Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)


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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.

Western Oaks Christian Church - 8100 NW 23rd Street - Oklahoma City, OK 73127
Phone: 405-789-8812, FAX: 405-789-8814