Minister serves church for 50 years


UNION CITY, Ind. — Harold Libert has been a minister in Union City for 50 years as of this month, having started in June 1966 at Trinity Lutheran Church, west of here.

Libert, who will mark his 93rd birthday on July 7, is now pastor of First Christian Church in Union City, Indiana. He goes up to the church every day and preaches every Sunday.

Libert was ordained a minister in 1966, after graduating from seminary in Columbus.

He pastored at Trinity Lutheran, his first church, for four years. Then, he started Overcomer Assembly Church on Wasson Road south of Union City and preached there until 1990.

“I loafed until 2000, and began preaching at First Christian Church, which was started in 1849 or so,” he said. “I was restless as a retired pastor and I either wanted a job or work as a minister.”

“I was organist there [at First Christian], and they asked him if he would come in as an interim,” wife Jerri said.

“And, I’m still there,” he said.

The couple had met after he came home from the U.S. Navy at a swimming pool. Both are from northern Ohio; the former Jerri Forrer from Rittman and he from Wadsworth.

Libert said he served all of his military time at Naval air stations in the States.

When they met, he was attending Ohio State University on the GI Bill, and they ended up getting married six months later. She worked on campus.

“I graduated in engineering and worked as an engineer for 12 years,” Libert recalled. “I had a desire to serve the Lord. I thought I could go in Wycliff Bible Translators, but after I talked to a Lutheran pastor he told me I should go into a pastorate.”

So, he did.

He had about 100 members at Overcomers Assembly, but said it subsequently “fizzled out” because it offered no Sunday school.

“Everything changed in 50 years,” said Libert, who worked as an engineer at Maul Technology in Winchester, Indiana, the whole time he preached at Overcomers Assembly.

“Overcomers was a lot more informal and it was non-denominational,” Jerri offered.

First Christian Church is mostly older members.

“We have 25 in our congregation on a good day,” he said.

The Liberts, who have lived at their present address since 1975, are the parents of three sons, Mark of Greenville, whose name is linked with square dancing in the area; Rick, who is an attorney in Indianapolis; and Tim of Shelbyville, Indiana, an engineer. They have several stepgrandchildren and stepgreat-grandchildren as well.

The Liberts have been active over the years and still are involved in some things.

“I used to be a photographer,” he said.

“He has entered and won at a couple of art shows,” his wife proudly stated. “He has been to Europe, Norway and Austria and we went to Maine when his sister was there.”

She herself taught at IU East in Richmond, Indiana.

“Political science and history were my majors,” she said. “I went back to school after 60 years and earned three degrees, my associate’s and bachelor’s at IU East and my master’s in political science at Ball State University. I liked my professor; he made it interesting.”

She said her husband was supportive of her decision to further her education.

How will it feel to be 93?

“I don’t know,” Libert replied. “I’ve never been 93 before.”

How does he want to spend it?

“As peacefully as possible,” he said.

By Linda Moody

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