St. Luke's in Oklahoma City to celebrate 125th anniversary

St Luke’s United Methodist Church will celebrate its 125 church anniversary on Sunday in downtown Oklahoma City.
From Staff Reports Published: May 3, 2014

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary Sunday.

Church leaders said the church’s actual anniversary was last week, but the celebration was postponed due to the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, which was April 27.

Leaders said the church was founded when a group of people gathered around a white flag to “stake their claim for generations to come.”

In 1893, the church’s founders built a house of worship they called The Tabernacle. In 1908, the church moved to Eighth Street and Robinson Avenue under the name of St. Luke’s. Membership grew to almost 10,000. In 1951, St. Luke’s moved to its current location at 222 NW 15, and at one time became the second-largest Methodist church in America.

The 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were difficult decades for Oklahoma City, and the church was affected. With residents experiencing financial strain, civil unrest, a major oil crash and the mass exodus of people moving from the city to the suburbs. St. Luke’s membership decreased from almost 10,000 to 4,000.

In the midst of these difficult years, the church made a pivotal decision to build a Christian life center, a leap of faith when so many were moving out of the downtown area. The center was completed shortly after the arrival of the Rev. Bob Long in 1991.

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