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Oxford United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
465 Main Street, Oxford, MA
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Our Church History

 

History of Oxford United Methodist Church
 
   In 1830 the first Methodist service was held in Oxford.  Interest in the movement quickly spread and by 1835 it seemed feasible to have a resident minister.  With the help of several influential members of the Universalist Society, the Universalist Church building was freely opened for Methodist services. The “Oxford Methodist Society” was organized on September 15, 1835 with twenty-one members. After several years of holding services in the old center schoolhouse, several private homes, and later in the Universalist Church building, members began planning to build their first church home in 1841. The original building known as the “Methodist Chapel” had later been enlarged, but after approximately twenty-five years it was too small, so members prepared to build a larger church home. This building stood on the corner of Barton and Wheelock Streets.  After completion of the new church building, the old building was sold and moved further down Charlton Street. In 1865 construction of the “new” Methodist Church [located at the point of the triangle between Charlton and Barton Streets] began. After suffering extensive damage from the hurricane of 1938, (and other growing pains) members “out-grew” this building after almost a hundred years. At a special meeting of the Quarterly Conference in 1956, members were inspired by the desire to provide a church home which would accommodate the congregation's changing needs, and unanimously voted that the Methodist Church be relocated to a new site. Mr. & Mrs. Leslie J. Chaffee generously gave the land for our third church home (site of the former Butler’s Tavern). Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on April 19, 1961, the cornerstone was laid October 22, 1961, and worship was first celebrated in the new sanctuary on Palm Sunday April 15, 1962.
   The outside of the nave of the new church building is of brick veneer construction and is said to be one of the most beautiful of the newer churches in the New England United Methodist Conference. The inside of the serrated side walls are decorated with twelve symbols from the Christian faith and above the altar a ten-foot gold cross is mounted on the altar screen.  Several years after the unification of the Methodist Church with the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968, the symbol of a red “flame” was placed beside the cross above the altar, symbolizing the “tongues of fire” that were seen at Pentecost.  The two tongues of the single flame represents the unification of the two denominations.

    From 1835 to the present, our church has been blessed to have been served by sixty-three pastors.  In July 2012 we welcomed our sixty-fourth pastor, the Reverend Wanda Santos-Perez.

 

 

  Those who have gone before us have built wisely and well.  We are proud of the history of our church and proud of its accomplishments of extending the Kingdom of God on earth. To these past builders, pastors, members, and friends,  we are deeply grateful for their sacrificial gifts of money, time and service, and the rich heritage which is ours to continue.   We today follow in their footsteps and pledge to build on their accomplishments for the Glory of Jesus Christ. Over the past one-hundred and seventy-six years, many lives have been touched and changed by stirring worship services, excellent educational programs, inspiring music and community missions. We look forward to continuing the work!  Please join us!




Time Line
1830 - 41 – Methodists meet in the Universalist Church building, several private homes, and in the old center schoolhouse.
1835 – “Oxford Methodist Society” organized, becoming the third established religious society in Oxford.
1841 – Building of Oxford Methodist Chapel, at the corner of Barton & Wheelock Streets (building later moved to #29 Charlton Street). First Church Home for Methodists in Oxford.
1865 - 68 – Construction of Oxford Methodist Church at triangle between Charlton & Barton Streets. Second Church Home for Methodists in Oxford.
1938 – Hurricane causes extensive damage to Methodist Church building on Charlton Street.
1962 – First worship service in the new Methodist Church building at 465 Main Street (corner of Rocky Hill Road). Third Church Home for Methodists in Oxford.