In 1817, the Methodist Church won the honor of being the first Protestant Church to establish work in the area we now call Oklahoma. Over the next 78 years, from 1817 to 1895, Methodist missionaries and circuit riders served the spiritual needs of all the inhabitants in our “neck of the woods.” We owe an outstanding debt to those early-day “Soldiers of the Cross” who endured unbelievable hardships in bringing the gospel to this frontier land and its people. They paved the way for the establishment, in 1895, of the formal Methodist Church in Sapulpa, Indian Territory.
Methodist Episcopal Church, South to Unification 1895-1942
In 1894, under the leadership of the Rev. J. F. Thompson, P.E. (Presiding Elder) of the Tulsa District, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized in Sapulpa, Indian Territory. By 1895, the members had built Sapulpa’s first church building on the southwest corner of Main and Thompson Streets. The Rev. William M. Pope had been assigned as the minister to serve the fledgling church.
In 1908, the Rev. J.C. Jeter arranged to sell the original “Little White Church” to the Christian Science people and bought property on the northwest corner of Lee and Walnut, where a beautiful new church with a glass dome was completed by 1910. Although the three branches of Methodism had voted to merge in 1939, this congregation continued to worship here until 1942, when the church building was condemned. This same year, the congregation joined with the North Methodist in the church building located at the southeast corner of Water and Thompson. Their collective name became “First Methodist Church.”
Methodist Episcopal Church, North to Unification 1901-1942
The Methodist Episcopal Church, North, appointed W. S. Browning its first pastor in October 1901. During that time, a small frame church and a parsonage were constructed at 15 N. Elm. In March 1914, the congregation relocated to a more prominent building at the northwest corner of Oak and Thompson. However, this building was later demolished. A new location was chosen at the southeast corner of Water and Thompson, and by 1928, the new church was officially opened with Fred W. Meach as the pastor. Unfortunately, the debt on this church was never cleared during the Depression, and it was sold at a public auction in the summer of 1941.
In 1942, the North and South congregations merged and jointly repurchased the building, moving back into it. Later, in 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren merged with the Methodist Church, forming the United Methodist Church.
Unification in the United Methodist Church 1969 - 2023
In response to growing needs, the First United Methodist Church constructed a new church at 1401 E. Taft under the leadership of Rev. Phillip Royal and Rev. Loren Heaton. The opening ceremony took place on June 8, 1969. In 2023, Sapulpa First United Methodist Church, under Dr. Allen Schneider split from the the United Methodist Church.