Oakwood Christian Church has invited the public to a Soup and Song celebration of the 110th anniversary of the church's charter on Sunday, Oct. 14.
From 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. soup and sandwiches will be served in the fellowship hall in the basement. A chair lift is located in the back of the church to reach the basement for those with mobility issues.
Music will be presented from 1:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. Guests may tour the church and learn about its history. Guests are welcome attend any part of the celebration. The church will have its regular service at 9 a.m. Tom Day is pastor. Mark Kempker and Michael Bost are co-chairmen of the celebration.
Jana Suchland, church secretary, provided the following church history.
Oakwood Christian Church was organized Nov. 8, 1908, with 21 charter members. The formation was mainly through the efforts of Miss Sallie Glascock. The first minister was Brother J.K. Dubois, who preached without charge. Dubois was a cobbler in the Oakwood community. The church met each Sunday in a hall over the Oakwood Bank Building.
The Ladies Aid Society raised funds to purchase the lot at St. Charles and Price Streets. Weekly offerings were put aside for the construction of a church building. Construction on the building began in February 1910 and was finished on October 1911.
When the Ocean Wave Christian Church disbanded in 1914 it brought its membership and church equipment to the Oakwood Christian Church, including a pulpit, Bible, piano and some pews. By 1918 the ladies of the church had enough money to construct a basement beneath the building. In 1937 the Loyal Bereans Sunday School class had raised funds to add on a classroom with basement. In 1973 funds were accumulated for four additional classrooms, a nursery, a narthex and church offices.
In the 1990s Chester McDaniel approached the Board with the idea of placing a stained glass window in memory of his wife, Vi, on the chancel. The Biggers and Haden families offered to donate windows on the other side of the chancel to balance it out. Eventually all the windows were adopted in memory or honor of church family members. A steeple was added in 1998.
Many pastors have served Oakwood Christian Church. For 18 months in the 1920s Mrs. James Lee from Center was the first female pastor. Later Phoebe Blankenship and Norma Bernard served as interim pastors. The church is proud to have had women serve in the pulpit.
In the beginning many pastors were part- time or were students from Culver-Stockton College. When the church grew to almost 200 members a full-time minister was hired. Later as membership declined the church had bi-vocational pastors or shared pastors with Perry and New London Christian Churches. The current pastor, Tom Day, also serves First Christian Church of New London.