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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Memorials in Glass

Architect Leonard H. Bailey (Bailey and Alden) from ideas and sketches provided to him by the pastor, Dr. William Forney Hovis, designed the sanctuary of Wesley. 

The building is in an “L” shape with sanctuary and educational units and was completed in 1928. The Educational unit’s design style is termed Collegiate Gothic and when first opened was a three story, fireproof building with 40 x112 feet and with 43 rooms designed to address the religious education needs of a congregation of over a thousand. 

The sanctuary was designed to provide visual inspiration through every means possible.  The architectural style of English Gothic replicates many churches of the Middle Ages. Those great European buildings were virtually ‘sermons in stone.’  In an day when few people could read, when services where often conducted in Latin, the challenge was to teach and inspire.  As a result, the music, the architectural designs, artwork, and decorations evolved as teaching tools to share the Christian message of hope and faith. 

The sanctuary is finished in cathedral style art-brick, the wood in beams and pews a deep walnut stain, and fourteen chandeliers of Swedish iron hang from the ceilings and beams. Throughout the sanctuary are thematic representations in wood, stone or glass of basic tenets of belief.  These include the use of the Gothic arch, the use of the number three to represent the doctrine of the Trinity, and the stories in light and color seen in the many windows.

As you examine the sanctuary look for instances of the use of triple symbols.  These represent the concept of the Trinity and are seen in the three entrances and exits into the sanctuary, the clusters of three lights and other examples. The Chi, the Grapevine, and the Shield. The Gothic Arch is often described as being hands clasped in prayer to remind of the need for daily meditation. The arch can be found on the end of pews, on trims, and in the structure itself. As such, it invites a person to come sit and contemplate on things of the spiritual world.

The Stained Glass 
The lovely windows were produced by the Kansas City Stained Glass Works Company.  Well known for producing outstanding art glass, they produced glass for The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St. Luke’s Episcopal, Austin Avenue Methodist and First Christian Church (all of Kansas City). 

The Tour is designed to start in the Narthex (1) and then begin on the right -

Narthex (1)
In this area, there are various donations and gifts such as plaques, furnishings, and decorations.

Cloister, North (3)
(West) “The Nativity” – Mrs. William E. Rowland
(Center) “The Boy Christ”- Mr. & Mrs. J. Edgar Strader
(East) “Christ at the Door”- Mrs. Clara Bell & Family

North Transept (3)
“The Transfiguration” (1928)-Mr. & Mrs. Hillard John Scott
(West) “The Last Supper” –Mr. & Mrs. L.R. Springer
(Center) “Jesus and His Mother”- Ladies’ Bible Class
(East) “The First Disciple” - The Larkins Family (Charles N. Larkins, Lucille Larkins Huguety, and Robert Carl Larkins), “in loving remembrance of our wife and mother,” this would have been Anna Maggie Larkin who died in 1924 in Oklahoma City. 
Chancel  (West or Choir) (4)
“The Beckoning Christ” (Come Unto Me) (1928) - Mr. Overstreet, father of Mrs. Campbell Russell

South Transept (5)
“The Good Shepherd” (1928)- Mrs. Jessie B. Fleming and Mrs. Virginia C. Shike
“Rich Young Man”- T.Harold and Captain W.E. Corkhill
“Gethsemane”- Mrs. D.G. Murray & Family
“Best Friend” – Mrs. Laura S. Day and Miss Olga Stokesberry
“Empty Tomb”- Mr. & Mrs. O.H. Putney

Cloister, South (or Ambulatory) (6)
(East) “Holy Women of the Tomb”- Mrs. N.A. Whittaker and Family
(Center) “World Encircled” – WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union)
(West) “The Ascension”- Mr. and Mrs. Charles Johnson and Miss Minnie Suitor
East Window (7)
“Jesus Blessing the Little Children” (1928)- Mrs. Florida Knight.

Triangular Plot (East) – Fronting east entry area between Douglas and Classen Blvd. Land donated by noted early Oklahoma City founding leader, Anton Classen (before 1928).  Mrs. Classen later donated landscaping and other improvements.

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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