Lt. Col. Russell Hall Day at Liberty Christian Church

Sunday, June 24, 2018’s worship was a celebration for Lt. Col. Russell P. Hall.

>t. Col. HallMr. Russ is the father of Pamela O’Hara, and father-in-law to Bill O’Hara.  The O’Hara’s are members of the Liberty Christian Church family.  Russ is a much loved and respected member of our church family.  Liberty Christian Church celebrated his call to arms and courageous service during WWII. 

The Coweta County Quilts of Valor is an organization made up of volunteers who honor the veterans in Coweta County and the surrounding areas.  The Coweta Quilt Guild is a part of the national foundation of the Quilts of Valor.  The guild started in August of 2014.  Since its institution in 2014, over 100,000 quilts have been bestowed on veterans.  There are three layers to each quilt, and each layer symbolizes honor, freedom, and comfort. 

The first layer represents the how the veteran is honored for his service and willingness to leave home to defend our country.  The second layer shows us that freedom is never free, and each man who served is humbly thanked for his sacrifice.  The last layer represents comfort.  Mr. Russ was urged to use the quilt and let it blanket him in comfort and love of home.  The work on quilt came from a group of ladies, Brenda Hall, the quilt maker, and Beverly Watkins, spokesman and member of the Coweta County Quilt of Valor Guild, and others who valiantly work on these beautiful quilts as presentation pieces of gratitude for past military service.

Congratulations, Russell Hall, a Quilt of Valor Recipient

Here is Lt. Col. Hall’s story as told to his daughter, Pamela O’Hara

Squadron B, 2528th Base Unit AAF
9th Air Force
323rd Bombardment Group

I joined the Missouri National Guard, 35th Infantry Division in 1939 while attending Central College in Fayette, Missouri.  Our unit of the National Guard was mobilized in December of 1940 to Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas.  After watching the WWI movie, Sergeant York on a Sunday afternoon, I left the theater to hear that Pearl Harbor had been bombed in Dec of 1941.  We didn't know where Pearl Harbor was! 

Soon after the bombing, the 35th Division was moved to Ft Ord, California, then on to Ft Lewis, Washington.  Our unit was scheduled to move to Alaska to counter Japanese incursions there.  I didn’t go to Alaska because the Army Air Corp began to recruit aviation cadets to become pilots, bombardiers, and navigators.  After testing, I was transferred to the Air Corp and Nashville, TN for processing as an Aviation Cadet in March of 1942.  After bombardier and gunnery training at various bases, I went to Maxwell AFB, Alabama for pilot training.  Then I was sent to California for bombardier preflight, and then on to Las Vegas NV for gunnery training.  Following that period I went to Kirtland AFB Albuquerque, NM for bombardier training, and  I ended up at Barksdale Airfield  Shreveport, Louisiana  in November of  1943. There I was assigned to a bomber crew consisting of a pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, engineer, radio operator, and tail gunner.  Our plane was the Martin B-26 Marauder.

After training missions and getting to know each other our crew was ready to go to England. The tail gunner and I were scheduled to cross the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth while the rest of the crew flew in a B26 on a southern route.  We rendezvoused in Ireland for more training and eventual assignment to the 323rd Bombardment Group in England as replacements for crews being rotated home.  Our crew had only flown a few missions when were briefed to be a part of the Air Force effort on D-Day. Our squadron was briefed with the other B-26 crews to bomb targets ahead of the ground forces who were coming ashore at Normandy on Utah Beach. I had an excellent view of the hundreds of landing craft who were part of the invasion force.  It was an unforgettable site and the most memorable experience of the war. Our squadron had no losses on this mission. We returned to our base in England and prepared for another mission in support of the British landing force.  Our targets were German ammunition dumps near the city of Caen, France. Our squadron of 12 planes lost one crew on that mission.  I remember watching the crew members parachute out while the pilot kept the plane flying. The pilot didn’t get to jump, however, none of crew survived. They were bayoneted on landing.   Then we moved to a new airbase in southern England, a former RAF (Royal Air Force) fighter base.

From there, we flew night missions over France in support of the American Army, which were making headway after important breakthroughs.  We were very busy supporting the American Army and busy bombing German buzz bomb sites.  We moved across the channel to American fighter bases in Normandy that had been used by fighter planes.  The runways consisted of metal slats.  We kept supporting the American Army as they progressed through France. We were stationed in Normandy, Chartres, Lyon, and Valence, which was our final French base, when the European war ended on VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, on May 8, 1945.  I flew over fifty-four missions, and my crew was selected as a ‘group lead crew’ and for that reason, we didn’t fly as frequently as others.  I was very fortunate to have been assigned to fly with five very wonderful crewmen. We were too busy to be afraid, and we just didn’t think about it. Once while under anti-aircraft fire, shrapnel penetrated the airplane and landed about two inches from my leg. In spite of all the anti-aircraft fire, our entire crew managed to survive.

When the War ended in Europe, Air Force crews were moved back to England. Our crew was disbanded, and we went our separate ways.  I was assigned to a Liberty Ship for transport back to the United States. We left Manchester, England in of May 1945 and although Germany had surrendered, our ship was part of a large convoy in case German submarines had not been advised their war was over. Being a small ship, the storms bounced us

around , and after  three weeks we arrived in Boston, MA in June. I got to go home for a 30 day period but afterwards, since the war in the Pacific had not yet ended, I was sent to Midland, TX to await transfer to the Pacific Theater. However, I never had to leave Midland since the Japanese surrendered.

I had been in the service for almost five years and didn’t know what it felt like to be a civilian again. For several years many of us would get together for reunions to reminiscence about the good old days and remember those who never made it back. I stayed in the Air Force Reserves and retired as a Lt Colonel in 1986.

Battles and Campaigns: Air Offensive Europe

Northern France,
Central Europe 

Decorations and Citations:

European-African-Middle Eastern Theater campaign Ribbon with 6 Bronze Stars
Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters
American Defense Service Ribbon
American Theater Campaign Ribbon
Victory Ribbon

Liberty Christian Church 170th Anniversary Celebration

By Glenna With

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, Liberty Christian Church in Newnan, GA, celebrated its 170th Anniversary.  The worship experience featured special music, keynote speakers, and words of remembrance and reminisces from various members and friends of the church.  Rev. Denise Bell, blessed the church, and helped to share the joy of the occasion.  A covered dish luncheon was served following the service.  Over one hundred and twenty people attended the event, and each adult was given a commemorative mug and church history booklet.

Rev. Anita Renahan-White is the current minister, and Worship Director, Jimmy Walker led the congregation in hymns.  Music Director, Mary Jane Miles, led the choir in a special Pepper Choplin anthem, “Within These Walls,” and Beth Walker was on the piano.  Minister Emeritus, Dr. Rev. Burdett Wantland was able to attend, and his emotional witness was enjoyed by all.
A large tent was used to seat the guests, and the church was decorated in fall floral displays.  Liberty Christian Church is the third oldest Disciples of Christ Church in Georgia.

Sermon Highlights

Rev. Winston Skinner, local news editor and minister graced Liberty Christian Church with a message of hope, celebration, and grace that commemorated the 170th Church Anniversary of LCC.  He based his sermon on the follow poem by E. E. Cummings and the Mother Goose rhyme, “To Market”.

i am a little church
by E. E. Cummings

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

This celebration is a day for poetry, as prose falls short.  I read poetry when things are great or when things are not going well.  Poetry can speak to us when nothing else can.  When I was a small child, one of my favorite poems was “To Market” and it goes like this:

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, dancing a jig;
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog;
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

We are celebrating a great milestone today, 170 years.  It was the hearty pioneers who settled this area.  There were no roads to this point, only people seeking to find a new life and find a place to worship God. Home again.  Home again.  We can only imagine what life was like over 170 years ago, and from the memoir of Jasper Cotter, we read that there was plenty of game, a beautiful landscape, and it was inhabited by people with spirit.  Home again.  Home again.
The 126th Psalm was a song of ascents.  It was sung as the Hebrews were returning home from their time in captivity, and today we cannot help but sing this song.  Home again.  Home again.  We come to church to be prepared to go out in a world of difficulty, but here we find joy.  We come back singing, and we bring joy to God’s House.  Home again. Home again.

Haysil Hyde Hilton, a former member, was one of the first people that I met while on a job, and she was the Chief Deputy for Coweta County. Haysel was a sharp and tough lady, and every time we came into contact, she always asked me where I attended church.  Haysel was always smiling, and I could tell she was a child of the King.  She asked me to visit here many years ago, and now, over thirty years later here I am.  Home again. Home again.

Jesus called home wherever people needed Him. Liberty Christian Church is our picture of what heaven will be like.  Home again. Home again.

 Church History

Liberty Christian ChurchLiberty Christian Church was organized in Coweta County in 1847 by the Reverend John Smith.  It is believed that this congregation is the third oldest church affiliated with the Disciples of Christ in Georgia.  This historic church dates back almost to the very beginnings of the Disciples of Christ. 

Charter members of LCC include such names as: Lenderman, Dyer, Smith, Nix, and Hyde.  Descendants of these pioneer families are still on the roll of the church today.  In 1863, Henry Lumsden Hyde gave the church two acres including the land where the church cemetery is located.   The first building was erected in 1854, and the old homeplace of Henry and Marthalyn Benton Hyde, was a quarter mile down the road from the church, and at present day is 1115 Macedonia Road, and it was in existence until 1978.  The current homes of members of the Helton families on Macedonia Road are where the old homeplace once stood along with adjoining land.  As the church grew, the Hayes Family was also instrumental in the growth of the church.

In 1900, the present building was erected, and it was dedicated in 1903. It was moved back from the road in 1949, and Sunday School rooms were constructed in the newly formed basement.  Current LLC member, Kenneth Helton, recalls that day which included the use of a horse named Roaney, belonging to his grandfather, Daddy Tom Hyde, to move the building to its present location.  Some remodeling has occurred over the years, including adding a porch, carpeting, a baptistery, a handicap ramp, central air and the stained glass windows.  JeNeill Sewell, the oldest living member of the church donated a grand piano for the enjoyment of the congregation.

Current staff members are:  Minister-Rev. Anita Renahan-White, Worship Leader-Jimmy Walker, Music Director-Mary Jane Miles, Pianist-Beth Walker, and Chairman of the Board-Kenneth Helton.  Rev. Anita Renahan-White has ministered to the congregation of Liberty Christian Church since July 2013. On October 20, 2013, she accepted the call to become the permanent Minister. She was ordained to the Christian Ministry in May 2012 at First Christian Church of Decatur (Disciples of Christ). She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Women's Studies, Master in Public Health degree, and Master of Divinity degree, all from Emory University.   In addition to serving as our minister, she is a Staff Chaplin for the Gwinnett Medical Center. She and her husband Jay reside in Decatur, Georgia. Today, this quaint white church, with delicate corbeling at the roofline and square brick columns, sits peacefully in a grove of trees on Macedonia Road.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make the 170th Anniversary Celebration such a wonderful day.

 Here are some pictures of our 170th Anniversary Celebration

Thank you to photographers Carrie Parsons, Glenna With and David Ingram for their pictures.




Below: Bill O’Hara, Jimmy Walker, and Roger With 


Pamela O’Hara decorating the tables.


Mardel Shumake transporting visitors in style!






Amma’s Garden shining in God’s Glory



Dr. Rev. Burdett Wantland and his wife, Shirley



JeNeill Sewell, on the left, the oldest member of LLC



Soloist Cynda Pierce, and Director of Music Mary Jane Miles



Guest Speaker, Rev. Winston Skinner



Rev. Denise Bell, Georgia Regional Minister



The Liberty Singers




Pianist, Beth Walker




Senior Minister of LCC, Rev. Anita Renahan-White




Worship Coordinator, Jimmy Walker








The youth of the church and Rev. Anita giving the blessing and benediction.














Jimmy Walker and the Quilts of Valor

Submitted by Glenna With

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

Foundation for Quilt of Valor

Quilt of Valor Recipient, Jimmy Walker

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, our own Jimmy Walker, President of the Georgia Men’s Commission, was awarded a Quilt of Valor by the QOV Foundation at the First United Methodist Church in Newnan, Georgia.  Area veterans are selected to receive a handmade quilt to thank them for their service to our country.  Many of Jimmy’s family and friends were there to share in his celebration of his military service.  Jimmy served in Viet Nam, and his heroic service resulted in the honor of receiving a handmade quilt.

Jimmy Walker
Jimmy Walker is about to be awarded his quilt.

Jimmy Walker
Beth and Jimmy Walker

Jimmy Walker

Roger With, Men's Commission Representative, Mary Jane Miles,
Music Director of Liberty Christian Church, and Jimmy Walker, quilt recipient.

Quilts of Valor Foundation History
Catherine Roberts’ Dream

Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to Catherine:

The dream was as vivid as real life. I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and wellbeing. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was:

Quilts = Healing

The model appeared simple: have a volunteer team who would donate their time and materials to make a quilt. One person would piece the top and the other would quilt it. I saw the name for this special quilt. It was a Quilt of Valor, a QOV.

I knew a Quilt of Valor had to be a quality-made quilt, not a “charity quilt.”  A Quilt of Valor had to be quilted, not tied, which meant hand or machine quilting. Quilts of Valor would be “awarded,” not just passed out like magazines or videos. A Quilt of Valor would say unequivocally, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor” in serving our nation in combat.

Jimmy was honored by this organization last Saturday, and his church, Liberty Christian Church is proud of his service to God, his country, and his church.


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