Search This Blog


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Short History of the Library at Wesley


“For many years there has been a golden dream at Wesley, sometimes merely at dream stage, and again a breath of enthusiasm that actually seems to cause the walls to pulsate. A library! Wesley needs this – a room set aside for Wesley people to visit, a room with at least two long tables with chairs where members might sit and read, or copy from books too heavy to carry about. The walls should be lightly tinted with good lighting, lined with bookcases. Each case to carry a particular category: the current best sellers, poems, devotional books for one in immediate need of help when called upon to give a devotional or inspirational talk. Mystery books and Science Fiction are excellent when one has to await the outcome of a crisis, copies of the Methodist Discipline, Theological Studies, copies of different translations of the Bible, etc.

Several soft cushioned chairs should be available for comfortable seating. Often a man or woman has to wait while his or her spouse attends an important church meeting. A rack provided for the current magazines. Just a room dedicated to BOOKS, made as comfortable and attractive as your own living room.
The 1986 goal entails the purchase of excellent new books and the updating of the lending process.

The library should be made available for all people to reach easily – no long stairways to climb, but a clean, dry room where books and papers may be maintained in good useable conditions for years.

All of this will require considerable planning and even physical labor, a search for special people who really love books, acquisition of knowledge as to proper lending process and many other details.

This is only the beginning of our golden dream, but we must start somewhere!” (pg. 7)

Report was unsigned but under the nominations chart under the “Education Workarea” was listed “Library” with Neva Sikes, chair and Marie Remund and Meredith Cocklin as members of the committee. The library budget that year was $300.


In 1984, there was no report but a committee was listed, again under Education. Chairs were John Woodson and Neva Sikes, with members Marie Remund and Meredith Cocklin. They library had a budget of $300 that year.


In 1987, the co-chairs were Neva Sikes and Mary McGoodwin, again assisted by Marie Remund. The budget was $525.

“Your library committee feels that 1987 has been a successful and productive year. Library work is an ever ongoing project, so we are dreaming again.

Our needs are listed below in order of priority:

1.       Typewriter!

2.       A work space created by building a double sided shelf the height of the existing supply cabinet.*

3.       A conference table and chairs for reading, study or research.

4.       Improved lighting.

5.       Paint walls, woodwork, window sills and repair the ceiling.

6.       New draperies for the windows. We suggest the style in the hall.

7.       Three book cases.*

8.       Upholster existing sofa and chairs or replace them.

9.       Chair for typist.

10.   Carpet

An answered prayer has been the services of Mary McGoodwin. She is most dependable and proficient in all phases of library procedure.  She is co-chair-person.

We have received many good books which have been catalogued and placed on the shelves. We have been promised a great number of good, suitable books for the library.  The Library Committee has a written policy to determine which books are acceptable for a church library.

A written report for improving the library has been forwarded to the Property Committee.

We have faith that our dreams will become REALITY.

Neva Sikes


*To be built by Mr. Tom Cartmill”, Charge Conference Report, 1987  (12)


In 1988, the successful leadership of the previous year was repeated and the budget fell to $500.

“A few days ago we checked the 1987 Charge Conference booklet and found a most gratifying to see that all of the suggested needs have been supplied.

A great number of new books have been placed on the completed bookshelves, a sofa, chairs, and lamp are now available for your use.

A conference table and chairs have been in use during most of 1988.

Our own Mary McGoodwin has worked like a trouper (helped by Florence Hendricks) in securing furniture, pictures, and other ‘treasures’ to enhance the library.

A large updated unabridged dictionary has been secured and a greatly needed Concordance, presented by the Two-In-One Class, is now available for use.

We look forward to 1989, and have presented a budget to the Budget Committee for its perusal.  Among our needs:

1.       New Books

2.       Library Supplies

3.       Work Book Encyclopedia

In the Sounds of Wesley we inserted an article asking for the possible donation of the World Book Encyclopedia.  To date none has responded.  If possible and we can find a good set at a reasonable price, we would like to include that in our budget.

Our dreams have almost been realized!

Nova Sikes

Co-chairman”, Charge Conference report. 1988 [pg.10]


In 1989, same leaders and budget

“Summary of 1989 Goals:

1.       Three new bookcases

2.       Processing of Audio Visual Materials for Children’s Department

3.       Encyclopedia world Books

4.       Better Lighting for Library

Accomplishments in 1989:

1.       The new bookcases are now in use:

2.       Work on Audio Visual materials are now in process and almost completed

3.       Numerous books were purchased for members needing Large Print, both fiction and non-fiction.

4.       Many books on PRAYER and DEVOTION have been purchased and placed in a  section of a bookcase in two categories.

Dreams for the Future:

1.       Better lighting in the library

2.       Securing the Encyclopedia World Books

3.       New bookcases for the Children’s Department

Library work is a continuous undertaking. We plan to secure many carefully selected books and other necessary items for use to maintain a well organized library at Wesley.

Neva Sikes

Co-Chairperson”, Charge Conference, 1989, [pg. 17]


In 1990, Mary McGoodwin was lead chair assisted by Neva Sikes and committee member Marie Remund. $500 budget.

“Goals Accomplished in 1990:

·         Disposed of out of date audio-visual materials in the children’s dept.

·         Adult and children’s books and materials have been catalouged and processed (an on-going process)

·         Sunday School Class members are taking books to class to encourage reading and library usage.

·         The U.M.W. Reading Program has been moved into the Library. This has brought more people into the library. These books will eventually become part of the main library collection.

Suggested Goals for the New Year:

·         Continue purchasing books and materials

·         Continue processing all books and materials

·         Young children need to learn care of books

·         During National Library Week in April, bring the library to the attention of church members

·         Purchase a set of World Book Encyclopedia

·         Purchase videos for Sunday School Classes, Children’s Stories, and the seeing impaired.

Dreams for the Future:

·         Neighborhood children coming for tutoring and help with their studies.

·         Children of members of the church coming to use the library while their parents are involved in meetings

·         Members of the church using Commentaries, Bible Atlases, and other Materials in Bible Study.

·         If the Library is used in the evening better lighting will be needed.

Mary McGoodwin

Co-Chairperson.” Charge Conference report 1990 [pg.9]


In 1995, Mary McGoodwin served as chair assisted by committee members Ruby Brewer, Madeline Hamilton, Helen Murphy, Maxine Pucci, Velda Newman. Budget was $500.

“There has been a wonderful increase in library usage this year.  An average of 40 to 50 books are in circulation most of the time.

The Library Committee meets the last Friday of each month to process new books and mend books.  They have worked 100 hours this year.

The library was redecorated with new carpet, drapes, shades and valances.  A video stand was purchased.

A number of books have been donated by members.

Mary McGoodwin, Chair.” Charge Conference report, 1995, [pg. 4].


In 1998, there were no reports from many work areas but the committee was identified with Mary McGoodwin, chair, with Ruby Brewer, Helen Murphy and Velda Newman as committee members. There was no budget in the charge conference report on file.

In 1999


Katrina Unkoefeller


Marilyn A. Hudson


Marsha Keller


Monday, June 8, 2015

Preliminary Notes of the History of the Ministry of Women At Wesley

The Women of Wesley

A preliminary report of research on

Women’s groups and Presence in the Wesley United Methodist Church, 1910-2010

Marilyn A. Hudson, M.L.I.S.

In the infancy of the formation of the American nation, as leaders wrestled with weighty issues of declarations of independence and establishing a new government out of a collection of colonies, the life of one of the men sent a message to her husband to “remember the ladies.”   This future first lady, Dolly Madison, reminded her husband that in any laws the women should be represented or they faced a future rebellion.  The same must be said of any one who attempts to write a history of a place or an institution. There is nowhere, perhaps, where this is truer than in looking at the history of a church.

Women organized in the Christian faith to assist a local congregation or to reach out to address a social or spiritual need no doubt can be traced to the New Testament.  The women who gathered early on Easter morning can be seen in such a light.   Local ministers such as Phoebe (Romans) saw to the needs of local and distant groups.  Widows formed themselves into ministry corps (such as seen in the story of Dorcas in Acts and the instructions about such an order in Timothy).  In Methodism, the strong and proactive witness of Susannah Wesley set the stage for the development of an environment in the renewal movement that accepted that women could and should be active participants in the work of the gospel.  In Methodism, there was always the recognition that the Gospel work was not merely a spiritual task but also a physical one: for how could a person see a soul won to Christ but allow their body to starve or suffer.   If something could be done, they asked themselves, should it not be done in the name of Christ?

Assorted and randomly placed works are sprinkled throughout early Methodist history.  Many of these began to gain a great deal of identity and purpose with the Civil War.  The aided soldiers, their families, the doctors and so much more.

In 1869, the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was formed in the Northern Methodist Episcopal and in the south in 1878. The work was officially recognized by the churches in 1890. 

The Ladies Aid Society emerged simultaneously out of several groups (Presbyterian, United Brethren, etc.) and were so alike it can be hard to identify one group from another; truly ecumenical!  The Ladies Aid was first recognized in the 1903 Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

 One form or another of the Women’s Home Missionary Society (W.H.M.S.) had existed with a Women’s Foreign Missionary Society (W.F.M.S.) since the pre-Civil War era but in 1910, the W.H.M.S. and the W.F.M.S. theoretically merged.  Theoretically because some churches, Wesley among them, continued to hold to the patterns previously established maintaining separate groups for decades.

In 1921, the Wesleyan Service Guild (W.S.G.) was created for women employed outside the home.  In 1939, all groups united to form the new Woman’s Society of Christian Service (W.S.C.S.) but the W.S.G. remained separate.  In 1969, under the new union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United  Brethren Churches,  all united to form themselves into common Woman’s Society of Christian Service (W.S.C.S.) until 1972, when they came under the new title and structure of the newly formed United Methodist Women (U.M.W.).

First Women’s Groups

The Ladies Aid was first recognized in the 1903 Discipline of the M.E. Church and had continued to grow becoming a popular and active women’s group in communities.  At Wesley, the first women’s organization was a Ladies Aid Society established in March of 1911 with Mrs. A.C. McCullough as the first president (1911-1913). The next month (April) saw the birth of the local Women’s Home Missionary Society and that September the Women’s Foreign Mission Society at the home of Mrs. Pritchard on NW 29th Street. In 1926 the Wesleyan Service Guild was established. Two Sunday School classes deserve special mention due to their goal of ministry to women at Wesley.  The Ladies Bible Study group donated one of the windows in the Sanctuary in 1928 and is thought to have formed shortly after the church formed but records are scarce. In about 1922, a class for young girls was formed and soon became the Flesher Class for Young Girls and remained active until its dissolution in 1932.  In 1929, a group unique and original to Wesley, “The Sorrelle Club”, was established.  Then in 1939, the Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) and in 1972, the United Methodist Women united all but the Sorelle Club under one umbrella. 

 “History Wesley Women’s Organizations”

“Women’s organizations have always been a telling force in the progress of Wesley.  In March of 1911 the ladies of Wesley Church met at the home of Mrs. H.B. Turner to organize a Ladies Aid Society.  Mrs. A.C. McCullough was elected president and Mrs. C.F. Crane elected secretary and treasurer.

Their object was to promote the financial, social and spiritual welfare of the church.  All the women of the church were invited to participate in the work of the Ladies Aid Society. Dues were $1.20 per year and service.

Those who served as president of the organization were as follows: Mrs. A.C. McCullough, Mrs. H.J. Eastman, Mrs. L. B. Goff, Mrs. R.A. Lyle, Mrs. A.H. Tyler, Mrs. H.H. Englebright, Mrs. R.L. Constant, Mrs. Nathan Boggs, Mrs. Frank Bell, Mrs. Olin Doty, Mrs. Joe Morgan, Mrs. E.B. Dodson, Mrs. R.B. Waite, Mrs. H.J. Ebeling.

On September 17, 1940 the Woman’s Society of Christian Service was formed by uniting the three societies: The Ladies Aid, The Home Missionary and the Foreign Missionary Societies.”

The Wesley Auxiliary of the Women’s Home Missionary Society was organized in April 1911 in the home of Mrs. R.W. Spriggs with Mrs. J.F. Warren, Conference Corresponding Secretary, assisting in the organization.  Mrs. R.W. Spriggs was elected president and Mrs. Olin Doty, secretary and treasurer.  Their motto was “For the Love of Christ and in His name.”  The aim and purpose of the group “Help Win America for Christ.” By this organization they became part of the National organization which was made up of Conference, District and Local Societies.

“The Agencies”: Home and Schools, hospitals training schools for Deaconesses, homes for Deaconesses, children’s homes, kindergarten, and day nurseries, settlement work in large cities, immigrant work at ports of entry, rest homes for retired missionaries, boarding homes for working girls and visiting nurses.  The members of Wesley Auxiliary were always active and they were nearing the thirtieth birthday of the Auxiliary when the uniting of the three organizations, The Ladies Aid Society, The Woman’s Home Missionary Society and the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society became the Woman’s Society of Christian Service.  Those who served as presidents from Wesley Auxiliary are named as follows:  Mrs. W.W. Spriggs,  Mrs. T.P. Taylor, Mrs. Clinton M. ALoen, Mrs. George Q. Fenn, Mrs. James Reneau, Mra. E. K. Ramsey, Mrs. Charles Johnson, Mrs. V.D. Wessel, Mrs. O.B. Morris, Mrs. R.E. Bradshaw, Mrs. D.R. McKown, and Mrs. Lloyd Boatright.

Snapshot of 1940

In 1940, a church yearbook and directory listed the “Ladies Aid Society” had an object “To promote the financial, social, and spiritual welfare of the church”.   Ladies were members of ten circles that met around the community on the third Tuesday of the month. Their calendar was from September to June and covered topics of loyalty (September), events such as the “70 and Over” Luncheon” (October), Thanksgiving and a Father-Son Banquet (November), Christmas (January) and Prayer and Lent taking up the first two months of the New Year. The Lent event would be an Organ Fund Concert. Easter (March) in April “The Women’s Work Old Fashioned Dinner”, while May saw a May Day Breakfast, Mother-Daughter Banquet and election of Officers. These were installed in a June program before the group took off the month of July.

 “Women’s Foreign Missionary Society”. In 1869 the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was formed in the Northern M.E. and in the south in 1878. The work was officially recognized by the churches in 1890.  It formed at Wesley in the spring of 1911, and the first president was Mrs. D.G. Murray (1912-1913). She was the wife of the District Superintendent, D.G. Murray.  She would later donate one of the stained glass windows in the new sanctuary in honor of her husband.   In 1940, at Wesley, the group motto was “Saved for Service”, their theme “One Heart, One Way”, their guiding hymn was “Brotherhood” (noted as 469 in the Hymnal).  Their study text was “Woman and the Way” and their motto was “Study-Service-Sacrifice”.  They met every second Tuesday of the month at 1-2 p.m.

The “Women’s Home Missionary Society” motto was “For the Love of Christ and in His Name” and their aim was to “Help Win America for Christ.”  The group had formed at Wesley in the spring of 1911 and the first president was Mrs. R.W. Sprigg (1911-1913).  They listed in 1940 that that their agencies included 940 Missionaries and Deaconesses serving in 180 institutions in 40 states, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Their official magazines were “Woman’s Home Missions” and “Junior Neighbors”.  The theme for the year was to be “With One Increasing Purpose” and their textbook was to be “Homeland Harvest” by Dr. Arthur Limouze and “Right Here at Home” by Frank Mead. The organization was organized into ten groups with Officers, Department Secretaries (Spiritual Life, Christian Citizenship, Thank Offering, Missionary Education, Mite Box, Lenten Offering), supplies, Chorister, Pianist, and Young People Work (College, High School, Intermediate Department, Junior Department, Primary Department, Mothers Jewels).

In 1940 were also listed the “Wesleyan Service Guild,” whose motto was to “The World – To Serve”.  Its goals were “Enrichment of spiritual life, Practice in World brotherhood, Development of Christian Citizenship, Guidance in the Highest Use of Leisure”.  They had several service projects including a home mission through the Leisenring Center, Dunbar, PA; through migrant work; and the Navajo Mission School, Farmington, NM.

Their textbook for 1940 was “Through Tragedy to Triumph” by Basil Mathews.   The group met the second Tuesday in member homes and had officers covering various projects (President, Recording secretary, correspondence secretary, treasurer, spiritual department chair, world service chair, social and recreational chair, mite box secretary)

The WSG had formed at Wesley in 1926 under the guidance of Maude Thomas Wolf and existed until the merger of women’s groups in 1973.  In a 1964 church self-study report  the group was  noted as still being active with some 26 members.

At Wesley there was also the unique “Sorelle Club.” It was organized in the church parlor in 1929 by Frances Wahl McAlister (Mrs. Wade), Mildred Robinett (Roscoe) and Sarah Paul Potts (Mrs. Ruhl).  Charter members were:  Deborah Heep Lower (Mrs. Paul), Iris Jenkins Miller (Mrs. Lewis), Hazel Ruedy Hornung (Mrs. Gerald ), Naomi Doty Matheney (Mrs. Jesse), Jessie Gowen Fuller (Mrs. Guy Edward), Thelma Varvel McCreight (Mrs. Warren), Mrs. Theresa Cranfield, Mrs. Cora Hayward, Thelma Carr (Mrs. Harold), Velda Marks (Mrs. karl), Betty Salmmon (Mrs. Herbert), Margaret Ireland (Mrs. “Brick”), Birdie Lasater (Mrs. Frenchie), Rilla Warner (Mrs. Judd), and Thelma Saxon Baker (Mrs. Marion).

It was organized by newlyweds and young mothers who wanted church activities and fellowship different than the Circles then offered at the church. The first presidents were: Frances McAlister. Mildred Robinett, Sarah Potts, and Thelma McCreight.  The name was submitted by a committee of organizers and means “sister.”  It was reorganized in 1938 by Mrs. Hugh B. Fouke, wife of the pastor, into a spiritual, educational, and social club with meetings held in the parsonage parlor. 

In 1940, they reflected that new threefold purpose “spiritual, educational and social.”  It was noted they used the “panel method” for their discussions and programs.  They met the third Thursday at 12:30 in the Wesley Church parlor.  The officers included a Counselor (the pastor’s wife in 1940), chairman, program committee, hostess chairman, secretary and treasurer, telephone chairman

The Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) was formed in 1939 as a result of the merger between the M.E., North, the M.E., South and the Methodist Protestant churches to form the Methodist Church.   The first president at Wesley was Mrs. Joe Morgan (Ione) (1939-1940).

Other Groups

Ladies Bible Study

Flesher Class for Young Girls. In 1921 Wesley had a Sunday school class for college and business people sponsored by Mrs. W.E. Flesher. In the summer or fall of 1922, Mrs. Flesher became the teacher of a Sunday school class for 9th or 10th grade girls, ages 14 or 15 years. According to Helen Sellers the Flesher Class for Girls “really started the Sunday Mrs. Flesher took the class as a substitute teacher, it was then taught by Mary Lanham (Arbuthnot).”  Sellers identified the following as charter members of the class: Elva Brown; Jean Alexander; Mildred Armor; Elizabeth Dailey; La Vaughn Reneau; Elizabeth Hoffman; Mary Emma Brown; Sarah Paul; Ramona Parrick; Thelma Todd; Thelma Keel; Mildred Jines.


Malla Moe was a group limited to single women who are members of the Two-In-One Class (Sunday School) and took its name from Miss Malla Moe of Norway, who a missionary to South Africa. In the early 1960’s, there were approximately 70 members, with an average attendance of 30 at the potluck luncheon on the first Tuesday of each month.  The group also held a lunch together every third Sunday after church. Special activities included projects for Crippled Children’s Hospital.

Nursing Home Auxiliary

The United Methodist Women

In 1973, United Methodist Women became the women’s mission organization of The United Methodist Church.

Women in Ministry and Leadership

In 2007 Wesley had appointed the first female senior minister. Rev. Diana Cox Crawford served from 2007-2012.  She had previously pastored   across Oklahoma and served in various capacities in the conference as an elder. She was not, however, the first woman to serve in ministry roles at the church.  Changing times, terms and denominational ministry classifications have meant that often these women were overlooked and their significant contributions - and history - unknown.


 Women such as:


Miss Eureath White (1932-1933), found under "Pastoral Assistants" in the 1975 'History of a Dynamic Church' she is in a list which includes many recognized clergy and indicating the importance and value of the role in the life of the church.  She may be the woman who later taught sociology at Southern Methodist Univ.

Nina B. McCosh - (1937-1945?). Born ca. 1893 in Kansas, Nina attended the "Kansas City Methodist Training Institute", now part of St. Paul's Seminary,  a special school for 'Deaconess and Missionaries' in the years before women were recognized by the Methodist denominations for ordination. Such schools allowed women to be specially trained to serve in specific pastoral and social justice arenas.  These women organized missions, ministered to families, communities, and saw to the spiritual formation of people in the parish. The role answered the need for more qualified, trained, and committed people to serve as leaders within the church but did not grant those clergy role or status.  Yet, they did minister in real and powerful ways within congregations. A local news article illustrates the potential scope of her work at Wesley when it says that she was replacing the "assistant pastor" Rev. S. Lewis Stockwell (who was taking a church in Kansas).  She was from Colorado Springs and had worked just previously in Guthrie for five years as a "helper" (Oklahoman, Sept.20, 1937:6).

In an undated list in the 1975 "History of a Dynamic Church" (pg.3) are included the names of some other female "Wesley Resident Ministers":

Mrs. Mabel Crabtree - She is mentioned in a 1932 article about five city church leaders to serve on the faculty of the state Epworth League at Guthrie. From Wesley she joined other instructors from various other Methodist Churches.  Epworth League was the youth organization of the Methodist Church.

Alice M. David - In her 1942 obituary she is noted to have been ordained in the 1929 in the M.E. Church. She led a long and active fight against drink being a local and state leader of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She died at 82 on Jan.17, 1942 and her funeral was held at Wesley in Oklahoma City.

Joyce Webster - She was listed in the 1968 book, Oklahoma Methodism in the Twentieth Center" by Clegg and Oden as being a current clergy member of the conference who had entered it in 1927.



In an undated list in the same source are included some female "Local Preachers Whose Names are found on the Several Records of Wesley":


Mrs. Mabel Crabtree- She is mentioned in a 1932 article about five city church leaders to serve on the faculty of the state Epworth League at Guthrie. From Wesley she joined other instructors from various other Methodist Churches.  Epworth League was the youth organization of the Methodist Church.


Mrs. Alice M. David nee Harris- In her 1942 obituary she is noted to have been ordained in the 1929 in the M.E. Church. She led a long and active fight against drink being a local and state leader of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. She died at 82 on Jan.17, 1942 and her funeral was held at Wesley in Oklahoma City.

Neva Davidson - In 1934 she was pastoring at Capitol Hill and removed to Wichita Falls, Texas.


Harriette Davis - No information found


Nina B. McCash (should read McCosh)


Joyce B. Webster - She was listed in the 1968 book, Oklahoma Methodism in the Twentieth Center" by Clegg and Oden as being a current clergy member of the conference who had entered in 1927.


Grace E. Garten - On August 2, 1988 a special retirement luncheon celebrated the life and legacy of Miss Grace E. Garten in the life of Wesley UMC in Oklahoma City. It was held in the Scarab Room at Oklahoma City University.  Fittingly, the cover of the program read "Amazing Grace!" and included the lines of that well known hymn. (see list of participants in the program below).


Grace was born, according to a biography she typed for her retirement celebration, "on a farm near Piedmont, Okla. and moved to a farm east of Hennessey when I was five years old. I had an older brother and sister who were twins (Alma and Albert). I always said that I was a middle dot in the "five spot", as in dominoes/  With a pair older than me and a pair younger, I was more or less alone.


Growing up on a farm, I learned to do what other farm girls did: milk cows, wash the separator, feed calves and pigs, dress chickens, cook for harvest men and threshers, churn butter, etc.


I heard the Bible read every morning - also had Family Prayer together each day. I must have heard the Bible read through several times before I left for college.   An old-fashioned one-room rural school called College Corner was where I received my education in grades 1-8. 


I attended a Christian Union country church near my home from early childhood through high school - was active in all youth activities - was given a license to preach while a teenager - also participated in the program of the County Sunday School Conventions which included all Protestant denominations.


I worked my way through high school and college graduating from Oklahoma City University (OCU) with a major in Religious Education and Philosophy, also a major in Education.  Following graduation, I became a teacher in the Oklahoma City School System. I became a Methodist in 1933 when I joined First Methodist Church here in Oklahoma City.


In 1939, I studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  The remainder of my seminary training was at Garrett, a Methodist College on the campus of Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill.


My first position as Director of Christian Education in a local church was in Dallas, Texas at Tyler Street Methodist Church.  I joined the Wesley Methodist Church staff as Director of Christian Education Sept. 1, 1944 when Dr. Nuell C. Crain was pastor.


1963-1967: was Director at Travis Park Methodist Church, San Antonio

1967-1970: was Director at Crown Heights Methodist Church, Oklahoma City

In July of 1970, when Dr. Blanton was senior pastor, I accepted the invitation to return to Wesley as Christian Education Director - the last 13 years I have served as Parish Visitor.”


In addition to this information she also had certifications for specialized Christian education and church work:
1955 (?) -- Certified Director of Christian Education
1974 -- Consecrated Lay Worker
1977 --Diaconal Minister"


On September 1, 1944, Wesley's program had grown so much that a new employee was decided on to head the growing groups in the church. Grace E. Garten, a public school teacher, was hired as the first full-time Director of Education.

 In 1941, an article in the Oklahoman, "Parents Criticized for Books Children Read" (Nov.3,1941;5) she was reported as having spoken to a group on behalf of the Oklahoma Council of Churches as it Religious Education Director.  She urged parents to "have good books available in the home."

Church records note she re-established the 'Junior Church' in 1944 and when the Baker Chapel was built in 1954 this group met in that area.

In 1948 (that year she is listed in a city directory and gives Wesley as her place of employment).


In 1952 there is an article in the Ada Weekly News (Ada, OK) that Miss Garten would be conducting lectures there on Christian Education at the First Methodist Church of Ada.

She would remain at Wesley for many decades and in near retirement years became the official Parish Visitor. She finally retired fully in 1988.

She was well respected, at Wesley and around the state, as Education Director.  She conducted numerous workshops for churches addresses issues and methods to improve their programs.  She was affiliated with Council of Churches education program.

In 1940 she penned a lovely poem, later used in a church devotional booklet:

 "What God does not do as God

He does do as man.

For it was through Jesus

 That came the redemptive plan.

 So God reaches out to the world through me.

 Not alone through my Godlikeness

 But through my humanity.

 For there is a call in the human touch

 That lost man understands.

 And when the world is brought close to God

 'Twill be through human hands."

Grace E. Garten, 1940.

In the late 1980's she conducted programs for senior centers and other locations bringing along her large collection of crosses.  She died in 1990 in Oklahoma City.

The Helen C. Hicks Memorial Room in Wesley (1985)

"Do You Know", class newspaper/church newspaper (9/29/89)

The Helen C. Hicks Memorial Room in Wesley?  1985 - ?

Helen C. Hicks was born in 1904 and reared in El Reno, Oklahoma.  From 1926 until her resignation on June 30, 1967, Miss Hicks was employed by the Oklahoma City Schools as an elementary teacher, an elementary principal, and a consultant for the textbook division and the audio-visual center.  She was an avid traveler and while on a world tour she became ill in Nepal in November 1974, and died at Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 30, 1974.  At that time, Nepal would not permit embalming, and Miss Hicks’ body was cremated and the ashes were shipped to Oklahoma City in a beautiful metal urn.  A memorial service was held for Miss Hicks at Wesley and her ashes in the urn were buried next to her father in the family plot in El Reno.

Miss Hicks was an active member of Wesley, serving on the administrative board at the time of her death; and was an alumnus of Oklahoma City University.  She bequeathed $5,000 to Wesley and $10,000 to O.C.U., which sums were distributed in January, 1976.

In her will, Miss Hicks gave no instructions or limitations as to the use of the money bequeathed, but Rev. James C. Curry, Jr., the pastor of Wesley at that time, and the administrative board of Wesley decided to use Wesley’s $5,000 gift from Helen C. Hicks for a history room for Wesley.  A room where instruments, documents, papers and memorabilia pertaining to the history and records of Wesley could be kept, stored and made available to persons interested in the history of Wesley.

The finance committee of Wesley opened a savings account under the name of Helen Hicks Savings Account using the $5,000 gift from Miss Hicks.  Ruth M. Symsor, a member of Wesley, died Feb.21, 1977, and she bequeathed 1/10 of the residue of her estate to Wesley, which sum of $4,102.96 was paid to Wesley on October 4, 1977.  A part of the money from the Symsor estate and other donations were added to the Helen Hicks Savings Account, and the account had a balance of $5,916.56 n October 16, 1979.

Rev. Robert L. Allen was appointed as pastor of Wesley in July, 1981, and within a few months of his appointment, probably early in 1982, he proposed to the administrative board and the records and history committee of Wesley that the money in the Helen Hick Savings Account had been set aside to prepare and maintain a history room for Wesley, and that the money should be used for that purpose. First question: Where in the church buildings should the room be located? After many false starts and stops and conflicting suggestions, it was decided that room 106, along the west wall of the basement in the educational wing should be the history room.  At that time (1982), the room was being used for storage only, and was immediately available for the history room.

The administrative board set aside $7,200, including the monies in the Hicks History Room account, to finish, decorate, and furnish the history room.  Monies were used to purchase materials and furniture and fixtures in the room. The history room (1989) is approximately 33 feet by 15 feet, and has been furnished and finished by adding beautifully finished oak paneling for the walls; oak shelves and storage cabinets which cover the west wall; a 10 foot conference table in the center of the room; eight comfortable upholstered chairs around the conference table; two comfortable upholstered wing chairs with a table and lamp as a group; and attractive carpeting for the entire room. A large, well lighted trophy cabinet with glass doors was moved from another room in the church and placed along the south wall of the history room.

The conference table was donated by Mr. Troy Wesnedge.  Most or all of the carpentry work on the history room, except for shelves and storage cabinets along the west wall, was done by Mr. Thomas O. Cartmill, free of cost or charge to the church.

Mr. Cartmill had retired after 35 years as a carpenter, was a member of Wesley, and had been an active member of the Builders Class since 1947.  An article about Mr. Cartmill and his volunteer services for Wesley was published in the Wesley paper for October 26, 1984.

The members of the records and history committee of Wesley’s administrative board in 1984 and 1985 were: Doris McKown, Chair, Ida George, Frances Boatright, Rev. Robert Allen, pastor.  After the history room had been completed and was ready for occupancy and use, the committee decided the history room should be called “Helen C. Hicks Memorial Room”, and arranged an open house to introduce the room and its contents to the members and friends of Wesley, and to encourage its use.  The open house was announced in the Wesley Church papers for April 26, 1985, between early church and Sunday School, and after late church (11:00 a.m.).  It has been reported that the attendance at the open house was not huge, but was large enough to reflect curiosity and some real interest.  The committee prepared and placed on prominent display in the room a beautiful metal plaque on a finished wood base with the following inscription: “In Loving Memory of Helen C. Hicks whose Thoughtful Gift Helped Make the Historical Room Possible at Wesley United Methodist Church” (no date shown).

Marion R. Baker, September 28, 1989

Note:  Subsequently the historic collections moved to another room and a history display room was set up near the entrance into the sanctuary and choir area on the south side of the church.  Historic records were moved to the basement near the kitchen.  Dates for all these moves unknown. In 2014, the Committee on History and Records and the Church Library Ministry entered into a collaborative partnership for the purposes of indexing, organizing and preserving the historic collections of the church. A new History Room was constructed in the old chapel through donated funds.

Become a Friend of Wesley

A special "Friends of Wesley" group is made of individuals, organizations, and businesses who wish to support the historic preservation of the century old and historically significant Wesley Methodist Church (Wesley United Methodist Church) founded in 1910.

The inspiring windows dating to 1928 honored people significant to local Oklahoma City history but also to the history of Oklahoma Methodism.

The church founding and development was guided by lay people who were leaders in Oklahoma City development in real estate, banking, business, and education.

It stands as a rare remaining example of Methodist Churches in the English Gothic style and as work by a significant early architectural firm.

Donations may be sent to:

Church Treasurer
Wesley United Methodist Church
1401 NW 25th
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma