A NEW CHURCH IS BORN
After years of prayers and planning, 8th Street Church of the Nazarene (then Midtown Church of the Nazarene) launched November 29, 2015, as a daughter church of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene. The dream for this new congregation began two years earlier in Pastor Chris Pollock and his wife Holly, while he was serving on the pastoral team of Bethany First Church. Pastor Michaele LaVigne, also fellow member of the pastoral staff, and her husband Brent soon felt God’s call to join the Pollocks to make this dream a reality. Through months of prayer, discernment and conversation, a team of 80 adults and children gathered with these pastors to form the core team of the new congregation.
City Presbyterian Church generously shared their sanctuary as a place to gather in worship as we searched for our own permanent home. But from the very beginning, we dreamed of restoring an urban building whose neighborhood would define our parish and ministries. It quickly became clear that the 8th Street Church was the home we wanted, and we began praying and working toward that end.
AN OLD CHURCH MADE NEW
The 8th Street Church was constructed by the First German Methodist congregation in 1907. It is a small building – only 7500 square feet – but it was built with care and craftsmanship. It was home to a Methodist congregation until the 1980’s, when it became Skyline Urban Ministries. The last several decades saw a decline in the neighborhood, and in the building itself.
In 2011, St. Anthony Hospital purchased 8th Street Church with the intent of preserving it, although they did not have any immediate plans for the building. In early 2015, one member of our soon-to-be congregation made introductions between the pastors and hospital leaders. As conversations began, we found that we were both interested in helping to create a neighborhood church and make an old building new again.
Although it took another year to finalize the purchase agreement, individuals outside our congregation began to hear about this dream and invest to make it a reality. In the fall of 2016, St. Anthony Hospital offered to sell the 8th Street Church to us without profit. Purchase and renovations of the building totaled $1.8 million, but by God’s grace and the generosity of others, all these costs were paid in full without taking on debt!Renovation began in September of 2017, and our congregation held our first worship service in our new home on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.
Many, many individuals and organizations have been a part of making our 8th Street Dreams reality. People within and outside of our congregation have given sacrificially, and have put in many hours of volunteer work to see this project to completion. But now that we are home on 8th Street, our dreams are just beginning.
OUR 8TH STREET DREAMS
Over the last five years we’ve declared our vision together every week:
We will be a spiritual community of hope and transformation that lives the way of Jesus!
And the more we say these words, the more we understand what they mean. We’ve learned that this kind of community we dream of needs a place for it to take shape. And we’ve also learned that living the way of Jesus means joining in God’s transformation work in people -- and in the places they inhabit.
These are the dreams that push us forward -- land restored to former beauty, places once inhospitable becoming sanctuaries of restoration, space that invites people to linger and be known.
This is why we are working to form The 8th Street Community Foundation in partnership with SSM St. Anthony Hospital of Oklahoma City, and our neighborhood association (SOSA). This foundation would provide for those who have food insecurity issues through the planting of a garden, the establishment of community development initiatives, and services for children and teenagers in our area. We believe this is how we practice living out our vision of being a community of hope and transformation that lives the way of Jesus -- now and into the future.
To learn more about our 8th Street Dreams, click to watch the video below. To give to our building payoff fund, click here.