City Presbyterian Church

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Pilgrim Congregational Church
Pilgrim Congregational Church, Oklahoma City.jpg
City Presbyterian Church is located in Oklahoma
City Presbyterian Church
City Presbyterian Church is located in the United States
City Presbyterian Church
Location1433 Classen Drive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Coordinates35°29′0.24″N 97°31′37.07″W / 35.4834000°N 97.5269639°W / 35.4834000; -97.5269639Coordinates: 35°29′0.24″N 97°31′37.07″W / 35.4834000°N 97.5269639°W / 35.4834000; -97.5269639
ArchitectHawk & Parr
Architectural styleLate Gothic Revival
NRHP reference #84003389
Added to NRHP1984

City Presbyterian Church (originally Park Congregational Church and later Pilgrim Congregational Church) is the name of a church located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The current congregation has no direct connection to the one which originally occupied the building. The building sits on a lot bound by 13th Street and Classen Drive, and therefore has two different street addresses. The "front" (main entrance) of the church is at 1433 Classen Drive, but the address listed on church literature and used for mail delivery is 829 NW 13th Street. The congregation, which informally calls itself "City Pres," is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastored by Rev. Doug Serven and Rev. Bobby Griffith.[1]

Building history[edit]

Originally called Park Congregational Church, the church was designed by the Oklahoma City architectural firm Hawk & Parr and built in 1920, of red brick and limestone in Late Gothic Revival style. The name of the congregation was changed to Pilgrim Congregational Church soon after, and the building was known by this name for most of its history.

During its heyday the church was the place of worship for many of Oklahoma City's civic leaders, including The Oklahoman's publisher E.K. Gaylord.[2] From 1924 to 1935 the church was led by Frank Milton Sheldon, who wrote a number of religious texts, later became the minister at Milwaukee's NRHP-listed Grand Avenue Congregational Church, and was described by the Milwaukee Journal as "one of America's best known ministers".[3][4]

The congregation was later absorbed into Oklahoma City's Mayflower Community Church, a member of the United Church of Christ,[2] and sold the property to a local architect in the late 1970s. The architect used part of the property for offices while renting out the main worship space for religious functions, then attempted unsuccessfully to convert part of the space to residential use before selling it in 1989. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984,[5] but fell into disrepair under subsequent ownership.[6] In 2000 the building was purchased by a pair of doctors, who later announced plans to convert it into a health spa.[6] They added an indoor swimming pool and other facilities, but the spa project was unsuccessful. The building was offered for sale by auction in June 2011,[2] but failed to sell.[7]

Congregation history[edit]

City Presbyterian Church started with a group of about 20 people who began meeting in a private home in Norman, Oklahoma in the summer of 2011, with the goal of planting a PCA church in downtown Oklahoma City. That fall and winter they held a few worship services, started small group meetings throughout the city, and held social events and service projects in an effort to reach out to the Oklahoma City community. City Presbyterian held its first worship service on January 15, 2012. From January 2012 through March 2014 it met in space which was rented or borrowed from various churches in downtown Oklahoma City.[8]

On September 8, 2013, City Presbyterian Church announced that it had entered into an agreement to purchase the building formerly belonging to Pilgrim Congregational Church. The purchase was completed on November 1, 2013, and after completing renovations the church held a "grand opening" of the building on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014.[9][10] On Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014, City Presbyterian Church officially transitioned from a mission church to a self-governing congregation within the Presbyterian Church in America.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Our Story", City Presbyterian Church (accessed 2014-11-20)
  2. ^ a b c Richard Mize, "Oklahoma City's historic Pilgrim Congregational Church house goes on the block", The Oklahoman, June 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "Hail Doctor Sheldon in Pulpit Here", Milwaukee Journal, April 15, 1935.
  4. ^ "Rev. Sheldon Dead: Served Church Here", Milwaukee Journal, May 22, 1956.
  5. ^ National Register listings for Oklahoma County (accessed June 18, 2011),
  6. ^ a b Janice Francis-Smith, "Doctors redevelop church into health and wellness center", The Journal Record, January 27, 2003.
  7. ^ Richard Mize, "Former Pilgrim Congregational Church in Oklahoma City fails to sell at auction", The Oklahoman, June 28, 2011.
  8. ^ "Our Story", City Presbyterian Church (accessed 2015-06-19)
  9. ^ "Building", City Presbyterian Church (accessed 2014-02-15)
  10. ^ Richard Mize, "City Presbyterian in Oklahoma City skips lease, buys vacant Pilgrim Congregational property", The Oklahoman, November 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "And there you have it – a long post on thankfulness", City Presbyterian Church (accessed 2015-06-19)

External links[edit]