A History of Oxford Presbyterian Church

A History of Presbyterianism in Oxford, Ohio, by Phillip Shriver and Edith Puff

Available in the Church Library

James Hughes gathered the first Presbyterian congregation in Oxford in 1818. After Hughes’ death in 1821, Robert Hamilton Bishop reorganized the church in 1825.

The first seven presidents of Miami University and nine of the first eleven were all Presbyterian ministers. Many of them filled the pulpits of the local Presbyterian churches.

In 1835 the First Church was completed on the northeast corner of Campus and Church streets (the current site of Delta Zeta National Headquarters), providing Oxford Presbyterians with a home for worship instead of using Miami University chapels.

In 1842 the “New School” Second Church Building was erected at the northeast corner of Main and Church Streets. It was in use until 1927 when it was replaced at the same site by the current sanctuary for Oxford Presbyterian Church. Referred to as “The Memorial” church, it was made possible through a gift from Laura Kumler.

January 1, 1966 marked the joining of the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Oxford and the Seminary United Presbyterian Church of Oxford as The United Presbyterian Church of Oxford, Ohio. According to the Elders at this time, the merger made for a stronger church, wiser use of financial resources and the ability to offer children and young people a better Christian Education Program. In 1980, the congregation celebrated 155 years of Presbyterianism in Oxford. There was a parade and the bell in the Seminary building was rung 155 times. The reunion of the northern and southern branches of the Presbyterian denomination, separated since the civil war, occurred in 1983 and with it a name change to The Oxford Presbyterian Church. A $50,000 renovation to the sanctuary began in 1985.This included refurbished floors, restored chandeliers, new carpeting, a new sound system, and paint and plaster repairs to the walls.

In 1989 The Oxford Presbyterian Church celebrated the 200th birthday of the Presbyterian Church in America with a bicentennial themed worship service. To commemorate the event pictorial quilts were created and an historic cookbook was put together.

In February 1993, the Seminary building was dedicated as a youth center. It became a place for the youth of the congregation to call their own for fellowship and fun.

Between February 1994 and April 1995, over $450,000 worth of pledges were made to the two-part Maintenance and Renovation Campaign. This provided for electrical system upgrades and heating and air-conditioning systems in both the main sanctuary building and Seminary building.

Christmas time in 1996 brought a new Rodgers custom four manual organ to the church.

Current pastors and the first co-pastors in the history of Oxford Presbyterianism, Revs. J. Mark and Barbara Z. Barnes, were installed March 1, 1998.

On March 19, 2000 Oxford Presbyterian Church celebrated its “birthday” marking 175 years of service to the community and the world.

At year ending 2010, Oxford Presbyterian Church had 441 total active members.

With long-time Christian Education Director Prue Dana’s retirement approaching in December 2010, a committee conducted an intensive 13-month search to find her replacement. In July 2011, Oxford Presbyterian Church welcomed its new Christian Education Director, Christine Garton.

Source: Shriver, Phillip R. & Puff, Edith Foth (2000). ” A History of Presbyterianism in Oxford, Ohio 1818-1825″ 2000. Oxford, OH: The Oxford Presbyterian Church