Our church history originates with the birth of Ardmore itself when a horseback riding circuit preacher, Rev. J.C. Scivally, organized the “Ardmore Methodist Church” on September 16, 1888, in borrowed space at the corner of North Washington and West Broadway. Ardmore had been only a year earlier, in 1887, when the Santa Fe Railroad built North from Texas into Indian Territory. The original church register lists twelve charter members. Growth in the church was steady and the new congregation soon acquired property at the Southeast corner of B St. SW and West Broadway. A white frame church was constructed. In October of 1888, at the very first service in the new building, two young girls were baptized. Now owning the building in which they worshiped, the congregation took the name, the “Broadway Methodist Episcopal Church South”. A spurt of growth in the community in the mid-1890’s caused the congregation to erect a new, red brick structure on the same site. The cornerstone was laid in 1902.
The discovery of oil fields in Carter County, beginning in 1913, brought a surge in population and church growth. Before long, the church outgrew the red brick building. By 1920, our current site at the corner of E St. NW and West Main St. had been purchased and plans were being made for yet another new building. Work progressed slowly, with members doing much of the work themselves. Supplies and materials were purchased as money became available. Services were held in the basement of the unfinished structure. The church officially became “The First Methodist Church” and the first service in the new sanctuary was held on October 25, 1925. Then, came the Great Depression and the congregation struggled to pay for the new building. But, by 1937, all debt was finally removed.
The church has seen many changes throughout the years. In the late 1950’s, the church purchased the building which adjoined our property on the west. In the early 1960’s McClure Chapel was built in that space as a memorial to Rev. J. T. McClure, who served as the pastor of the church during the construction of the original church building. In 1968, at the merger of two denominations, The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, we became “The First United Methodist Church of Ardmore”. Building renovations in the 1960’s, then again in the 1970’s changed the interior of the sanctuary considerably. In the 1980’s, adjacent properties to the west were acquired for classrooms and parking.
By the late 2000’s, the church recognized a growing need to offer both contemporary and traditional worship services, as well as a need for more classrooms. A multi-purpose building, the Colvert Ministry Center, was constructed in 2007 at the corner of E St. NW and West Broadway, just north of our main building. In the fall of 2008, EPIC, a contemporary Sunday morning worship service was launched. But by 2014, it was obvious that EPIC had outgrown its home in the CMC, so another major renovation of the sanctuary was underway. This renovation allowed the main sanctuary to be used for both traditional and contemporary worship styles. A 30’ retractable screen was installed; and lighting, sound and video equipment were updated to state-of-the art technology.
During the 2010’s, additional adjacent properties to the west of the CMC were acquired, making possible the construction of the Cude Clothes Closet and the opening of The Waymaker Center jail ministry, both located on F St. NW.
Another significant change in the life of our church took place in 2022. After nearly a year of prayer and discernment, our congregation voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church and affiliate with a newly formed denomination, The Global Methodist Church. At this time, our name was changed again, and in November 2022 we became “The First Methodist Church of Ardmore”.
All throughout our history, countless lives have been touched by the redeeming love of Christ through the people of the First Methodist Church of Ardmore, Oklahoma. How many lives will be touched in the years ahead of us?