I often reflect on the meaning of Liberty Church in my life. The earliest memory there is the wedding of Aunt Joy and Uncle Jerry when I was 3. The wedding photo remains a classic in my memory and still resides on the Ankney (Grandma Mary Jonas family of origin near Versailles, OH) family Facebook site and Aunt Joy's Facebook site. If you look, you will see my brother Mike and I all dressed up in suits as the ringbearers.
(click here for wedding photo and Joy & Jerry 63 yrs later) (and Mike and I with Joy after Jerry's passing)
Aunt Rose Marie "Crockey" Jonas (yes, that is her Liberty given nickname-later Goodheart and much later Lenk), my Dad-Art Jonas (Scud was his nickname), Jan Hoffman and Rev. Chauncey Varner are some of the people in this Dec. 1949 photo.
Later I learned that Joy had strep throat on her wedding day and my mother made Joy's dress and our suits. In those days people made things for themselves and their family. Women sewed a lot in Liberty. Families only had one car. TV didn't show up until the 1950's. Life was different.
It was a small world for me, and very safe. Liberty, a town of 100 or so people (counting dogs, we used to say) and one four-way stop in the middle of town ("the corner", as it was referred to by my Grandma Jonas, who lived next door to us on Walnut Street-known as "Back Street" to those who lived there).
Liberty Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB later became United Methodist) had a nice sounding bell that rang out each Sunday morning, calling all to gather. So we did. Sunday School was memorable as a child. We learned the great songs like, "The B-I-B-L-E", "Jesus Loves the Little Children", "Jesus Loves Me" and many more. Bible stories were told over and over as we celebrated the great message of Jesus and His love for us all. David and Goliath always impressed us and the song about the five stones was a classic, "Only a Boy Named David"... and the giant came tumbling down. I can still hear Gladys Alread's voice leading us in that song in Sunday School. Many wonderful memories of Liberty EUB and Jesus and the people of the church.
From time to time, we would sing the Hymn "Love Divine All Loves Excelling" and I loved the phrase at the end of one verse, "Set our hearts at liberty". My heart had been set at Liberty. The meaning now is much deeper each time I sing that phrase. I often thank God for that church, that town and those people.