CHECOTAH — On Nov. 26, Checotah United Methodists will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church’s sanctuary, constructed in 1917. Only a few sanctuaries in the Oklahoma Conference have hosted worshippers for 100 years.
This is the oldest brick church in McIntosh County, its bricks made from clay quarried nearby.
The late Lee Stidham, who chaired the Administrative Board, was instrumental in getting the church named to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 13, 1984.
The congregation was organized and built the first house of worship in 1890. Since that time three structures have occupied the hilltop setting.
The current building, 44 feet by 71 feet, was constructed in 1917 at a cost of $15,000. The interior is a “meeting house” design, with a corner pulpit, four aisles radiating out, and a semi-circular altar rail and balcony. It was a fairly common building plan in the early 20th century.
Limestone was moved by railroad from Missouri and then by dray wagons up Gentry Avenue to be used for the exterior high stone water table. The millwork and pews from Tennessee are oak, as are three Jacobean pulpit chairs and table. The pine floors also are original.
On Nov. 26, the centennial commemoration service will begin at 10:50. Guest preacher will be Emery Mason, Green Country District superintendent.
After a luncheon, a guided tour of the sanctuary will include some history about the 19 stained-glass windows. Also open for touring will be Memorial Hall, which is not part of the original sanctuary building. Memorial Hall pays tribute to the church’s 54 World War II veterans.
Visit the church at 419 W. Gentry, call 918-473-5714, or go to www.fumcchecotah.org. Jim Jones is pastor.