History of Liberty Baptist Church

Liberty Baptist Church was established in the home of Deacon David Sumpter in July 1926. Rev. Alexander Reynolds was called to Pastor the church, which then moved to 124 East Jersey Street in the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey. In August of 1927, Reverend Howard Culbreth, the moderator of the New Hope Association, named the church, Liberty Baptist Church.

Rev. Reynolds served as Pastor of Liberty until 1928. From 1928-1930, Rev. B.B. Burghus served. Rev. Henry B. Shawl served from 1930-1934, and Rev. Tyler T. Thomas served from 1934-1935. On December 30, 1936, Trustees Evan Hick, William Murray, Joseph Reed, James Charles, and Crawford Thomas signed incorporation paperwork. Rev. William Woods served Liberty from 1936-1937; the Rev. LeRoy C. Huff from 1937-1938 and in 1938, the Reverend Tyler T. Thomas was re-elected to office of Pastor at Liberty where he served faithfully until his death on February 18, 1973. 

On October 25, 1974, the congregation called Rev. Kenneth Grayson. Rev. Kenneth E. Grayson was installed as Pastor of Liberty Baptist on April 27, 1975, by the Rev. John R. Stanford, President of the General Baptist State Convention of New Jersey. Under the leadership of Rev. Grayson, the church purchased the Fellowship Hall and the parsonage located at 1415 Stanley Terrace in Hillside, New Jersey. Sis. Ella Mae Davis became Liberty’s first female licensed evangelist. The first female Trustees appointed by Liberty Baptist were Ms. Lucy Mickens, Mrs. Archie Blanten, Ms. Mary Ratliff, Mrs. Luella McNeil and Mrs. Magdalene Venable. Reverend Grayson retired in 1995 after 21 years of faithful service.

In October 1995, the congregation elected Rev. Anthony W. Wilcots, the new Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church. On March 17, 1996, Rev. Michael P. William installed the Rev. Anthony W. Wilcots as the new Pastor of Liberty Baptist. Pastor Wilcots lead the church in purchasing 507 and 514 Court Street which provides parking space for members, 519 Court Street where the Youth Church is housed and 509 Court Street.

Under Pastor Wilcots’ leadership, many ministers were licensed. Pastor Wilcots continually strived to use the Word of God to empower and uplift both Liberty’s congregation and those in the surrounding community. Pastor Anthony Wilcots left the Liberty Baptist Church in 2008.

On May 1, 2010, the congregation elected Rev. Lester W. Wormley as the new Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church. Pastor Wormley was installed on September 26, 2010. Under his leadership the church has totally become debt free and completely IRS compliant. The building and campus have seen notable improvements such as a renovated lady’s room, a renovated sanctuary with screens, an updated sound system and musical equipment. A brand-new chair lift has been installed for the seniors and others with mobility issues and the infrastructure has been secured with the repair of the parking lots, roofing, and replacement of the fire escapes. Also, under Dr. Wormley’s leadership the community outreach of Liberty continues to flourish with the expansion of the community food distribution program, networking with community organizations and the annual 2-day S.W.A.G street festival known as Champion’s Weekend where students are equipped and empowered to return to school while the church engages the community. 

With a prestigious past and a productive present, the Liberty Baptist Church faces a future filled with promise and potential to “Impart the Word, Empower the Witness and Impact the World.”