wake Forest, North Carolina. Under this simple brush arbor, the people worshipped God and shortly moved into a log cabin. The first Black school in this area was organized here at Liberty Baptist Church.
The first pastor was Dr. Royal, the pastor of Flat Rock Baptist Church. On Sunday mornings, Dr. Royal would preach at Flat Rock and in the evening he would preach at Liberty. During the later part of 1878, the church had a dispute over the school; the pastor, Deacon Sam Harris, Deacon Isaac Cooke and 65 members left the church to establish what is now “New Liberty Baptist Church.” Deacon Bryant Cooke and the remaining members stayed behind at what is now known as “Old Liberty Missionary Baptist Church.”
Many members and officers, past and present, have contributed to the growth of our church. The building has been renovated many times throughout the years. Since the humble beginnings, this church has been served by the following 15 pastors: Reverend Limus Taylor who taught public school in the church. Reverend Sam Morgan who served for 29 years, Rev. R. J. Johnson, Reverend James Tabron, Reverend James Powers, Reverend James Hugging, Reverend James Chavis, Reverend James McBroom, Reverend Dr. Tom Peace, Reverend S. Harris, Reverend A. M. Wiggins (33) years, Reverend Larry Evans (2 years as Youth Minister and (12) years as Senior Pastor. The Reverend Dr. Charles Anthony Murrill, Sr. was the pastor for 18 years. Reverend Michael A. Alston is our current pastor,led us into our new Sanctuary December 6, 2015.
Old Liberty Missionary Baptist Church is a cherished landmark in our community. It has served to teach our youth honesty, industry, morality, and religion. It has comforted the sick and sorrowing, offered solace to the weary, brought message of peace and pardon of our Savior’s love to all.
It is God who receives the glory for Old Liberty Missionary Baptist Church and for its blessed history, “it reminds us that no one man did this alone, but it was God working through many who built and has sustained Old Liberty down through the years. The works and blessings of our patriarchs are to the utmost because of their divine faith and unshakable trust in God.”
This church history is a testimony and a lesson in what God can and will do. I pray that you will be inspired to declare, “what a mighty God we serve!” The history of our beloved church was compiled by Gladys M. Perry, her mother, the late Cherry L. Debnam, who received the information from her mother, Annie Liza Cooke Smith, who was the daughter of one of the church founders, Isaac Cooke. Sister Joan Merritt the daughter of Gladys M. Perry is now the keeper of the history and archives.