By Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com
After 36 years as pastors of Liberty Church in Cleveland, Bob and Frieda White have stepped back. The leadership of the church has been entrusted to their daughter, Paige Bostwick, and her husband, Preston.
On Sunday, Jan. 26, a service commemorating the transition was held at the church with hundreds of parishioners and guests in attendance. Local and visiting clergy gathered around the Bostwicks to pray for God to guide and lead them as the church moves into the next phase of leadership.
While the Whites are stepping back, they aren’t entirely stepping down. Bob will continue to preach on occasion and Frieda plans to keep teaching Bible classes. Both Bob and Frieda are planning new books. Bob’s will be a compilation of devotionals he has written over the years while Frieda plans to pen a new book – her 10th book to author. She also hopes to do more evangelizing in the coming months.
The Whites say it was time to retire.
“Bob turns 75 years old in a couple of weeks. He has had some health issues. He had a major heart attack about 4-5 years ago. It’s just time,” Frieda said. “Paige and Preston are more than qualified and capable to lead the church. They do an excellent job. Now was the time.”
For years, Paige has felt what believers term “the call” to preach and has served in various capacities of the church – leading youth groups and praise singers. She also helps organize the Christmas and Easter plays and special services the church holds each year.
“We have had many people visit our church and tell us that Paige was called to lead. They would say the government was on her shoulders, but the timing wasn’t right until now,” Frieda said. “It was very apparent to us all that Paige and Preston are supposed to take over the church.”
Paige is excited to continue her parents’ legacy.
“I am excited to see what God is going to do. My parents have been so faithful. We stand on their shoulders. If they had not been so faithful for 36 years, there would be nothing that you see here today,” she said. “A lot of people have asked me if it feels like a burden. I say it feels more like an opportunity because we are going to continue it on. I have seen the blood, sweat and tears that got us here.”
Paige is committed to keeping her parents very much involved in the church despite their retirement.
“They are just stepping back. We still need their voice. I need their voice,” she said.
In its 36-year history, Liberty Church has had three locations in Cleveland – on the 100 block of W. Houston St. next to where Dan’s Guitars is today, the old Home Builders Supply (now Embolden Crossfit) on the 600 block of N. Washington Ave. and the new sanctuary, fellowship hall and daycare at 200 FM 2025 (at US 59).
“Liberty Church was founded on Mothers Day 1984. We started a time of prayer and fasting in January of that year. We began looking for a building and found the downtown location. We rented that space for 18 months. It’s an empty lot now,” Frieda said. “When we moved there, we would cram the building with 140 people. The building was so old that when it rained the men of the church would have to get on top of the building to push the water off the roof. When we moved, there was no one to move the water off and the roof caved in.”
The church was relocated to the old Home Builders Supply location in 1986 until the new facility was completed six years ago. The first service in the new building was held on Mothers Day 2014, exactly 30 years after its humble beginnings.
Today, the church operates a daycare Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The church also hosts a Bible college for first- and second-year students pursuing a degree in Bible Studies. So far, 60 students have completed the two-year course and more will graduate from the program this spring.
For more information on Liberty Church, go online to https://lccleveland.com/ or follow the church on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LCCLEVELANDTX/