Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Liberty Center United Methodist Church

    Liberty Center United Methodist Church, 16005 Church St, Liberty Center, IA. 50145, phone (641) 942-7739, http://www.iaumc.org/churches/detail/1181, constructed in 1870, see a photo and history of the church on Iowa Backroads at http://iowabackroads.com/united-methodist-church-liberty-center-iowa/


    Liberty Center Methodist Church, written by Mrs. Orville THOMPSON, copied from the History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151.

    The Methodist Episcopal (M. E.) church at Liberty Center was organized in 1856. The first minister was J. W. TODD. The charter members were: Enoch and Polly MATSON, John and Rachel MATSON, Jerry and Juliann MATSON, William and Mahalis BERRY, Sarah COLES, Jerry and Mary BERRY, and Polly and Ellen COLES.

    The minister held a revival meeting that winter in a log cabin located where the Christian church used to stand southwest of Liberty Center. There were a goodly number of converts at this meeting. When the period for probation for new members had expired, the membership had increased to eighty. It was decided to secure a building for worship. Accordingly, in 1860 the original part of the building of S. J. SHUPE's store was leased and afterwards purchased of Nathan MOSHER for a church.

    They worshiped in this building on the corner until 1870. During the pastorate of the Rev. J. A. SMITH the original part of the present church was erected at a cost of $2,300 and dedicated in 1871.

    In 1906 under the pastorate of A. D. DAVIS the church was enlarged at a cost of $2,300. It was all paid for and dedicated October 21, 1906. There were then sixty members.

    There have been three weddings in the church: Marten GRAHAM and Anna CORBIT, Almo HESS and Clara JOHNSON, and Dwane GREY and Joan BUMGARNER.

    The lot the church stands on was donated by Jerry BOSTON. The trustees were J. P. McFARLAND, Joseph MICHAEL, W. E. VANDERVENTER, Benjamine COLES and W. H. McKENNEY.

    There are a goodly number of descendants of those pioneer Christians among us today. Some can trace their ancestry back to five and six generations that have attended the Liberty Center Methodist church. Jacob GARBERSON was the first local Preacher and Joseph MICHAEL was the first class leader.

    Commencing with the charter members, the MATSONS were brothers of the late George MATSON, former resident and schoolteacher here. William BERRY was great-grandfather of Carl LAWYER. Polly COLES, a charter member, became the wife of Jacob GARBERSON. They are the great-great-grandparents of Nathalie ROBINSON, who is also a great-granddaughter of Nannie MEEKER.

    Joseph MICHAEL is the great-grandfather of Harold HALTING and Frank WOODYARD, who each have children and grandchildren attending church here, making six generations. Benjamine COLES is the grandfather of Carl JOHNSON; J. P. McFARLAND is the grandfather of Edna FREEL, one of our faithful Sunday school teachers. Jerry BOSTON is the grandfather of John THOMPSON and the great-great-grandfather of Philip THOMPSON, our Sunday school secretary and treasurer now.

    This year, 1951, through the cooperation of the ladies of the Woman's Society of Christian Service and the men of the community, the interior of the church was refinished. The present Sunday school superintendent is Neil FOUST and the enrollment is eighty-two. The present pastor is the Rev. Robert I. FAUCETT.

    On September 29, 1996 the Liberty Center United Methodist Church celebrated their 125 anniversary

    In a church service of celebration and rededication, Phil TOMPSON and Velma TURNER read “The History of Library Center United Methodist Church.” The history was quoted, from the above listed history, but the following text was added:

    On October 21, 1956, under the pastorate of D.M. PIERCE, a Centennial Service celebrating the organization of the Liberty Center Methodists was held at the church. Rev. Donald KOONTZ, Director of the Warren County Group Ministry read the scriptures and former pastor Rev. Glen LAMB preached a sermon, “A Church to Match the Hour.” The Sunday School enrollment was 112 and the church membership was 61. In June 1961, under the pastorate of Rev. Stanley KENNEDY, the Southeast Warren Parish was organized with Liberty Center, Lacona and Milo as members. Green Plain joined in 1966. In the spring of 1968, during the pastorate of Rev. Howard LORD, excavation for a basement 26 x 40 feet was begun. This was the first major improvement to the building in 62 years. This project, which included refinishing the floors and new carpet for the vestibule and aisles was completed and dedicated on March 9, 1969. Dr. Everett STAATS, District Superintendent of the Des Moines District, was the speaker. The men and women and friends of the church donated most of the work for the new improvement, keeping the cost to approximately $5,000.00. On September 12, 1971, the 100th Anniversary of the Church Building was celebrated under the pastorate of the Rev. Howard LORD and Layman Associate, Jerry OLIVER. Worship service was led by Rev. LORD, with Rev. Claire SHUPE preaching. Claire grew up in this community and entered the ministry from this church. The Centennial Celebration was held at 2 pm with Dr. Ralph JOHN, president of Simpson College attending. Many members of the congregation wore old-time wear and the preachers arrived on horseback representing Circuit Riders.

    In 1985, under the pastorate of Rev. Larry PAULEY, the parish was realigned with Liberty Center, Green Plain and Milo as members. Those who have entered the ministry from our church are Charles PROCTOR, Claire SHUPE and Jerry OLIVER. Estaline SHUPE served as a deaconess.

    There are now two United Methodist Women’s Circles who participate in a very successful community-wide Fall Supper and Bazaar. Worship services are held each Sunday and we share in charge-wide activities such as Bible School, Midweek Classes for the children and Bible Study. Our present enrollment is 73 and our pastor is Rev. Jerry AVISE-ROUSE. We are excited to celebrate our 140th Anniversary as a congregation and the 125th year of the construction of our original building. We are looking forward to our town’s sesquicentennial in 2006.

    "Liberty Center United Methodist Church 1871-1996; Celebrating 125 Years in this Building, 140 Years as a Congregation," booklet is at the Warren County Historical Society Library.