Church History

The earliest record that can be found of the Presbyterian church in Bedford, formerly Liberty, Virginia, opens thus "May 15, 1843 Sessional records of the Peaks Presbyterian Church in Bedford County, Virginia, continued from volume . . ." which shows that there had been an earlier volume.

It is known, however, that before that date there was a congregation in Liberty which worshiped in the old Masonic Hall and in the Court House. In 1843 this Liberty congregation was grouped with Peaks, Pisgah, Olivet and Salem, the two latter being union churches. Thorough search has been made in all these congregations for that missing volume, but to no avail.

This union of four churches continued for some years after Liberty Church was organized. Strange as it may seem, there is no record in the Session book of the erection or dedication of the Liberty church. In 1843 a committee was appointed "to secure the title to the lot on which the church is to be built," and, though not recorded, we are authoritatively told by a daughter of the pastor at the time, that the church was built in 1844. It was a big day in Liberty, people coming from far and near for the event.

The church stands in the center of town on a grassy lawn near the intersection of Main and Bridge Streets. It is a simple Colonial structure of brick, with white trimmings, an in-set vestibule supported by tall columns, a single spire surmounting the belfry whence the sweet-toned bell rings its Sabbath call to worship.

Pisgah Church withdrew from the Peaks group in 1852, and the interest of the Presbyterians in the Salem and Olivet Union Churches was sold to the other denominations. The date of the withdrawal of Peaks Church is not known. The first report after the separation lists 65 members and a total contribution of $1,259.71.

Various improvements have been made in the church from time to time. In 1879, a pipe organ, the first in the town, was installed and led the services with music until 1960, when a new pipe organ was purchased. The old organ was removed with loving care and rebuilt in the Watts Chapel at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA. Electricity was installed in 1904 and the furnace replaced the old stoves in 1908. Sunday School rooms, choir rooms, an office complex, nursery, and fellowship hall and kitchen have been added over the years. New pews, carpeting, and furniture were added as needed.

The first paid staff, other than the minister, was an organist in 1953. Our first church secretary was hired in 1959 and ten years later was replaced with the one who continues to serve today.

Our current membership hovers around 200. Our 2015 general operating budget is around $200,000.

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