Leaders and members of Turkey Creek Missionary Baptist Church are planning a mortgage-burning celebration on March 21. The church, located at 1600 Wallisville Road in Liberty, is one of the oldest churches in Liberty County founded by black residents.
Its history dates back to 1866, shortly after the emancipation of black slaves. The newly freed people gathered together to worship on a hill near Turkey Creek. Later on, they held prayer meetings in private homes.
Members gathered resources to build their first church made of logs daubed with mug. They used pine torches for lighting and a fireplace for warmth. The nearby creek was used for baptisms.
In 1923, church members dedicated a larger and better sanctuary. This building was severely damaged by weather and had to be demolished, leaving the congregation without a place to worship. Shortly thereafter, the pastor died, leaving the congregation with no building or pastor to lead them.
Their faith and dedication never wavered. Several other church buildings were constructed and enlarged as the membership grew. The historic church started its groundbreaking for its current worship facility in December 1999 under the leadership of the late pastor Paul E. Cross Sr.
The building of the newest sanctuary began in 2000 with the theme “Vision 2000: Journey to the Sunrise.” The contractor for the project was Deacon Norman Barnett. Serving as deacons at the time were the late Deacon Vincent Edwards, late Deacon Maurice Redmon, late Deacon John Redmon, late Deacon George Redmon, late Deacon Ernest Lawson, Deacon Paul Edwards, late Deacon David Boston, Deacon Larry Tippins, Deacon Harvey Johnson, Deacon John Broussard, Deacon George W. Redmon, Deacon Ray Robinson and Deacon Clyde Edwards. Pastor Emeritus Rev. Richard Roberts, who served the church as pastor for 36 years, took part in the groundbreaking ceremony. The serving ministers were Rev. Robert Seals, Rev. Larry Brooks, Rev. Eldridge McKnight, the late Rev. James Cross and the late Rev. Marcus Cross.
The current church was dedicated in 2003 and is under the leadership of Pastor Terence C. Edwards, who, at age 27, is the youngest pastor to ever lead the church.
Turkey Creek Missionary Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary in November 2016. On this day, Mrs. Linda Jamison, Liberty County Commission Chairman, presented a historical marker that sits in front of the church site. The church continues to grow and is still located on the original site.
“God has blessed the church to retire the church note valued at $1.1 million dollars. We are grateful to First Liberty National Bank for their assistance of financing our facility,” said Pastor Edwards.
Under Edwards’ leadership many things have been accomplished and the church continues to progress. He launched a giving campaign called “20K in 2020” to retire mortgage debt in the year 2020. Even during a pandemic, the church reached its goal.
To commemorate this accomplishment, Turkey Creek will celebrate their mortgage burning celebration on March 21, 2021 at 11 a.m.. The guest preacher will be Pastor Tolan J. Morgan of the Fellowship Bible Baptist Church of Warners Robin, Ga. The public is invited to attend.
Liberty County Historical Commission contributed to the history for this article.