It was late summer of 1937 and the
depression years were severe. Some Christians living on the southwest edge of
Oklahoma City found it difficult to go to the Capitol Hill Church of Christ
located at 2900 S Harvey for services. Some did not have their own
transportation or money for bus fare. They decided to start meeting in the
southwest part of Oklahoma City. They had no meeting house, so they met in the
home of Tom and Bessie Ferguson.
J Harvey Dykes, minister at Capitol
Hill, was asked to conduct an open-air meeting at SW 33 and South Agnew. Several
people were converted and others were restored. This necessitated a larger
meeting place other than the modest home of the Ferguson's. In October of
1937, a building was quickly constructed at
SW 33 and South Miller. It had only
a dirt floor covered by wood shavings to help keep down the dust.
As the church began to grow, the new location became too small. One day,
Vernon Taylor told his wife, Dora, to go out that day and start
looking for a place for sale. In her walking, she stopped by an old store
building at 2512 South Agnew. A split off the Southwest Christian Church
was meeting there. The preacher was there and she learned from him that
they wished to relocate. It was not long until a swap was arranged and the Southwest
congregation found a new home on the northeast corner of SW 25 and South Agnew.
Soon, several members from the Capitol Hill and
Tenth and Francis congregations came to help with the new work. Mr. and Mrs. Lee Dunehue, Mr. and Mrs. John Ridley, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Owens, Mr. and Mrs. Cliff
Mauldin were among them. In February 1940, the Capitol Hill congregation sent
their preacher, Jesse Wiseman along with partial support for his salary to
Southwest. Growth was almost instant and the work became self-supporting.
Classrooms were quickly added on the back of the building (some still say they
were chicken coops). After much thought and prayer, five lots were bought across
the street at 2600 South Agnew. It proved years before a building could be
erected there. World War II caused supplies to be short.
Wiseman soon left for Wichita, Kansas and Curtis
Camp began work with Southwest on October 1, 1940. In the next two years, there
were about 80 additions to the membership. On August 1, 1942, Camp moved to Elk
City, Oklahoma and Howard White was the new minister. He stayed almost two
years. In April 1944, Tom J. Ruble came to Southwest and stayed until 1948. These
were years of great growth and progress for the church.
a fine brick building with a
balcony and a full basement was erected. The auditorium seated 500 people. The
basement contained 12 large classrooms. While the southwest part of the city
was rapidly growing, the Southwest congregation was keeping pace. In 1948,
Walter Bryan and his family came to Southwest. For the next eight years, Bryan
enjoyed a very fruitful ministry. In 1956, the Bryan family moved to the mission
field of Vermont, supported by Southwest. Lewis Hale and family came in
1956 to work at Southwest.
1956, a barracks building from Will Rogers Field was bought and converted into a
classroom annex with a fellowship hall. More space was needed and in 1959, two
lots were bought and a two-story classroom annex was built on the south side of
the auditorium. It provided offices, a nursery, restrooms, and fourteen
classrooms, This allowed for considerable growth. In March 1959, two complete
services on Sunday morning began; two bible schools and two worship services.
This continued for 13 years.
Late in 1970, plans were made for a
auditorium and office complex. Construction began in May 1971 and the first
service was conducted in the new auditorium January 2, 1972.
The new auditorium seated 700 people. The old auditorium was converted into a
classroom and a large fellowship hall.
In 1982, a preschool wing was added along with a large room which
doubles as classrooms and a small fellowship hall. Lots were bought along the
east side and our parking lot was extended.
In 1998, approximately
ten acres were purchased just west of May
Avenue on SW 104 Street. Plans were underway to construct a new facility and
relocate the congregation to this new site, approximately seven miles south and
west of our current location.
Groundbreaking proceeded in March 2001 for the new facility. After
fourteen months of construction, the first service was held on July 7, 2002.
The new facility contains approximately
779 seat auditorium, a large fellowship
hall that also doubles as five classrooms, an educational wing for all ages and
an office complex.
In August 2005,
Logan Cates was hired as an associate minister. Logan and Summer and
their children were active in many areas of the church. Early in 2013,
Logan decided to move back to Wilburton, Oklahoma and work with the church there
again. Also early in 2013, Lewis retired after 57 years of service.
Deffenbaugh was hired as a full-time pulpit minister in July of 2013.
Also, a new associate minister, Darrick Shepherd was hired in August of
2013 to help with young professionals, young families and youth activities.
From the beginning, the Southwest congregation has
placed a strong emphasis on Bible School, Outreach, Benevolence, Youth and
Missions. With this understood, members of the congregation are active in many
different areas. With God's blessing, Southwest will continue to grow and
exceed in many areas of the Lord's Work.