Our History

“History of the First Christian Church of Buffalo, Oklahoma” (As it appeared in the 85th Anniversary Church Directory published in 1991 under Jerry Balke, Minister)

In 1906 at Brule, OK now part of the town of Buffalo, OK, a small group of people met and organized the First Christian Church of Buffalo, with Wm. Foster as elder, E.M. Best and M.H. Miller as deacons, Mrs. Frances Miller, clerk, and Mrs. R.E. McMinn, treasurer. J.J. McClain was engaged to preach once a month. Another of the first ministers was a T.A. Mullen.

This organization existed until January 25, 1909, when C.P. Murphy, C.W.B.M. Living Link Evangelist of Fredrick, OK, helped reorganize the church. The following members were chosen for officers: Elders: J.K. Baker and H.C. Bayne; Deacons: N. C. Austin, E.M. Best and W.H. Miller; Secretary-Treasurer—Mr. Frances Miller. Church services were held for a while at the Baptist Church building then moved to the E.M. Best Hall.

There were seventeen charter members: Mr. & Mrs. E.M. Best, Mr. & Mrs. W.H. Miller, Mr. & Mrs. H.C. Bayne, Mrs. Sarah Ferguson, Mr. Harvey Ferguson, Mr. & Mrs. J.M. Ferguson, Mr. & Mrs. Everett Foster, Mr. J.K. Baker, Mr. & Mrs. N.C. Austin, and Mrs. Robert E. McMinn.

Today, October 1973, Mrs. J.M. (Chella) Ferguson is the only charter member living and still attends the church services being very active in church work.

In 1910, the church members engaged an evangelist, Rev. McClure, to hold a meeting. During this meeting, there were forty-five additions.

The members appointed a building committee composed of Dr. R.R. Anderson, E.M. Best, I.C. Jones, N.C. Austin, J.C. McNutt and W.H. Miller. Plans were made and work began on the basement of the church. January, 1911, the basement was completed and dedicated the first of August, 1911.

In 1911, another evangelist, Rev. Stine held a meeting and there were twelve more additions. The following years the membership increased.

In February 1912, an election of officers was held for four elders, six deacons, five deaconesses, and a clerk.

In 1913, more officers were added to those already serving and Mr. E.M. Best was elected clerk and Mr. A.B. Dewater was elected treasurer.

After the completion of the church basement, regular Sunday School and church services were held.

In 1914, church officers and the congregation voted to offer their place of worship to the Presbyterians for services on the 5th Sundays. Plans were also made for a parsonage. This parsonage was completed and was used for many years.

The old record books show that Mrs. E.M. Best was the church secretary through 1916, with church treasurers as A.B. Dewater and C.A. Wyatt.

The Christian Church carried on through the following years gaining in membership. These faithful dedicated members gave their time and talents to further the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the New Testament Church.

In 1918, the Pleasant Valley Christian Church located in the county northeast of Buffalo, closed and some of its members came in the Buffalo Christian Church.

By 1926—27, the church membership began planning for its new church building. A building committee was appointed: A.M. Barker (Minister), Chairman; Earl Anderson, Vice-Chairman; Thos. G. Cook, Secretary-Treasurer; Gordon Lauer, Theron Temple, C.E. McMinn, W.H. Temple, and J.W. Reed, members.

During the time of the building, our Sunday School and church services were held each Sunday in the old court room on the second floor of the Miles Building.

In 1929, our new red brick church building was completed and dedication services were held Sunday, July 29, 1929. We looked forward to this special day with much pride and enthusiasm. A special program was planned for the morning worship. Dr. I.N. McCash, president of Phillips University, was our guest speaker. A basket dinner was brought in by the members and served at noon in the church basement. That afternoon, the program and services continued. Visiting ministers participated in the program along with vocal and instrumental numbers given by churches from neighboring towns.

During the preparation for the financing of the building, members worked faithfully to contribute and raise money. Some borrowed money personally, some gave what they could and others gave of their time and labor. Several took part in a fund raising program. Donations were sent in from business firms in some of our larger cities as a result of the effort. Our Ladies Aid group contributed quite a sizable amount of money over a period of years, also.

The Ladies Aid group served dinners to the Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Clubs each week for a number of years. Also, special dinners and banquets for businessmen, 4-H clubs, alumni, and farm sales were served. This group of women worked faithfully. They donated their time, labor, and food for the cause.

After building the new church some difficult times due to weather occurred which hurt the membership financially. First came a severe storm with hail that wiped out a promised wheat crop. Then came the dry years of the thirties called the drought. Dust bowl conditions followed and became very serious. Farmers were fortunate to make enough to survive the nation-wide depression that followed, hence, it slowed down the paying off of our building debt.

As times began to improve and normal crop years were back, we were able to make some improvements on our parsonage. We bought furniture and floor covering. Later on, extensive remodeling work was done on the parsonage. New floors and new roofs along with changes in the kitchen and bathroom were made.

In 1948, during the ministry of Tom B. Clark, it was decided by the church board and members to add improvements to our church, the church yard, and the parking lot.  The sanctuary was redecorated with new carpeting being laid in the sanctuary and aisles, evergreen trees were planted in the church yard completely around the parking lot, and sidewalks were made where needed.

During the years of the forties and fifties, our membership was able to take care of the building indebtedness. This was completed during the ministry of Elmer N. Earley, who served as minister from 1956 through 1958. Brother Earley left in the spring 1959. We called Carroll McCoy as minister. In the fall of that year we decided on a date that would be convenient for the Earleys to come back to visit for the special service witnessing the burning of the mortgage.

This event was held in December during the Christmas holidays. In the evening a fellowship supper was held followed by a short program at which time we witnessed the burning of the mortgage, with Elmer N. Early, former minister, Clayton H. Lauer, Chairman of the finance committee and Carroll McCoy, minister, presiding.

In 1958, The First Christian Church of Selman, Oklahoma closed, and many of its members came to unite with the First Christian Church of Buffalo. Previous to that date, several of the Selman church members had already placed their membership here.

Plans were underway for the building on the south wing of the church which would be the educational building. The ground breaking ceremony took place directly after the morning services on December 14, 1958.

There were some changes made because of the new addition. The church kitchen was moved from the southeast side of the fellowship hall to the northeast side resulting in an almost complete new kitchen with new cabinets and appliances.

During the years after the church building debt was paid, a building fund was set up and contributed to generously. Thus, we were able to continue to make improvements needed from time to time in our church and its new addition.

 A few years after the educational sing was completed, a new carpet was added to the foyer stairs and hall.

In 1959 and 1973, two individuals of our membership generously presented our choir with new robes. These gifts were greatly appreciated.

A special fund had been started by members of our church and added to generously to purchase a new organ for the sanctuary. A committee was appointed to select the organ. This purchase was made in 1957. Later a small upright piano was bought to match the organ in wood and color. The baby grand piano then in use in the sanctuary was moved to the fellowship hall.

In 1960, more lots were bought directly south of the parking lots to enlarge our parking space. This extended our church property south to Turner Street. Evergreen trees were planted on the wast side of the new parking lots.

Other improvements have been made over the years, such as water coolers for the sanctuary which were later replaced by refrigeration units. Then later, gas central cooling and heating were added. The first heating system was a furnace in which coal was used.

In 1963, our church board and membership decided to make plans for a new parsonage. An auction was held selling the old parsonage and contents. The parsonage was purchased by Keith Lauer and moved to his land two miles west of Buffalo to be used on building his family’s new home.

In 1964, the modern three-bedroom brick parsonage was built. Dr. Richard Yaple’s family was the first to occupy the new parsonage. Dr. Yaple was engaged to preach for a short time before the completion of the parsonage.

The Fellowship Hall in the church basement was due some much needed improvements. In the spring of 1971, some remodeling was done consisting of paneling the walls and lowering and straightening the ceiling.

In the spring of 1973, the sanctuary walls were repainted, new carpeting was laid on all the sanctuary floor, woodwork was varnished, new cushions were made for the pews, and some rearranging of the pews was done to make space in the center aisle.

In 1973, the church constitution was amended so that the Deaconesses could be elected. The following year the board decided that greeters were needed each Sunday to welcome those arriving for Sunday school and church services.

In 1975, new air conditioners for the sanctuary and fellowship hall were installed along with a chair lift on the main stairway to the sanctuary.

In 1976, the board of elders decided to schedule teams of two from the elders, deacons, and deaconesses to take communion to shut-ins, hospital, and nursing home. Also this year a speaker was installed in the nursery so that the attendant could enjoy the worship service. New robes were purchased at a cost of $5,113.00.

In 1977, a love gift of $400 was given to Lucia Miller, a member of our church and also “Miss Oklahoma,” to help her on her trip to Korea with the Revival Fires Troupe. The World Outreach Committee also furnished $160 for Lucia’s evangelistic trip to Alaska as Miss Oklahoma.

The board voted to add to the bylaw #9, the names of all deaconesses and to add to bylaw #10, names of all elders emeritus.

It was agreed that the church would send cards to all its ill members and/or their family. Also, it was decided to start sending birthday cards to all residents in the Western Nursing Home. New song books were purchased—46 being paid for by members in memoriam and 121 were paid for by the church. A new organ as purchased at a total figure of $4,750.00 with $1,800.00 coming from the memorial fund and $2,950.00 from the general fund. New horizontal speakers were also installed in the rear of the sanctuary.

In 1979, new tinted glass doors and panic bar opening were installed in the narthex.

In 1980, the church contributed $100 toward establishing a chapel in the Harper County Community Hospital.

1982 saw the church participating in a school of missions were various missionaries came to this area to give us information on their individual mission work. This has proven very successful with our church contributing $20,330.00 during the past ten years the school has existed.

This was the year that a contractor was hired to clean the outside of the church and educational building, re-mortar, caulk, scrape all painted wood and repaint. They also sealed all cracks and plaster inside the church and painted the walls.

The tall shrubbery was removed from around the church and flower beds were made and are maintained by JoAnn Balke, the minister’s wife.

Due to efforts of the Ministerial Alliance, each church takes their turn holding a worship service for the residents of the Western Nursing Home. Our church held their first service for the residents in February 1983.

A need was seen for a restroom for men on the second floor. With some remodeling, an empty classroom was converted into a very nice restroom for the women with ample space for dressing for special occasions. In doing this, the restroom previously for the women was turned into the men’s restroom.

Early in the year 1985, Bernie Barkley discussed with the board her desire to serve in Zaire, Africa, as a missionary bookkeeper for the African Christian Mission. This was to be investigated as to coast, needs, etc. Bernie made a positive commitment to furnish $894.65 per month toward the required $1500. The board suggested the congregation vote on being responsible for $600 per month. The vote was 55 yes to 5 no in support of the $600 per month commitment. Brother Jerry Balke was to be her forwarding agent. Bernie served from May 1986 through April 1989.

A new sound system and tape recording unit was purchased and installed in 1985 costing $2215.

Our church joined several other area churches in the collection and delivery of food for the Old Mexico Project in 1987.

During Valentines’ week the adults sponsor a Sweetheart Banquet for the youth and then the youth sponsor a banquet for the adults. It has become a tradition that at the adult banquet secret prayer partner names are drawn for the year for all those who wish to participate. These names are revealed at the next year’s banquet.

Janie Waugh presented the board a video program outlining the details of an inte4antional Youth for Christ seminar to be held in Washington D.C. It included freshmen through senior classes and was for the purpose of developing young Christian leaders. The trip was made in late July 1988 and also in 1991 by some of our youth and their sponsors. The youth served delicious Sunday dinners in the fellowship hall once a month to help fund the trips.

A memorial fund was established for Brian Appleton, son of Bruce and De’ett Appleton. Brian was a young member of our church who was accidentally killed. The church helped in securing a television and video unit for the church in Brian’s memory. Also, a basketball goal post was erected in his memory.

Our church participates in community Thanksgiving Day services where most of the churches have a special worship program at the high school auditorium. A collection is taken up that is used by the Ministerial Alliance to help transients throughout the year.

A vacant store window on main street was adopted by the church and is maintained with various religious themes with the intent of witnessing to all of our living Lord.