This is the 2017 theme for First Presbyterian Church of Liberty: You’re Invited. It is the theme that began our conversation this month with Pastor Nikki Cooley, as she invited any and all school-age kids at Hillcrest Hope to their Summer Day Camp being held this very week. It is the theme that led us through our conversation, learning about the heart and body of First Presbyterian.
It is a known fact that First Presbyterian Church has deep roots in the Liberty community, but maybe a less known fact that this church has deep roots in Hillcrest Hope. Hillcrest Minisitries founders Ben and Patsy Beltzer found the love, support, and guidance of the church to be their foundation as they found their own footing and sought to serve other families in need. The Beltzers, members of First Presbyterian, are just one testimony to the type of commitment and support shown to one another among the families of the church.
Pastor Nikki described the congregation as “a big family that chooses to be family, supporting each in in the good and the bad times. As families have encountered this church they have seen the worth in sticking around and getting to know everyone more deeply because it is a group that ministers to each other, crossing generations. First Presbyterian joins together so many different people that seem to have so little in common, yet learn to that they truly share so much.”
Through the years, First Presbyterian has also welcomed the opportunity to be a hub for other groups to use their church building. From homeschooling co-ops to Boy Scout Troop 374, it is a known spot for activity and growth in the community. Most recently First Presbyterian was a site for Make Music Day in Liberty and a host site for the Organ Crawl.
First Presbyterian is not just a church to come and listen to, all are welcomed and encouraged to participate. Children and youth are often welcomed to share their gifts, embraced as a part of the church and encouraged to make their mark and live their faith.
As most churches, First Presbyterian has endured many changes through the years. When Pastor Nikki encountered the congregation, she saw a people that wanted to look onward but weren’t quite ready. “We began trust-building,” and we are reminded often that “God is not done with us,” Nikki explained. She deems herself blessed to be entrusted to build up a church of young and old, with generations of families that have been a part. “We are now at the point where our arms and hearts are open, welcoming existing and new families to join us as we look forward to all that we can be. We are all a part of the future of this church, having planted seeds of incredible potential.”
We could not be more thankful the Hillcrest Ministries beginnings that originated with this congregation and to call First Presbyterian Church a partner in hope to this day. Remember, you’re invited to be a part!