St. Christopher's Episcopal Church was well named. Legend has it that St. Christopher, the Patron Saint of Sailors and Travelers, once carried Jesus on his shoulders.
On January 7, 1953, thirty-two faithful Episcopalians met with the Bishop Coadjutor of Oklahoma, the Rt. Rev. Chilton Powell, in a school room of what was later Jarman Junior High School. The next Sunday, in the very same room, St. Christopher's held its first worship service conducted by a lay reader, Mr. George Ande of St. Paul's Cathedral, Oklahoma City. The following Sunday, services were held in the gymnasium of Westside Grade School. The third Sunday, Bishop Powell celebrated Holy Communion, and encouraged the fifty-five people present to continue in their efforts to build a church.
The new mission was established largely through the efforts of William R. Robins of All Soul's Church, Oklahoma City, who spent his Christmas vacation surveying the area. Also helping the group was Charles M. McCraw, who had served as diocesan keyman for the past four years. St. Christopher's, at this time, was the first mission to be formed through the work of the laymen's movement of the Diocese apart from the efforts of the parish or mission clergy. The name chosen describes a new congregation planted among travelers and shifting population of Tinker Air Force Base.
The Parish Hall
A warranty deed was signed by W.P. Atkinson and Rubye Atkinson which conveyed property to the Protestant Episcopal Church dated July 22, 1955. After a meeting in the school for two years, plans were laid for a new home. The "Resolution Authorizing the Incorporation of a Corporation to be known as St. Christopher's Episcopal Church of Midwest City, Oklahoma" was adopted January 10, 1956. The "Articles of Incorporation" were duly signed by members of the Vestry.
At a meeting of the congregation at the West Side Grade School, plans for Church construction were shown by the Building committee. The building, designed by R. Duane Conner, Architect of Oklahoma City, is of contemporary design and has some unique features. It consists of a self-supporting concrete shell in a parabolic arch, finished on the inside with soft acoustical material. There are no windows in the Parish Hall section. The construction contract, in the amount of $36,900.00, was awarded to Fredrickson-Parks, Inc. of Oklahoma City. A building permit was issued on February 26, 1956 and the construction was underway on the building that is currently the Parish Hall. The first service was held on August 23, 1956. The Rev. Frank Cohoon, the new permanent Vicar, celebrated the Holy Eucharist for the first time in the new building on September 2, 1956.
Building a Sanctuary
The Rev. Lawrence Pierson replaced Frank Cohoon in February 1962. On October 14, 1964, a special congregational meeting voted to build a new building which is the present sanctuary. Also included in this construction were a Rector's study and business's offices. In order to raise the capital, the church adopted a $130,000.00 Security Church Building Bond Program. The brochures stated that the following will be accomplished: "Nave designed to seat 300 comfortably. Present building freed for use as Parish Hall. Air-condition Church. Three additional classrooms for Church School. Landscape front of church. Retirement of present debt. Paved drives and parking area for 100 cars." The architect was John E. Peter, Oklahoma City and the contractor was Commander Construction Company, Oklahoma City. Ground breaking ceremony was held on June 6, 1965. The building was dedicated on January 16, 1966.
In the fall of 2009, as self-help project was completed to change the three classrooms to offices for Clergy and Staff.
A Mission Becomes a Parish
The Rev. Phillip Crow was appointed Vicar on May 1, 1969. It was during Father Crow's tenure that St. Christopher's classification changed from Mission to Parish. On May 5, 1972, it was admitted to Parish status by the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. Father Crow was the first Rector and served until January 1983.
By 1958, the Vestry decided a new Educational Building was needed to meet the demands of the growing congregation. The financing was based on the pledges made to the Building Fund. The American State Bank was to pay for construction costs, which were to be repaid from Building Fund pledges during the next three years with the loan being paid in full by March 1962. On May 3, 1959, a Ground Breaking Ceremony was held with construction beginning in July 1959. At the regular meeting in July, the Vestry authorized a contract be signed with Frederickson Construction Company to build the new classroom building at an estimated cost of $27,355.00. Architect's fees were estimated at $1,642.60, which brought the total cost to $28,996.60. Church School opened in the new building on October 28, 1959 with 191 people in attendance.
In August 2012, a self-help project was finished with a complete renovation of the nursery.