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Sunday, April 26, 2015

19th Century Words of Merit

The Methodist Church, in one form or another, was in the area of present day Oklahoma from an early date.  The first works with the Native Americans in eastern Oklahoma. Schools and churches were built and they provide some of the oldest efforts in state history

"And now, brethern and sisters, co-workers together with me in Christ...Think much, say little, work mightly.  Spend no time in controversy when souls are perishing. Preach salvation, warm, fresh, vigorous and full of love. Live in constant favor with God....let your library consist largely of the Bible, the Dictionary, the Discipline, the Catechism, and the Hymnal book.   Abolish such nonsensical and unscriptural hymns as"We're Going To Heaven Tomorrow", and substitute soul-stirring music, filled with the Bible religion and sense. Think of inviting a sinner to give his heart to Jesus to-morrow, or of being saved to-morrow. No, let us drift back into hymns filled with the Holy Spirit and God will honor us."

---Rev. James Murray, First Session of the Indian Mission Conference, Tulsa, Creek Nation, March 21, 1889 as recorded in H.E. Brill's Story of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Oklahoma : Authorized by the Oklahoma Annual Conference, October 22, 1938. (Oklahoma City: The University Press, 1939. pg. 27.).

This may be the song referred to: We're Going Home Tomorrow 

First German Methodist Church of OKC

Rev. J.A. Ross was the first missionary from the West German Conference to Oklahoma Territory.  He organized "SALEM CHURCH" on Nov. 15, 1891 and its first building was at California and Harvey Streets in downtown Oklahoma City.
The pastor from 1899-1908 was J. Buthman and he oversaw the building of the second structure of this congregation at Lee and 8th Street in 1907.   The church became known as the GERMAN METHODIST CHURCH or the German Methodist Episcopal Church until 1925 when it became known as the Eighth Street Methodist Church.
In 1914, a funeral notice for Anton Classen, father of Anton H. Classen, president of the Oklahoma Railroad Company, was announced. It would be held at the German Methodist Church at 8th and Lee with pastor Rev. Klein officiating. (Oklahoman, July 16, 1914, pg. 7).    In 1926-27, the pastor was S.P. Gaskin, who returned to speak in 1932.
Early Oklahoma City records indicate (as do state wide records) a notable community of Germans residing in the region. Census records and city directories indicate an increase in the names of apparent German origin.   "By 1890 there were 739 German-born residents of Oklahoma Territory. A decade later the German-born exceeded five thousand, and that number more than doubled to ten thousand by 1910." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History.  In 1932, at a celebration, services were to be held in German,  there was to be a sermon by the founder (A.J. Ross) and a basket dinner prepared by the women's societies of the congregation.

("Oldest German-American Church to Celebrate". Oklahoman (August 19, 1932. p10).

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mystery Woman from OKC

Mystery Woman
This small thumb sized image was found inside a book with the inscription "Theron C. McGee".  A 1944 city directory indicates a "Theron and Donie McGee" lived at 1539 NW 24 in Oklahoma City.  He was listed as an instructor.  The book was a 1912 Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1947 he was listed as Associate Professor of Religion at Oklahoma City University according to their yearbook. He attended Wesley UMC in OKC at one time. Is this his wife?

More Classic Works on Methodism in Oklahoma

Brill, H.E.  The Story of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Oklahoma City, University Press,1939.
Brill, H.E.  The Story of Oklahoma City University and its Predecessors. Oklahoma City, University Press, 19
Clegg and Oden. Oklahoma Methodism in the Twentieth Century. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Conference of Methodism/Parthenon, 1968.

Classic Work on Oklahoma Methodism

Mitchell, Paul D. From Tepees to Towers: A History of the Methodist Church in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Annual Conference, 206 pgs.

Classic History of Oklahoma Methodism

Author: Babcock, Sidney Henry, and Bryce, John Y.
Publisher: Times Journal Publishing Company
Pages: 488
Language: English
Call number: BX8248 .O5 B33 1935
Digitizing sponsor: Drew University with a grant from the American Theological Library Association
Book contributor: Drew University and the General Commission of Archives and History for the United Methodist Church

Classic History Book of Oklahoma City University

Story of the Oklahoma City University and Its Predecessors by H.R. Brill was published in 1938 by the University Press of OCU. At 263 pages it includes several plates of images.
H.R. Brill was a retired minister who ran the printing arm of the university.
It traces the roots of Oklahoma City University from its origins as Texas Wesleyan College, Fort Worth University, Epworth University (1904 in OKC), Methodist University (1912-1919 in Guthrie) and finally Oklahoma City University from 1919-1938 (the date of publication).
A detailed look via records, class lists, yearbooks and other records concerning the early schools, faculties and events.

For more on modern OCU click here.

Wesley UMC : OKC's Forgotten Jewel

Wesley Methodist Church was founded in 1910 in a simple wooden church at NW 32 and Military. In 1911, the structure was dismantled and moved to NW 25 and Douglas (its current location).   Today, Wesley United Methodist Church sits within blocks of Oklahoma City University, at the edge of the Asian District, along the old Route 66 City Loop, and one of the busiest streets in the metro area.
In 1928, with a congregation over 1,000 members, the new gothic style brick sanctuary was dedicated. It featured numerous memorial stained glass windows, the use of many Christian symbols and mirrored the classic sacred architecture dating to the middle ages.  A tall Celtic cross adorns the pinnacle of the east facing front of the sanctuary.
The new church featured an organ and an impressive emphasis on the finest of classical and Christian music through the years.    Numerous community leaders, authors, scholars, and visionaries attended or gave their support to the ongoing work and ministry of Wesley Methodist Church. These included several presidents of OCU and one pastor who went on to become an OKC Mayor. Over the years the church grew, reaching its zenith in the 1960's with over 3,000 members. It was at that time the largest church in OKC. In the 1980's it pioneered a broadcast television program from the sanctuary that reached into literally millions of homes in the state.
In 2006, with the establishment of the new Asian Cultural District, Wesley became a link from the areas dynamic Route 66 history to a vital future enlarged by the addition of many, many cultures in the community.