Oxford Presbyterian Church historical roots date back to early 1800s

By Katie McNamara

Oxford Presbyterian Church has overcome relocation, reconstruction and the hardships of the American Civil War. Now located at the corner of Main and Church Streets, Oxford Presbyterian Church looks toward its future.

According to the parish website, Oxford Presbyterian Church started its journey in 1808 when an early group of settlers came from South Carolina to Southeast Ohio and began holding services in a small 30-by-30 foot building. 

Presbyterianism in Southwest Ohio grew rapidly in the mid-1800s. Because of this, new presbyterian churches were built in the area to accommodate the overflow. 

In 1838 Miami Professor Samuel MacCracken opened the Oxford Theological Seminary Church at the corner of Church and Poplar Streets. While this is no longer the congregation’s main place of worship, Oxford Presbyterian Church still owns this building today. 

In 1925, another sanctuary was built one block from the old seminary to accommodate the overflow again. That building is the church as it is known today, at the corner of Main and Church Streets.  

The giant wooden doors that face the Church Streets entrance of the building lead you directly into the sanctuary and are open for guests every Sunday morning. The main sanctuary is lined with wooden pews and inviting stained glass windows.

The seminary building is located on the corner of Church and Poplar Streets and is used for community events. According to Financial Secretary Nick Fears, the stained glass windows that line the seminary building are left from the original construction in 1838.

Sunday services are led by Reverend Lawrence H. Bartel. Every service is accompanied by the organist Lynn Jacobs and the church choir composed of local men and women. 

This story is the latest in a series of photo essays highlighting historic buildings in and around Oxford.