Late 1900s - Early 2000s
7th Pastor – Rev. Richard M. Rice – 35 year tenure, 2 years Pastor Emeritus
On October 23, 1976 Rev. Richard M. Rice was unanimously elected Pastor and Rev. White was elected Assistant Pastor of the church; at the same time.
Rev. Rice began his pastorate at the Liberty Baptist Church on December 1, 1976. The first family officially joined the church on that Sunday, the first Sunday Rev. Rice preached to the congregation as our Pastor-Elect. He was the former Pastor of the Second New Hope Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was installed, Sunday, February 20, 1977.
Many events have highlighted Rev. Rice’s pastorate. On November 26, 1978, during our 109th Church Anniversary Celebration the mortgage was officially burned. Since then, general improvements have been made to the church and other building structures. A parking lot in the rear of the church was purchased and a garage was built to house the new van purchased in 1979.
On Saturday October 4, 1981, an unprecedented event took place in Liberty. Four Sons of the church were ordained; namely Rev. James T. Williams, Rev. Eric Cooper, Rev. Dwight Dawson and Rev. Benjamin Butler.
In 1982, Liberty established the Community Services Food Bank under the guidance of the late Rev. Benjamin Butler. Since that service has been established they have done much to reach out to the community. Presently they are affiliated with the SHARE food program and have been for as long as it has been in the DC area.
In March 1986, Rev. James T. Williams was elected Assistant to the Pastor to assist and learn from the aging Rev. Frank White.
Rev. Rice added “SERVING ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF HISTORY” to our theme to enhance it.
Over the years other ministers have been called, trained and ordained to the ministry. They are the late Rev. Lawrence Anderson, Sr. and the late Rev. Calvin Nedd.
The following members were also licensed under Rev. Rice; the late, Minister Jean Blanchard and Ministers Anthony Holland, Adora Wilmore, Barbara Melvin Duncan, William R. Jones, Jr., Rodney Nedd and Lawrence K. Floyd.
Rev. William Jones, Jr., was ordained in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he received his training while in the service and Rev. Margaret Kidd, after being ordained under the Women’s Evangelistic Conference of Washington, DC and Vicinity, came back home to Liberty.
In November 1998, the church took on an $85,000.00 project for general repairs to our church and massive renovations to the lower auditorium and restrooms.
On June 18, 2005, Liberty experienced another milestone in her history. The first woman to be ordained in our church, Rev. Barbara Melvin Duncan; formerly of the Methodist faith, and the youngest in age (19) Rev. Lawrence K. Floyd, were ordained. Before branching out on faith, Rev. Floyd served our youth as their minister, while Rev. Duncan headed the newly organized Women’s Fellowship Ministry and was the first Church Administrator.
As our Deacons aged, Rev. Rice enlisted the church to appoint new Deacons and in May of 2007 on Officers Day the church ordained 4 new Deacons; Reginald Blackwell, William Johnson, Kirk Williams and Ricki Wilson.
After years of declining health, Rev. Rice tenured his resignation effective, September 30, 2011 and became Pastor Emeritus. On November 17, 2013, Rev Rice went home to be with his Lord. The pulpit was vacant for almost 3 years.
Doing this time Deacon William R. Jones, Sr., Deacon’s Ministry Chairperson, with the help of Rev. James T. Williams have kept Liberty’s torch burning. It was doing this time on January 15, 2013, that Rev. Duncan became the first women to baptize members here at Liberty. It was her pleasure to take to the water 5th generation family members of one of Liberty’s loyal families down through the years.