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First Christian-OKC moves out of iconic building

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The iconic church building at NW 37 and Walker Avenue soon will be empty.

This week, the First Christian Church of Oklahoma City (Disciples of Christ) congregation is moving into another structure on the church's property at 3700 N Walker Ave.

And, the church building — with its distinctive egg-shaped dome — is still for sale, said the Rev. John Malget, First Christian's senior minister.

"We were going to have the last service in the church building on Palm Sunday (April 5) and the first service in the new location on Easter, but things changed," Malget said.

"Things have just slowed down. That's just part of what's happening right now."

The congregation voted in October 2019 to relocate and close the preschool affiliated with the church. Malget said the church office and worship space will be in the building that formerly housed the preschool. He said the structure was originally the church's youth center.

Meanwhile, at the time of the relocation vote, the church board decided to end the Jewel Box Theatre's season after its production in December 2019.

This week, Malget said Jewel Box, a ministry of the church, would be moving to the same building as the church. He said the theatrical company would continue with a new director, Darron Dunbar. Jewel Box Theatre is Oklahoma City's oldest continuously operating community theater.

First Christian put the historic building on its sprawling property up for sale about 3 1/2 years ago.

In 2019, Malget said the church's cost of upkeep and utilities had become overwhelming and the congregation needed to move even though the property hadn't been sold.

Historic preservationists had expressed concerns that a new owner might demolish the unique building on 31 acres in a prime spot just west of Interstate 235.

Then a reprieve seemed likely.

Preservationists and the First Christian congregation thought the the building would be purchased by Crossings Community Church, a far north Oklahoma City megachurch whose leaders had expressed interest in it. On Easter Sunday 2019, Crossings' leaders announced their hopes to purchase the building for use as a Crossings' satellite.

By that August, however, that proposal had fallen through.

Crossings leaders said costs to renovate the landmark church building exceeded their initial expectations and the church would not purchase the First Christian building.

First Christian opened in the 1950s, led by popular preacher Bill Alexander. At the time, it was one of the largest congregations in the metro area but, in recent years, the size of the congregation has dwindled.

Related Photos
<strong>First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 3700 N Walker, is shown in this drone image. [Image by Dave Morris]</strong>

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 3700 N Walker, is shown in this drone image. [Image by Dave Morris]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-965890ef8c05b28e1b5c4cf08de8e434.jpg" alt="Photo - First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 3700 N Walker, is shown in this drone image. [Image by Dave Morris] " title=" First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 3700 N Walker, is shown in this drone image. [Image by Dave Morris] "><figcaption> First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 3700 N Walker, is shown in this drone image. [Image by Dave Morris] </figcaption></figure>
Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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