Liberty Church began officially in 1979, but the real beginning was in vision in 1974. Having arrived from the USA as a fairly new believer, Thom Raller met his future wife Ruth Wyse, who came from Dunfermline, at a YWAM discipleship school in Millport. After the school while preparing for marriage, Thom regularly saw Dunfermline's night life from the window of a first-floor flat, and began to be burdened to see a lively Church in Dunfermline that would reach out to these people. With this in mind, Thom and Ruth looked for a place where they might receive some Bible training, and picked out Liberty Bible College in Pensacola, Florida.
Liberty Bible College had emerged within Liberty Church in Pensacola, and was linked with a missions agency called Globe Missionary Evangelism. All three institutions had been founded and were led by the apostolic figure Ken Sumrall.
In the dynamic atmosphere of Liberty Bible College in the seventies, there were many avenues for ministry, but the vision for a Church in Dunfermline remained. Two other couples, David and Debi Kerr and David and Nodya
Havice, were similarly burdened. The result was that these three couples were sent to Dunfermline as a team of missionaries under Globe
Missionary Evangelism. On July 15th 1979, Dunfermline Christian Fellowship began, with its first meetings in the home of Ruth's parents, above a baker's shop in Dunfermline. Beginning with a core group of a
dozen or so, the Church quickly grew, and moved the Sunday meetings into premises in Bruce Street (the YMCA). Then in 1981, the
former Masonic Hall in Priory Lane was purchased, and became the Church's base of operations. With
renovations in several stages, this building was the longest sojourn to date. Much progress was made in the Church whilst at Priory Lane, and many fond memories remain. More important still is the lasting fruit in the lives of many people during that time.
In 1997, Priory Lane was sold. It had become too small, and a limitation to continuing growth and development. The Church moved out into a rented meeting place in May 1998.
Although the three missionary couples formed a team, there was leadership within the team. David Kerr was referred to as Senior Pastor, and Thom Raller and David Havice as Co-Pastors. And being missionaries, the goal was to raise up indigenous leadership (that is, Scottish leadership), work towards handing the Church over to that leadership, and move on to repeat the process elsewhere. In the event, after one year in Scotland, David Kerr responded to the call to become the first Assistant Director of Globe Missionary Evangelism. David and Debi returned to Pensacola, Florida in 1980, and David Havice assumed the title Senior Pastor. At this time, Steve Bowen, an American trained at the same Bible College and also under Globe Missionary Evangelism, joined the team from YWAM. Then in 1982, David and Nodya moved to Perth to begin a new church there, and Thom Raller was set in as Senior Pastor. After just over a year in Perth, the Havices decided their leading was now to return to the USA as pastors, which they did in late 1983. Then in 1985, in response to some stirrings, Thom and Ruth made plans to move to Spain in a church-planting role, and to set in George Alexander as Senior Pastor. George and Mary were set in to these new responsibilities in July 1985 by the existing leadership and David and Debi Kerr, who came over from Pensacola for the purpose. Although Steve and Pattie Bowen were still there in a supportive capacity, the Church after six years was indigenous!
George was a former school teacher and Methodist preacher. Although there were no strings attached, he chose to maintain the relationship links with Pensacola, and in 1986 became the first non-American to be ordained under Liberty Fellowship of Churches and Ministers.
In June 1989, on the occasion of celebrating the tenth anniversary, the name was changed from "Dunfermline Christian Fellowship" to "Liberty Church".
George was Senior Pastor for the next 12 years. Within that time, Steve Bowen moved on in 1989, and at the beginning of 1992, Mike McMahon joined the staff as Associate Pastor. In addition, the Church started to relate apostolically to Derek Brown. In 1997, under Derek's counsel, responsibilities between George and Mike were adjusted in accordance with gifting. This resulted in George being released to more of a teaching focus, and Mike taking the pastoral lead. It was a new situation for all concerned, and not without its confusions. In essence, it proved to be a long-term handover, with George being released to begin Artios Ministries in 2003 as a teaching ministry. Shortly thereafter, Jon Farrimond became the new Associate Pastor. And when Mike responded to the Lord's call to plant churches in the north of England, Jon took over as Senior Pastor in 2008.
Having held Sunday meetings in Pitcorthie Primary School for nearly thirteen years, in March of 2011 the meetings were moved to Queen Anne High School.
History can be a problem if we idolise it and live in the past. But when correctly viewed, history can have a stabilising effect, like the keel of a yacht. We celebrate the milestones, but look to the future. We celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Liberty Church in 2004, with David and Debi Kerr and Thom and Ruth Raller joining us. David and Nodya Havice had planned to come too, but were unable to because of illness. Now Liberty Church has passed the further milestone of being 40 years old, and once again we have our own building, known as Liberty Centre. For all the history, we're more focused on the future, and seeking to use the new building as a centre of expanding operations. We believe the best is yet to come!