St. John's Episcopal Church is the oldest house of worship in Woodward and probably the oldest in the old Cherokee Outlet. Built within a few months after the Cherokee Outlet land run in 1893, the building is one of just a handful of still existing buildings that were erected after the various land runs in Oklahoma. It is a highly prized and sole-surviving example of buildings erected in Woodward during the early days following the Cherokee Land Run.
When it was built in 1893, if stood at 623 Main Avenue. The building was moved to 923 Texas in 1901 on a horse drawn wooden sled typical of its day and has remained at the same spot since. The move was probable to free up the original location as a choice commercial lot, but a legend says the church was moved because the wife of one of the leading businessmen of Woodward and benefactor of Saint Johns found it too far to walk to church on dusty and often muddy streets.
The exterior of the church was originally frame. It was stuccoed in the late 1940s or 1950s. The architectural design of St. John's is "Gothic Revival" combining several features of obvious Gothic flavor with simplicity of construction and design characteristic of newly settled frontier communities.
St. John's holds many treasures. Among them are objects from Old Fort Supply including a silver communion chalice. Behind the altar is an exquisite hanging brought from England, said to have been used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. There are two Victorian chairs from Canterbury Cathedral. A hallmark sterling silver ladle given in 1963 is used for festive occasions. The prayer shrine in the church is one of the most unusual art pieces in Oklahoma. It is a ceramic depiction of an ancient Christian icon and was made as a gift to the church by Betsy Brown of Hollywood in 1959. An oil painting of Christ in Gethsemane was a gift of the artist Seville Mellinger more than 50 years ago. An anonymous gift of an Allen organ was made in the summer of1993.
St. John's, a mission church, continues to serve the community well. The Church is still what it always has been, a haven for the weary, a place of worship for the believer, and a testimony of undying courage.
Address: 923 Texas
Come visit us in Woodward, Oklahoma