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Our Church

Taken from “Presbyterian Roots Revised 1898-1998”

Arising from the frontier, this Church firmly established itself over a number of years.With God’s strength and wisdom, Presbyterians of the three largest branches finally joined hands and hearts in common faith, and so, uniquely, the First Presbyterian Church of Ada, Oklahoma, represents union of the rolls of a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (southern), and Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (northern).

The first gathering of Presbyterians in Ada met on March 31, 1898 in a two-story frame lodge building. About a hundred people lived here then. There was a post office, but the village was not incorporated. The little community’s greatest asset appeared to be the lush bluestem and the magnificent view from the old north town ridge. This first gathering was in the name of the Cumberland church.

While this church grew with the town, the First Presbyterian Church (U.S.) was formed on February 16, 1902. It was this congregation that bought the property at Fourteenth Street and Broadway. At this time the church was far out on the edge of town.

J.T. Higgins and W.E. Mooney were the elders in this early church that let a contract for $1,700 to Earl Sumner’s father to build the first Presbyterian edifice in Ada. It was completed in the summer of 1903.

In 1904 the Cumberland congregation began building at Fifteenth Street and Townsend Avenue. Dr. Charles McMillan, F.W. Russell, Orville Snead, R.R. Brown, and J.J. Dodds are names that were in the church then, some close to us yet. This building was completed the same year, and gave Ada two Presbyterian congregations and church buildings.

Along with many other Cumberland Presbyterian Churches, in 1906 the local Cumberland congregation united with the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Also 1906 this same congregation became known as Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Then, representing the merger of the two branches, Immanuel and First Presbyterian congregations voted to join hands. They held their first union service on the night of December 5, 1909, an historic evening for this congregation. The membership of the First Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. thus became 109.

Centennial

Taken from “Presbyterian Roots Revised 1898-1998”

As is often the case, it was the women’s organization that first became sensitive to the inadequacies of the church building. A finance committee of R.W. Simpson, J.T. Conn, W.G. Mosier, Ed Gwin, Thomas Carey, and Orville Snead went to work in 1916, but it was 1924 before the building at Fourteenth and Broadway was finally completed.

In 1925, the pipe organ was purchased for $4,100. Mrs. Byron Norrell was chairman of the organ committee, and the Ladies’ Aid Society bought the fine new organ.

Since that time, the church has grown spiritually and materially. In the 1930’s a budget system was introduced to meet the demands upon the growing congregation’s finances. Pledges naturally accompanied this plan as the systematic way of giving to support God’s work on earth. The number of members increased, too, hitting a peak of 400 in 1938, then declining steadily through the war years, and then the church roll climbed back to the 400 figure with renewed faith and vigor among the Presbyterians of this city.

Through the years the church acquired a new manse and did some renovating on this building. Due to growth, repair needs and problems attendant to those conditions, the church faced a new challenge. In 1955 the church bought a 10-acre tract of land at 301 East Kings Road. The education wing and fellowship hall were completed in 1956 and the sanctuary in 1959. By the end of that year, the church had 352 members.

The last building campaign began in April, 1985 for the Westminster Fellowship Center which was dedicated in February, 1986. Before the end of 1995 the congregation had paid its building debt in full. As 1998 began, First Presbyterian Church membership stood at 368.