Search This Blog

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Select Biography: Dr. Robert L. Allen

Allen was ordained as a Deacon in Oklahoma in 1971 and ordained as an Elder in 1973.  He came to Wesley in 1981 and under his tenure attendance at worship doubled, a television program was aired [1] over two local stations weekly and after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995, the Mayor of Oklahoma City tapped him to organize a chaplaincy team to work in the recovery process (the team numbered some 600). In 1983 he did Post Graduate Study at St. Mary's College of the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University (1983) and wrote his thesis on the television ministry he began at Wesley. 
He was an associate minister at First United Methodist Church in Blackwell, Oklahoma; minister at the Geary First United Methodist Church; minister at First United Methodist Church in Watonga and senior minister at Wesley for fourteen years (1981-1993).
While in Oklahoma he was chair of the Emerging Social Issues group of the Oklahoma Conference Board of Church and Society.  He served as chair of the Wesley Foundation Board and Building Committee at Tahlequah. He was a delegate to Impact Briefings with members of the U.S. House and Senate, he served on the Muskogee District Board of Ministry and was delegate to the Clergy Economic Conference. 

He authored several books while serving as pastor of Wesley.   He transferred out of the Oklahoma Conference and went to Wichita Falls, Texas  in 1996.[2]

[1] Perry White. "Church Reaches Out With TV." Oklahoman (Dec.8, 1984)pg.27.

Friday, March 21, 2014


For much of Wesley's history the spouses of the senior pastor were obscured in the customs of the day.  Through the 1970's it was customary for a married woman to be referred to only in light of her relationship as a wife.  Thus she was "Mrs. John Doe" and her first name often lost.

As customs changed the church now has also seen the addition of the clergy husband.  Some of the same issues may be found in attempting to adapt to this changing clergy spouse profile. 

Some records (conference, census newspaper, and church) simply cannot supply the names of the person who shared their live with the clergy of Wesley.  Here, however, are some of the names discovered.  They may be incorrect in spelling and other factors, but this is the best available at this time.  Please leave a comment if you have corrections or additions.

  1. 1910/11 - Frank A. Colwell (1860-1937); Mary
  2. 1911/12 - Dr. Harry Claude Case (1873-1921)
  3. 1912/13-  Samuel E. Betts - Emma C.
  4. 1913 - Thomas Pingry (1848 - 1916) ; Nancy
  5. 1914-  E.R. Houck ; Ruth, son Matthew
  6. 1915/17 - John W. Cater
  7. 1916/18- C.C. Smith (Charles Clark?)
  8. 1919/22 - Dean C. Dutton (1871-1954); Katherine Burg; children: Helen and Adena
  9. 1923- J.C. Waldron
  10. 1924- Glenn A. Baldwin (or J.A.)
  11. 1925/28- E.V. (Edgar V.) Dubois; Gertrude P.; children: Robert K.
  12. 1925/28- Dr. William Forney Hovis; Aimee A. Parry; children, Wm F. and Keith
  13. 1929/32 - George H. Zentz; Ethel G.; children: Nellie, Franklin, George
  14. 1933/34- A.G. (Aaron G.) Williamson; Denice Anna
  15. 1935/36- Matthew L. Simpson
  16. 1937/41- Hugh B. Fouke ; Ruth
  17. 1941/43 - James A. Leach
  18. 1943/56- Nuell Crain ( - 1997); Catherine
  19. 1956/58 - John R. Webb (1906-1974) ; Marguerite K.; children: Robert, Margaret
  20. 1958/63- Earl S. Walker ; Doris
  21. 1963/64- Dr. Jack S. Wilkes (1917-  ) ; Annette
  22. 1964/67 - Charles R.Thigpen (1913-1967); Mary E.
  23. 1967-  Fisher Blanton (  );  Mary Ellen Bell
  24. 1974/77- Lonzo Battles (1922-2009) ; Barbara Nell Amdall
  25. 1977/81- J.C. (James C.) Curry Jr. (1926-2009)
  26. 1981/95- Robert L. Allen (1946-2004); Madalyn
  27. 1996/02- John T. Ogden (1935-2004) ; Jane
  28. 2002/06- T. Scott Keneda ; Angie
  29. 2007 - Bishop Bennie Warner
  30. 2007/13 - Diana Cox-Crawford (First female senior pastor); Bob
  31. 2013 - Dr. Marvin J. Hudson ; Marilyn A.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Palm Sunday
I give thanks for that one day,
That one day that Jesus had--
For that shining Sabbath morn,
For that Triumph. I am glad
That the crowd acclaimed Him there
As 'Hosannas' filled the air
In that happy episode
(Ere betrayal saddened Him)
On that crowded entry-road
To Jerusalem.

I give thanks for those who went;
For the ones who waved the palms,
For the ones who spoke His praise,
For the ones who sang the psalms,
All along the thoroughfare,
On the flowers scattered there,
For the donkey that He rode
(Showing their concern for Him)
On that crowded entry-road
To Jerusalem.

On March 8, 1978 Billie Menifee of Oklahoma City wrote this poem and sent it to Wesley.  "Since Palm Sunday and Easter are almost here I wish to share this poem with you. I wrote it right after Easter last year. If it can be of any use to you (in the church paper, or any other capacity)please feel free to use it."
The notations on the copy indicate it was used for a church paper column in 1982 and then again in 1996.  Introductory material included reading Matt.21:1-11 and John 12:13).  A prayer was added as a conclusion: "O God, help us to see Him as The King of our lives. Amen."


#1- Hennepin County Library Special Collections (Minnesota)
#2 - WUMC Archives Collection
Used by Permission
In the church newspaper of November 22, 1946 was an announcement about the Wesleyan Classes' anniversary.  Significant events were shared including how brothers, Frank W. and Dr. Carl W. Skinner, donated a painting to the class and the church in honor of their late mother. "Mother Lucy Goble Skinner"  had been a long time member of the class.   The painting was donated shortly after the mother's death in 1940.  Frank W. Skinner died in 1942. His brother in the 1960's.
Her husband had been a Methodist minister in Iowa and they came to Oklahoma City in 1922.  When she died 14 June 1940, her obituary stated she was going to be buried in Earlsville, Iowa by her husband. She was survived by sons Frank of Beaver Bay, Minn., Carl who taught English at OCU in OKC, and a daughter Loraine Kleas of Mankato, Minn.. A granddaughter, Mrs. Joseph Wright, also lived in OKC. ("Memorial for Mrs. Skinner to Be Sunday", Oklahoman (June 15, 1940)14.
In the article it was noted simply that "son Frank, a commercial artist" painted in the North Woods and later built a lodge called "Studio Inn" above Duluth in Iowa.  Carl W. his brother had taught another class at Wesley for some 17 years.
An entry in the newsletter would describe the painting only in enough detail to know it was a landscape showing earth, trees and some water.  This was in a tribute written by Mrs. Byron White who had known Lucy Skinner.
An image has been unearthed of a painting shown hanging in the Parlor where the class met. It is a painting that in general style might be considered similar to other Skinner work.  No one knows what happened to the painting and in the ensuing decades two major renovations of the Parlor occurred and many decorating changes.  Images of his work appear to be hard to locate.
There is a story of a painting damaged from water leakage but no one remains able to identify the validity of the story or identify the image so damaged. Carl W. Skinner died in 1966.
Was the Skinner painting lost to water damage?  Was it unknowingly discarded in a face lifting of the space? Did it return to the Skinner family?  No one, apparently knows for certain. 
Shown above (#1) is an image of a Frank W. Skinner painting in a museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ARTISTS FRANK WING AND AUGUST KAISER LOOK AT PAINTING BY FRANK W. SKINNER AT AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE and (#2) is the possible image from ca. 1950 at Wesley.  Are they by the same artist? 

A mystery sure to tantalize for many years to come. 

Anyone with information please leave a comment....

Select Biography: Dr. Marvin J. Hudson (2013- )

Dr. Marvin J. Hudson was assigned to Wesley UMC in June 2013.  An ordained minister, an experienced pastor, and a New Testament scholar, he pastored in Kansas and Oklahoma. He  taught Biblical languages, theology, and leadership on the college level.

He has a Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Phillips Graduate Seminary, an M.A. from Southern Nazarene University, and a B.A. from Oklahoma City Southwestern College.
"For some twenty years I have served as a United Methodist pastor, including tenures at Drummond, Oklahoma; Nardin, Oklahoma; and for the Twelve year period from 1992-2006 served as senior clergy at Goodrich Memorial United Methodist in the Norman area (1993-2005).  During this time, a strategic action plan was developed to lead the congregation into a local and distance understanding of mission as ministry. Also during this period, a capital program for the erection of a new Family Life Center was successfully completed. A third worship service was launched with a dedicated emphasis upon contemporary worship music in a classic rock style."  Additional pastoral experiences included leading a church strategic goal setting process and plan at New Hope UMC (OKC), initiating mission programs at Wesley UMC (Shawnee), training lay leadership at First UMC (Okmulgee) and working with First UMC (Mooreland). 

His research while at Asbury Theological Seminary focused on leadership studies. His doctoral dissertation explored the facilitation of team leadership within local congregations. Subject matter included effective ministry and turn around strategies related to the various generational and cultural segments present within society. 

In 2011, he received training to become the first Intentional Interim Specialist in the Oklahoma Conference. As an IIP, he is made available to churches to assist them through a variety of transitional events or stages of their community life.
His teaching experiences include full  and adjunct faculty experiences at Southwestern College of Christian Ministries (Southwestern Christian University ), Southern Nazarene University (adjunct Biblical language instructor), Phillips Theological Seminary, and Southwestern Christian University Graduate School (adjunct instructor in hermeneutics, Theology, and leadership development).

He retains active membership in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Classics Association of the Middle South ,  and is an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Women of Wesley

In 1869 the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society (W.F.M.S.) was formed in the Northern M.E. and in the South in 1878. The work was officially recognized by the churches in 1890.  Ladies Aid was first recognized in the 1903 Discipline.  In 1910, the Women's Home Missionary Society (W.H.M.S.)and the W.F.M.S. theoretically merged but apparently some churches continued to hold the patterns established.  In 1921, the Wesleyan Service Guild (WSG) was created for women employed outside the home.  In 1939, all groups united to form the Woman's Society of Christian Service (W.S.C.S.) but the WSG remained separate and then in 1968 all united to form a united W.S.C.S. until 1972 when they came under the new title and structure of the new United Methodist Women (U.M.W.).
First Women’s Groups at Wesley
Ladies Aid was first recognized in the 1903 Discipline of the M.E. Church and had continued to grow.  The first women’s organization of Wesley was a Ladies Aid Society established in March of 1911 with Mrs. A.C. McCullough as first president (1911-1913). The next month 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, in 1929 the original to Wesley group, “Sorrelle”, 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. 
Snapshot of 1940 at Wesley
Proposed History of the Women
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 in the spring of 1911 and the first president was Mrs. D.G. Murray (1912-1913).   In 1940, at Wesley, the group motto was “Saved for Service”, their theme “One Heart, One Way”, their guiding hum was “Brotherhood” (noted as 469 in the Hymnal).  Their study text was “Woman and the Way” and their aims were “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 Leisenring Center, Dunbar, PA; migrant work; 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 in 1926 under the guidance of Maude Thomas Wolf and existed until the merger of women’s groups in 1973.
At Wesley there was also the “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).

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