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Western Oaks Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

History of Western Oaks Christian Church


*	1962	Oklahoma Christian Church Commission purchases three acres of land 
                                           adjacent to Western Oaks Middle School
*	1964	Oklahoma Christian Church Commission purchases a house at 2600 N. 
                                           Council Road and the first service is held on February 9, with 22 
                                           families as charter members and Rev. Clifford Farriester as the 
                                           first called part-time minister
*	1964	Rev. Archie Taylor becomes first full-time minister and another building fund 
                                           campaign nets $15,000 in pledges in September;  
                                           Oklahoma Christian Church Commission sells three 
                                           acres by Western Oaks Middle School and purchases 
                                           six acres at 8100 NW 23rd Street, our current address
*	1967	Rev. Robert Porter becomes full-time minister and another building fund 
                                           campaign nets 10,000 in pledges from 74 members. Christian 
                                           Church United Capital Campaign grants $15,000 for 
                                           a building, and ground breaking occurs
*	1968	First building (now the Community/Youth area) is dedicated March 1, 1968
*	1968	Rev. Jerry Johnson becomes Senior Minister
*	1971	Phase II (now Schwind Hall) building program fund raising begins and 
                                           building  is dedicated
*	1972	Ground breaking occurs and second building is dedicated 
*	1978	Phase II (now Choir Room, Classrooms, Fellowship areas, Restrooms, and 
                                           Kitchen)  building  program fund raising begins and building 
                                           is dedicated
*	1982	Phase IV (now Minister's office, Restrooms, Narthex, and Sanctuary) building 
                                           program  fund-raising begins
*	1983	Phase IV building is dedicated May 1
*	1985	WOCC Land Run begins and a strip of land purchased to provide additional 
                                           parking and  an entrance from Council Road
*	1986	Jim Zug becomes Senior Minister
*	1990	Rev. Dr. Jim Gordon becomes Senior Minister
*	1995	Rev. Gene Aikman becomes Interim Minister
*	1997	Rev. Michael Omundson becomes Senior Minister
*	2002	Rev. Kyle Maxwell becomes Interim Minister
*	2003	Rev. Dr. John Regan becomes Senior Minister
*	2004	WOCC adopts "Loving God and Serving our Neighbors" as its motto
*	2005	Capital Campaign "Sharing the Light - Changing the World" begins with 
                                           $370,000 pledged  over three years
*	2007	Children's playground campaign begins, and the new Children's 
                                           playground is dedicated
*	2007	Additional acre purchased along Council Road for $105,000
*	2008	Ground breaking and construction begins on driveway to Council Road
*	2008	WOCC sends its first minister on Sabbatical on June 1 and selects Rev. Kyle 
                                           Maxwell as Interim Sabbatical minister; Congregational 
                                           Sabbatical  work begins
*	2013	Rev. Don Gibson becomes Transitional Senior Minister
*	2014	Rev. Daniel U'Ren becomes Senior Minister


50 years of Memories by Suzanne Watts Parker
Charter Member of Western Oaks Christian Church

In January of 1964, I read a small article in a Bethany newspaper about the Disciples of 
Christ starting a new church in Bethany, OK. It immediately caught my attention because 
of the location which was just north of 23rd street and Council. I made a couple of phone 
calls to inquire about when and exactly where. I had attended the First Christian Church 
in Yukon, OK, since I was a child, was married in that church and still attending it with my 
husband, and two young sons, Mark and Darren Watts. We talked about leaving my home 
church of so many years that was well established and leaving our friends in that church 
and starting out with a brand new small church and the challenges that would be ahead. 
Also, thought about the close distance that we would be from the new church opposed to 
the drive we made every Sunday to Yukon. We made the decision to change churches and 
started to attend Western Oaks Christian Church the very first Sunday. It is hard to believe 
that it will be 50 years on Feb. 9, 2014 since we became "charter members" and started on 
a wonderful and amazing journey. I want to share some things about our first "church" in 
the beginning.
There was a "Steering Committee" that had been selected to get this church started. I 
remember, Charlie and Jo Terry, Earl and Jerry Pendley, Blackie and Ruth Clutts, Jargo 
and Louise Hillman, Forrest and Hazel Morris, Charles and Anna Mae Watts, and Louise 
Cassel. Our first minister to come and preach on Sundays was Rev. Clifford Farrister; later, 
Rev. Don Heath. Our first full-time minister was Rev. Robert Porter, followed by Rev. Archie 
Taylor, then Rev. Jerry Johnson who remained our faithful and beloved minister for 21 
years. We worshiped in the "house" for about three or four years before our first church 
structure was built on the property that our church still stands on today.
Our first church was not what we call an official looking church. It was a house that had 
been converted into a "house of worship." The house still sits right behind Buy for Less 
grocery store at 23rd street and Council. We drove up a small hill to the house and the cars 
parked in the back of the house in the beginning. As we acquired more members, you 
would see cars parked up and down the hill in the front of the house under the beautiful 
trees on Sunday mornings. Members did a lot of work inside. The garage was converted 
into our temporary sanctuary, the living room and three bedrooms were used for Sunday 
School classes for the children. We had an adult Sunday School class that met in the 
sanctuary before the church service. The small kitchen was used for serving food, some 
cooking, fixing communion, fellowship dinners, etc. Back then, we didn't have any hired 
employees, the church members took turns cleaning the church and having it ready for the 
Sunday morning services. We were also fortunate to have several men in the church who 
were very generous with their skills, their time, and some in a profession to build, repair, 
and acquire needed items to keep us going for a lot of years before we were able to have a 
large church budget. It is amazing to think back and remember that some Sundays in the 
beginning months we might have 11 to 20 people regularly attending. Some of us in 
thinking back still refer to our first church as "The little house on the Prairie that became 
a church."

And so we began, not to just meet and worship God in this new formed church, but we also 
began to cultivate friendships, became a loving and supportive congregation not only of 
this church but for each other. Many of those friendships are still shared in this church 
today. We began to grow and we brought many young families into the church with young 
children, and several of those children are still active members with children of their own 
that attend WOCC today. We were fortunate to have good leaders in the beginning. As our 
congregation grew, we acquired more and more wonderful members, devoted to this 
church and serving in so many capacities as they were asked. I have to mention some of 
the devoted first church members that joined and attended while we worshiped in this 
house and were active at WOCC for many years when we were a "young" church and think 
that we should pay tribute to and thank them for their loving support and dedication. All of 
the "Steering Committee" members: Tommy Johnson family, Pat Gentis family, Carl Perry 
family, Jim Burke family, Harvey Norris family, Pat Brady family, Henry Thiems family, 
Joe Bonham family, Leo Kirk family, Bill Halpain family, Bill Deason family, Mickey McGuire 
family, Joe Mercer family, Jim Egger family, Harold Pace family, Lloyd Pratt family, and 
Cy Barnes family. I know that I have missed a few and I apologize.
It has been an incredible journey for me to attend this church for 50 years and see how 
much it has been a part of my life for me and my family, and has been there for me through 
the good times and the sad times. I am thankful for the best friends I have acquired in the 
very beginning and through the years; and watching this church grow into the wonderful 
well established church it is today, for all of the dedicated ministers, leaders and loving and 
supportive congregation that WOCC has always been and will continue to be in the future 
of this blessed church.

Charter Members

Cy and Dorothy Barnes, Hugh and Frieda Bonham, Joe and Roberta Beisel, Louise Cassell,
S. W. (Blackie) and Ruth Clutts, Barbara Collier, Johnny and Mildred Danniels, Ray and 
Ester Drechsler, Clifford and Irene Farriester, Pat and Mary Lou Gentis, Harold and Shirley 
Harweld, Hjalmar and Louise Hillman, Lucretia Hillman, Phil Irwin, Daryle (Tommy) and Mary 
Jo Johnson, Gladys Johnson, Leo and Anna Mae Kirk, Edgar and Elizabeth Lonas, Forrest 
and Hazelle Morris, Curtis and Evelyn Owen, Suzanne Parker, Earl and Jerry Pendley, Jack 
and Sue Penwrigh, Carl Perry, Jane Perry, Phil and Lois Rodgers, Leo and Benny Tate, 
Charles and Josephine Terry, Henry and Wanda Thiems, Charles and Anna May Watts, 
Howard Watts, Jess and Jane Webster, Mike and Patty Williams.