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Monday, April 20, 2015

'WESLEY HISTORY PLAY" (Typed from Original Documents)

[Retyped from original documents – note many names misspelled and historical inaccuracies – play intended for presentation for the 50th anniversary in 1960. It was written and performed by church teens. ]



I    - Organization of church. October 12, 1910. Hymn (Gladys). Building.

               Characters:  Rev. Colwell (Rosebrook),

                Mr. Turner (Kilgour),

                 McCullah (Gary Antone),

                 Stevenson (Korn-),

                Bradshaw (Buddy),

                Mr. Smith,

                Tyler, Layer (Hartronft),

                Little Ralph Bradshaw (Susie).

                Mrs. Bradshaw, Mrs. Paul, Mr. Smith

                Close hymn singing (Gladys)

II    -      First service Christmas day, 1910.

III.         Sunday School Organized. 1st Sunday, Jan. 1911.

IV.          Tabernacle moved, 1911. Epworth U discontinued. Methodists there moved membership to Epworth and to Wesley. Narrator tells this.    Goes into mush and milk supper scene, dust in cracks, etc.

              Characters: Turner (Dick Kilgour) ;                                      Ralph Bradshaw (Buddy)

                                    McCullah (Gary Antone);                                Mr. Smith (Jim Kornmaier)

V.            WMU formed (Ladies Aid) Song, scene (Martha)


VI.            Service in tabernacle. Ice air conditioning, etc.  Scenes of old church building on slides (Bob Spears). Pantomime on ice air conditioning.


VII.   Music. Palmer. Jolson, etc.


Clyde – trombone

Dick Rosebrook – trumpet

Dick Kilgour – clarinet

Buddy – Piano

VIII. Hard cider youth party    Characters: (Elliot writing)

IX.   1929 and on, crises. On through 30’s (Doughnuts), debts.

Characters:  Mrs. Wall (Susie)

X. Narrator—accomplishments review. Go into short of Nuell Crain preaching.  Fade. Dr. Walker. Wailson Garner

XI. Family night dinner. Dr. Walker (Elliot)



Pro Logue

CURTAIN: (SCENERY 1 easy chair, upstage right

                   Projection screen – upstage center

                   Slides – in projector

                   High stool – down stage right

                   Stage and foot lights on – house lights out).

Narrator: (Seated on easy chair holding candy cigarette in left hand, projector switch in lap and holding hand microphone in right hand.)

                Good evening! I’m Ed Collingswood. The name of the program is “Parson to Parson.”----Tonight through the magic of electronics we take you to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where a momentous occasion is taking place. Fifty years ago, a  group of courageous, enterprising, God-fearing people began a new Methodist church, which was named “Wesley Tabernacle” after the founder of Methodism, John Wesley.  This year has been set aside to commemorate the golden anniversary of this occasion.

                (Stage lights are turned out.)

                Unbelievable progress has taken place in that period of time - - (slide), until now a beautiful structure stands at the corner of Northwest 25th St. and Douglas Avenue in that City.  It is an attractive building which readily catches the eyes of the many people passing by on busy Classen Boulevard. – (slide)

                The interior of this building (slide) houses one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in this part of the United States.  Its stain glass windows (slide) are exquisite in breath-taking beauty -- - (slide)---The early morning sun (slide) streaming in through the east window richly bathes the entire sanctuary and renders it conducive to prayerful worship.  For the exceptionally warm Oklahoma summers (slide) this giant air conditioning unit is utilized to make the building a more comfortable place in which to worship.

                It takes a rather large staff to adequately a church of these proportions.--- (slide)---_ wonderful people work together with understanding, dedicated laymen to co-ordinate the functions of this house of God.

                (Projector off – stage lights on. Narrator gets up and walks downstage right - - peels paper from candy cigarette and takes bite.  Curtains close.)

                Most great things have humble beginnings.  Wesley Methodist Church was no exception. It wasn’t always a large, beautiful, well staff structure as we have seen here tonight.

                (Rise ((Takes seat on high stool, down stage right.)

                Tonight we would like to take you back in time - - Let’s turn the calendar back and review some of the incidents which have taken place over these 50 golden years. Names and exact dates have been obscured by the sands of time, but - - - well, let’s go anyway.


(History of Wesley Methodist Church)

Scene I

Beginning              October 10, 1910

Narrator:               To most citizens of Oklahoma City, October 10, 1910 was just another crisp Fall day. In fact, the

Conversation on the street, which has long since been forgotten, at that time was shocking. These two ladies are on a shopping expedition in the boom metropolis.

In front of curtain

Sarah Jane:            Nellie, don’t look back now, but did you see that brazen woman back there in that dress that clear up to her ankles? (While talking they slowly walk across the stage in front of curtain)

Nellie:                    Yes, I saw it all right. All the men in town did, too. Nothing good will come of her. It’s disgraceful.

Sarah Jane:            Oh, what’s going on in this generation? It really scares me to think that they’ll be running the world in a few years. (Walk off shaking their heads)

Narrator:               To a handful of people in Oklahoma City, this was a very special day. The ladies would more likely be enthusiastically discussing the possibilities of becoming charter members of a new church. That very evening this little group of families was to have a meeting to discuss it.  Let’s look in on that meeting now.

Scene:    The living room of one of the charter members.  The families are seated in a semi-circle while Rev. Caldwell stands to conduct the meeting.

Curtain Opens

Rev. Caldwell[MAH1] :          Let us bow our heads and pray for the Lord’s blessing our planning.  Our Father, we have many important decisions to make tonight in order to erect a house of worship to the glory.  We pray that thou wilt guide our every decision.  We ask it in Jesus name and for thy sake. Amen.  First, I’d like to announce that the following people have accepted trusteeship: A.H. Tyler, B.E. Bradshaw, H.B. Turner, Mr. J.M.Smith, Edwin Stevenson, and A.C. McCollough (list on piece of paper). Stewards are: Mrs. A.H. Tyler, Mrs. A.G. Paul, and Mrs. H.B. Turner.

Mr. Turner (Standing): Rev. Caldwell, we’re all anxious to know whether you have found a place for us to erect a church building.

Rev. Caldwell:            I was just getting to that Brother Turner. I have found some lots at 32nd and Military that I feel would be very suitable.

Mr. McCollough:     But Reverend, that’s clear out of town. Shouldn’t we get a place nearer to our homes?

Rev. Caldwell:      Well brother McCollough, I realize that seems pretty far out to most of you, but we have a plan

Curtain rises on a group of five men who are engaged in cleaning tabernacle – sweeping, etc.

R.E. Bradshaw: “Well, our cleaning details around quite often. But I guess we should be grateful. We do have a new church building.”

C.A. McCullough: “Yes, we have a lot to be thankful. For example, we can sweep this dirt through the cracks of this platform. (at this point he does). Makes it easier – don’t have to bother with a dust pan.”

R.E. Bradshaw: “Well, fellers, since we talked last week about having this dinner for the women folks – I did some thinking.  Our wives have been doing all the work here – making money that is.  So we could turn our treat for our wives in a money making project for the church: But – all the men I talked to about it seemed to feel that the best we could do as far as food was concerned is MUSH – with sugar and milk. Do you think friends would buy mush – even to help the church?”

 H.B. Turner: I have a suggestion. Down at the store we have tin cups and spoons on sale cheap. Why don’t we sell cups and spoons for .25. I can probably get a good discount on the hardware.

 A.H. Tyler: There goes our pal Turner – always trying to get a little free advertising for S.H. Kress Co.  I admit though, it’s nice to have one of Kress big shots in our church.

 McCullough: Your ideas suit me fine – and I’m hard to please.  But who’s going to make the mush?

 Archibald: “Now me! I can’t even boil water. Last week my wife was sick for two days, and I practically starved and so did she.  Don’t expect me to do any food fixing.”

Tyler: We all will and I think the idea is a good one.  I am sure our wives and friends will overlook the fact they’re eating mush and join in the thing to help the church. I suggest we have some kind of program for entertaining after supper.

 Bradshaw: That’s fine. We’ll plan on this two weeks from tonight.  Turner, you see about the cups and spoons.

End of scene:

 [Deleted Scene – note says “cut to short narration tableau]

 PROPS: In the background of the narrator piano playing, “In the Good Old Summertime” or “Summertime”)

 Narrator:    On a Sunday morning in the summer of 1917, old Sol had begun to scorch the skies with soaring temperatures that had already passed the 75 degree mark and was rising fast. But, for the newly organized Church of Wesley Tabernacle this was believed to be a small matter, for the Sunday Service would continue despite the (growing) oppressive heat and the lack of a good cooling or ventilation system.

As the morning progressed and prayers were offered in humble unity. A few silent prayers were given up for a deliverance in the condition of the ever present heat. 

The long ponderous clothing the women wore was proving burdensome and did nothing to improve the situation that was beginning to be almost too much to endure.

One solution seemed to be that of fanning oneself with the Sunday program, but that was short-lived because the noise interfered with the speaker and you couldn’t keep up with the singing because the numbers of the pages on the program would be all wrinkled from fanning yourself and more often than not, unreadable.

A solution had to be derived at or the new church would soon be an old church with few or no members…

CH-H-H!!! BUT, wait??? In the mind of one of the members an idea was lurking. OH< WHAT AN IDEA, WHAT AN IDEA??

MEMBER:   Fellow members and guest. It has been drawn to my attention that a problem exists in our church and it needs to our immediate attention. So, let me be the first to suggest a plan were by next Sunday we may sit in the pews in ease, comfort, and I hope coolness throughout the morning service. NOW, if each of you will bring as much ice as you can possibly carry next Sunday, I will provide us with a fan that will be placed behind the stack of ice.  As the air blows through the church we can enjoy its blissful comfort. Does everyone agree????

NARRATOR: It was unanimous and on cue each member brought as much ice as they could carry, drag or push to the church.  A few members didn’t seem to mind that the pounds of ice they were carrying had begun to melt in the back of their new or nearly new automobiles causing the floor-boards to be covered with water that scattered and splashed on every thin at each stop the automobile made.

As each one brought their contribution to the cause,  the back of the church began to fill with tons and tons of beautiful, cool, gleaming ice.

As the morning advanced and service began the large fans were turned on.  The cool air was rewarding as it bounced off the tons of ice.

The enjoyment and pride felt by the congregation was shared by everyone and the Minister got everyones undivided attention.

They had started to desolve.  Slowly at first but gradually increasing its speed as the morning passed and the hear outside the church became more intense.

Halfway through the serve the water was running over the tops of the tub containers and finidng its way down beneath the pews.

The sight of such an unusual thing seemed a handsome reward for a little boy who can’t quite understand how anyone can be turned in to salt but, can very well understand that what he is seeing, running wildly beneath these old hard chairs, was of real great value!  Especially if you have a Mother who is mean enough to make you wear an old stiff shirt that scratches when you move and on top of that SHE made you wear shoes today.  Can you beat that??? “SHOES” .  The old things hurt your feet real bad and besides they SQUEEK.  Now if one could just slip them into the water running under his chair and all around the room, just think how refreshing it would be and besides they wouldn’t squeak anymore and just look at all the fun you could have splashing the water on old pal Stevie boy in the next row!!

Like most good things they must end.  Some sooner than others but after careful consideration of the new situation and the facts that little Stevie caught a bad cold that lasted all summer and the new floor in the church had begun to buckle and the women’s dresses were all water stained, it was needless to say that after only a few weeks of cool living in the church, the Sunday service of fanning with the programs returned.


 NARRATOR:  To every soul, saint or sinner, comes one great hour, for out of the grief and the despair can come true greatness.  At such a time, a child of God can actually reach for and touch the hand of God.  Sometimes that child has been struggling to live, to achieve happiness.  The darkness strikes around him everything seems lost.  He falls to his knees, crying out for help.

 The people, who were the founding mothers and fathers of Wesley Methodist Church realized that God, and only God, was their guide.  On Wednesday nights, the emphasis was on a close, loving, comforting, personal contact with God. Those Wednesday nights, prayer meetings – remember?  It was like being baptized by the fire of the Holy Spirit then rising again to new heights for the next hard day of living, to be part of that great time of prayer and testimony.  This was an hour, two hours, longer, a time of listening to the voice of God within.  No, it wasn’t always a still small voice that the olden day saints heard as they meditated.  More often it was a sure, strong Voice showing them right and wrong, guiding their visions, their minds, their hearts.  All they needed to do was to reach up, up, up ----- and there was their comforting, caring, loving God.

 This time of grief and despair began in 1929. Remember? The story began December 20, 1926 when the educational unit was planned and was occupied by January 9, 1927.  Then came the sanctuary. According to the Daily Oklahoman records on May 21, 1928 pledges of $76,000 were received for the sanctuary of the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church.

 Then Spring of 1929.  Like a thief in the night, headlines eased into the picture from a back room, through an unlocked window.  Then came September. [Note: Actually the date was October 29, 1929] Remember? The stock market crash! Ominously this cruel evil thing passed through the beautiful new sanctuary, slowly he crept through the congregation, a monster called fear. The courageous band of Methodists saw him then they felt his presence.

Now there wasn’t enough money to make the payments. The parsonage payments were due, also. The people were willing.  But in case after case, their income was almost nil.  Family after family found there was no possible way to meet their pledges.  By the end of 1929, the situation was dark, hopeless.  The prayers at prayer meeting were deeply earnest. For those people truly loved their church.

 Curtain opens for group in prayer positions.

[DELETED SCENE IX]  ---  Prayer Meeting:

(Music : “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” in minor, sing a verse in minor key as curtain opens).

Rev. Zentz: (Rises, kneels.  Others kneel by their chairs, press hand over eyes reverently). Prays a prayer, deeply emotional.

One by one, the others offer simple, humble prayers – asking God for help.

Mrs. Wahl testifying of her love of her Lord and her church, she sings a simple verse a cappella of Amazing Grace or similar song.

In closing, Mrs. Wessel prays earnestly to God for help for her church. Prayer along this line:

“Lord, our Lord: show us the way. How we love our church you have given us. Won’t you give us work to do – anything- anything-, Lord. As for me, just tell me what to do –and I’ll do it for you and for your own church…”

Another voice, that of Mrs. Potts: “Amen Lord. Just show us the way. We’ll really work. Truly we will…”

Sing a strain of The Church’s One Foundation a cappella on knees.

Second Scene (Same characters)]

Narrator: It wasn’t long before that “way” came to the devout saints who had prayed that night.  In the fine, new church kitchen, they made doughnuts, by the dozens, by the hundreds, sometimes two hundred dozen in one day.  The men brought in supplies, ran errands to help. But, of course, the men in the families had to make a living each day and it was impossible for them to work to save the church only when they were free.

                               How willing were these early-day Wesley Methodists?  Well, take this scene in the church kitchen – at three a.m. – yes, three a.m. in the morning.  It’s Mrs. Wessel again and that’s Mrs. Potts there with her.  Two other women, Mrs. Gibbens, and Mrs. Bradshaw.  That’s Mrs. Wessel frying the donuts in deep fat. Mrs. Potts is sacking them.

Mrs. Potts:  Mrs. Wessel, this makes 84 dozen doughnuts. Do you think we ought to let up for a while.  You look sort of red faced. That grease will splatter a lot won’t it.

Mrs Wessel: My dear, my face isn’t as tired as my feet. I’ll admit they ache.  But we’ve got to keep frying doughnuts if we are going to make that church mortgage payment next week.  Mrs. Gibbens, can you bring me some lard?

Mrs. Gibbens: Of course, Here you are. But really, Mrs. Wessel, you’re actually burning your face with so much frying.

 Mrs. Wessel: (turns brushes an arm across her face a little wearily) I’ll put a little lard on my face…It does burn a little. But I can’t stop! (she laughs)  I just can’t stand the thought of letting this grease get cold when it could be making doughnuts to save Wesley.  (She gets a little grease, rubs t on her cheeks and nose).

Mrs. Potts:  You know, I know that the Lord intended that Wesley church be here - -- or it wouldn’t be here.  I feel that the Lord is guiding us here - - just as he guided me yesterday when I was going out North Classen.

Mrs. Gibbens: What happened to you?

Mrs. Potts: I was driving along on that icy payment as carefully as I could in my model T. Suddenly, my car turned out of control - - and before I knew it I had turned a complete circle on the ice.  But do you know the Lord was with me – and my doughnuts – there were eleven dozen in the back seat.  Not a one spilled. I wasn’t hurt, though I’m still shaky.

Mrs. Gibbens: It’s a wonder that car didn’t turn over.

Mrs. Wessel: It didn’t turn over because God was present, and taking care of us. The others will agree.  (The other women nod and murmur agreement)

Mrs. Wessell: I’m like the rest of you. I love my Lord.  I love this, His church.  I would do anything for this Church. Why, I would GIVE MY LIFE for it!


 [MAH1]  Should read Colwell, Rev. Frank Colwell was the first pastor.

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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