Oak Ridge Beginnings
The records indicate the Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1888. The following is a mere glimpse of the history.
Portions of the following were given by past members of Oak Ridge with Deacon Thomas Crockett being one of the key contributors. Deacon Crockett became a member of Oak Ridge in 1913. He passed away on May 22, 1985.
In 1880, Christian men in the neighborhood of Corum Road (now 91st & Parallel) and on Sprewell Hill (now Georgia Avenue) in White Church, Kansas saw a need for a church in their community. The men Asberry Porter, Willis Porter, Mel Sharp, Wade Scott, Allen Thompson, and Kemp Turner began holding services in their homes and became the “Colored Missionary Baptist Church of the Association of the State Kansas.” The Association provided visiting ministers for some Sundays. This practice continued for several years.
Church Grounds (Old)
After much investigation for land and fervent prayer, J.E. Bogart gave the land to the church in 1888. with the stipulation that the land be used for ‘the express and only purpose as a place of worship”. The land along Parallel was a high ridge with large oak trees densely planted, hence the name of “Oak Ridge” was chosen for the church. Later, the church became known as “the little church on the hill”.
The men of the church built a basement of stone and services were held there in the beginning. It took many years to build the church, money was very scarce, but by the early 1900’s they were in a building.
In the early years, ministers were not plentiful, so there were visiting ministers who would take care of the church’s needs until a pastor was chosen. There have been eleven pastors who have served over the past years: Rev. Robinson, Rev. David Thompson, Rev. Parker, Rev. Riggins, Rev. James A. Alexander, Rev. Moses Williams, Rev. Colbert, Rev. Willie Brown and Rev. David H. Lewis. The tenth pastor, Rev. Wallace L. Downs began his service in 1973 and continued until his death in 1996.
Church Grounds (New)
Under the pastorate of Rev. Downs, a new edifice was erected by purchasing a little over two acres of land from Mrs. Anna Jackson. The congregation marched into the new building on March 13, 1994, the dedication service was held on April 17, 1994. We were blessed to receive many monetary donations.
After the death of Rev. Downs, Rev. Hansel G. Maltbia, Jr. became the pulpit conductor. Through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a Pastor’s Search Committee was formed.
Our eleventh pastor, Rev. Ricky D. Turner, was installed by his home church, Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Oklahoma City on April 5, 1998.
The membership continues to increase under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with Pastor Turner being the instrument. Many new ministries have been added and souls have been added to the congregation.
We have also been shown the goodness and greatness of God’s wonder working power. We had been praying for land to build a new edifice due to our growing congregation. On Monday, May 12, 2003, the Lord answered our prayers. We purchased 13.9 acres of land diagonally across the street from where we were located.
On January 18, 2004 the Ground Breaking Services for the building of the new edifice was held. We moved from 9200 Parallel Parkway to 9301 Parallel Parkway on Sunday, January 23, 2005. Prior to holding worship services, the premises were dedicated unto our God. Phase I of the building project had now been completed with the erection of a new edifice, parking lots and a family life center totaling $3.5 million dollars.
Phase II of our building program began in July 2006. This phase included the Sanctuary expansion, locker rooms, showers and restrooms, Children’s Worship and Children’s Activity Center, offices and parking lot. The cost of Phase II was 1.5 million dollars.
Looking to the Future
Our continued growth is a true testament to the awesomeness of God as we continue to follow the shepherd of our flock Pastor Turner. As we remember our past and our co-laborers in Christ who have gone on before us, let us continue to build upon that “sure foundation”. The foundation has been set, and under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Turner, we are continuing to build on that foundation which is Jesus Christ our Lord.
By the grace of God the best is still yet to come.