When the Baptist Church in downtown Liberty was founded in October 1844, President John Tyler was in office. This year, the church celebrates its 175th anniversary, and coincidentally, it is expanding. A groundbreaking ceremony, attended by about 30 members of the congregation, took place Sunday after the worship service.

Deacon Kevin Coffin said in the next couple of weeks, phase one of the project will move forward with an addition, extending the footprint of the church about 20 feet back and adding another story. The addition will give the church needed classroom space and more room for fellowship suppers. At present, church school is held in the basement of the church.

According to Coffin, the church has been saving for this event for almost 30 years, and hopes to finish the final phase of the inside classroom and meeting space "as funds are available."

He is hoping that, when people see the construction going on, it will encourage them to join in the effort. Liberty Baptist Church currently has a congregation of about 45 to 55 people, Coffin said, with a lot of young people. He would like to reach out to more young adults, he said.

In the late summer or early fall, the church will have its annual picnic, this year celebrating the milestone anniversary. Coffin said members of the community are invited. In previous years, he said, 125 people have turned out for the annual event.

"We're just excited to see the continued growth in the church," Coffin said, "and hope to see this project completed."

To learn more about the church or to contribute to the building fund, visit facebook.com/KatieLight1234/.