300th Anniversary Celebration event
begins this Sunday; schedule below
By Patriot Staff
“Oxford’s churches have long been an important part of the town’s history,” said Jean M. O’Reilly, chairman of the Oxford Historical Commission. “Most of them are located on Main Street, so they are readily visible as people travel through town.”
The Historical Commission has worked with the local churches to plan two Sunday afternoon Open House events at many of them, as part of the town’s 300th Anniversary Year celebrations.
About a year and a half ago the commission extended invitations to each of the 13 houses of worship currently active in Oxford, inviting each to participate in an effort to gather their histories. Ten of them have submitted their histories and will participate in the Open House Sundays, scheduled for October 29 and November 4, giving the public an opportunity to visit the churches and see firsthand their unique architecture and story.
The Huguenot Church was the first church in Oxford, but it’s long gone, making the First Congregational Church the oldest still active. Beginning soon after 1713, it was the site for all town meetings – it would have been the only place large enough, said Ms. O’Reilly. “Historically, churches have provided for the spiritual needs of the residents as well as a place for social events. Because they have had a considerable impact on the development of the town, we wanted to focus on them.”
The two consecutive Sunday afternoons have been set aside for the Open Houses to offer people an opportunity to visit several of the churches. Members of the congregation will be on hand to guide visitors, share the history, and point out unique architectural features, such as stained glass windows and old-style pews.
The following churches will be open on both October 29 and November 4 days, from 1 - 4 p.m. unless noted otherwise:
Crosspoint Christian Church, 155 Leicester Street, North Oxford
First Baptist Church, 693 Main Street, North Oxford
First Congregational Church, 355 Main Street
St. Roch Church, 334 Main Street
St. Ann Church, 654 Main Street, North Oxford, 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 1-4 p.m. on Nov. 4
The following churches plan to be open on October 28 only, from 1 – 4 p.m.:
Oak Hill Bible Church, 40 Sacarrappa Road
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 70 South Main Street
The following churches plan to be open on November 4 only, 1-4 p.m. unless noted otherwise:
Grace Episcopal Church, 270 Main Street, 1:30 - 5 p.m.
Oxford United Methodist Church, 465 Main Street
Tabernacle of Praise Church A/G, 8 Maple Street
Ms. O’Reilly said that each time the Historical Commission had a meeting, they invited all 13 churches to participate; however, three chose not to, so their histories will not be available, nor are they part of the Open House schedule. Churches that chose not to participate are the Hindu Temple, Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, and the Mormon Church.