HISTORY of Oxford Baptist Church

 

Oxford Baptist Church is a church that is full of rich history and blessings that have been important to our congregation and community.  From it’s inception in the mid 1800’s to its present day status, the church has nurtured generations of families in our community.

The first church was located on the north side of Front Street on the block between Main and Gilliam Streets.  Under the leadership of The Reverend Robert I. Devin, construction of the first church building was completed in July, 1848.  With 15 initial members, Oxford Baptist was formally organized on September 2, 1848.  Dr. William Hooper, President of Wake Forest College, preached the sermon for the occasion.  The second church building was built on the corner of Main and Spring Streets, construction having begun in July of 1892.  The first service was held in the new church on August 2, 1897.  The third and present church was completed in 1928 and primarily paid for during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  This structure was constructed with a multistory education wing to its rear, a parlor and offices on the main floor, a kitchen and fellowship hall in the basement.  In July, 1967 Oxford Baptist bought the Vaught Funeral Home and Coble Printing Company buildings on Little john Street.  The funeral home building was demolished and the lot was used as a playground.  The Coble Printing Building became “The Youth Hut,” providing space for church youth gatherings and programs.  It was demolished to make way for the Family Life Center.  In 1968 Oxford Baptist acquired the Oxford Post Office and renovated it for use as a children’s education building.  On April 13, 1997, congregational approval was given for construction of the Family Life Center.  The building was completed in July, 1998, providing centralized offices on the first floor, additional classroom space, a library, a spacious meeting hall and kitchen. Elevator access was also provided to give access to all levels of the church buildings, old and new.  Our last acquisition has been the purchase of the former Oxford Woman’s Club on the corner of Gilliam and Littlejohn Streets.  This space provides a playground for our children and parking for our church vans.

From its beginnings back in 1848, Oxford Baptist Church has had twenty-one pastors.  Our most recent pastor, Dr. Steve Bolton, retired after twenty-one years of service, in June, 2011.  For a number of years, the church provided a parsonage for our pastors.  On August 8, 2004, the congregation voted to sell the parsonage, allowing pastors to become homeowners, relieving the church of its landlord responsibilities.

Throughout its history, Oxford Baptist has provided leadership and support in our association and state.  We have supported missions on a local and world-wide level.  Through our education we have trained successive generations of our church members.  In 1912 we established West Oxford Baptist Church and in 1959 aided in the formation of Delrayno Baptist Church.  Presently, we house a weekly pre-school program, called WEE-School program, for children two years to four years old.  This program is self-funded and operates on the same schedule as the public school system in our county.

In 1957, The Forecaster, the weekly church newsletter, was first published.  The Oxford Baptist Church website was launched in April, 2012.

After several years of studying the need for, and options regarding the construction of a columbarium on the church grounds, a recommendation for its construction and financing was made the Columbarium Committee on August 30, 2009.  Construction was completed in the spring of 2011.

From over its 160 years of history, Oxford Baptist Church continues to be a timely institution.  We are a community of Christian believers who work hard to be faithful to serve Oxford Baptist Church and its mission.