First Methodist Church Collection
Although services were conducted in the new town of Oklahoma City on the first Sunday following the Land Run, the First Methodist Episcopal Church, with 17 members, was formally organized on June 23, 1889 by Rev. James Murray, the same Murray who was elected mayor in the “big tent” election of the Walker-Murray colony. He was deeply immersed in the town politics, and was succeeded on July 21, 1889, by Rev. A. G. Murray, of Baldwin City, Kansas.
Rev. A. G. Murray was the true pioneer of the church. Said to have boundless ardor, enthusiasm, and sacrificial spirit and without a dollar’s worth of property to start with, he and his small flock secured the site which has ever since been occupied by the First church.
In the construction of the original wood frame building, Rev. Murray labored day by day with his own hands, and on October 27, 1889, a building of which the whole town was proud was dedicated by Dr. Bernard Kelley of Topeka. After the sermon, it was announced that it was necessary to raise $300 in order to dedicate the building free of debt. Within 20 minutes $339 was subscribed. Thus came into being the First Methodist church of Oklahoma City.
At the turn of the 20th Century a number of significant church buildings were built along N Robinson Avenue but only First Methodist, at NW 4th and Robinson, remained at the site upon which it was born. The sturdy brick building still in use today was built at a cost of $35,000 in 1904 with the education building added in the 1920s. Also added in the 1920s were the chimes which are still so familiar to Downtowners today.
First Methodist Church was heavily damaged by the blast which destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Repairs were made and a new education building constructed before the church reopened on Easter Sunday 1998.