Oak Park United Methodist Church
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Be Aglow with the Spirit
Seventh Street UMC             Oak Park UMC                                    Grace UMC
     Oak Park United Methodist Church, in name, only goes back to 1996. But the two churches from which Oak Park was given birth -- Grace and Seventh Street United Methodist Churches -- provide a rich heritage that largely defines who the Oak Park family is today.
     Grace was originally founded by the Evangelical Association of North America whose leader, Jacob Albright, viewed Texas a fertile ground for the gospel to be preached to German-speaking people. With an influx of German settlers in the Temple area, Peace Church of the Evangelical Association was officially chartered on October 29, 1882 with twenty-one members and was located at 601 South Main Street, where the last-built sanctuary still stands. In 1946 the Evangelical Association and the United Brethren in Christ denominations merged to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist denominations merged to form the United Methodist Church, and the church became known as Grace United Methodist Church.
     The Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, at its annual session held in November 1891, authorized the establishment of a mission church in South Temple. The church was chartered as the Southside Methodist Church with 90 members. The name was changed to Seventh Street at a quarterly conference held in 1899. In 1924, with a Sunday School attendance of 250-300, the outgrown facilities were torn down and a basement was built and occupied. Despite a national financial depression, the church laid the cornerstone of their newly-completed sanctuary on May 3, 1931 -- the sanctuary that still stands today on Seventh Street.
     In 1994 discussions were held with the Grace and St. Paul congregations as to the possibility of merging to form a new congregation. Grace and Seventh Street voted to merge, and at a Church Conference held in June of 1996 they joined together to form the Oak Park UMC> Groundbreaking for their new building at our present site was held on November 23, 1997. The first worship and consecration service was held on October 18, 1998. In 2008 the church voted to add a six-room addition that would house our children's and music ministries. The consecration service for the new addition was held on February 8, 2009. In the heritage of the churches from which our church was given birth, we pray for the blessing of God upon our church.