Our History

The congregations of Leland Clegg United Methodist Church and Epworth United Methodist Church have chosen to unite their ministries, their people and their assets in order to strengthen and grow their impact, both within their community but also in the community at large. We believe that joining together, not out of fear but faith in the future, we will be a more powerful messenger and agent of God than either congregation could ever be by themselves.  The histories of both Churches reflect established congregations that encourage diversity, nourish social action and support issues of justice and mercy so that we consider it to be a union of like-minded and passionate congregations.  

Histories:

Leland Clegg United Methodist Church was named in honor of the Rev. Dr. Leland Clegg who served the Oklahoma Conference for 14 years.  Nine of those years, he was the Superintendent of the North Oklahoma City District.  During his tenure as District Superintendent, he established 20 new congregations in and near Oklahoma City.  We were honored to carry the name of this remarkable church leader.

The land where the church was located was purchased in 1963 and the first Pastor, the Rev. Douglas McPherson, was appointed with hopes of starting a new church.  The first service was celebrated rather modestly in an Army barracks in the middle of the field.  Baskets from the kitchen served as offering plates.  The small congregation’s dream of a permanent building was realized in the fall of 1964, when the sanctuary and classrooms were completed.  Six men in the church signed the bank note for the loan of $58,000 to finance the building.  Members did all the finishing of the interior, working from dawn to 11:00 p.m. the day before the inaugural service.  As they were leaving , Rev. McPherson called them back and said, “Our first service here needs to be with this group.”  So the very first service in the new building was Holy Communion that night.

Leland Clegg United Methodist Church was one of the first racially integrated United Methodist Churches in Oklahoma City and continued to foster inclusion of all God’s children.  The community of faith at Leland Clegg welcomed all people into full participation, regardless of age, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religious heritage, handicapping condition, education level or any other distinction that may divide the Christian community.  In every way, the community at Leland Clegg sought to embody the United Methodist promise and philosophy of Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors.

Epworth University was the first college in Oklahoma City.  It was founded as a federated organization supported by two major denominations of the Methodist church: the Methodist Episcopal Church (also known as the "north" branch), and the Methodist Episcopal Church South; these denominations had split over slavery in 1844 and re-merged in 1939.  The school struggled until it declared bankruptcy and classes ceased in 1911.  The Epworth Methodist Episcopal Church South congregation had been founded nearby in 1911 and occupied the university building in 1919.  Mobile Meals, a Church for the Deaf, Head Start Community Action Program, JETS and many other ministries flourished in the building.

As an “inner city church”, the Epworth Community began to face the same reality as many inner city churches.  Families moved to the suburbs to get away from changing neighborhoods and those families moved their church memberships to newer, more modern churches.  They wanted their children to go to church with school friends and neighbors.  And yet, some at Epworth continued to minister to the neighborhood around the church.  They welcomed after school programs for neighborhood children, offices for connected ministries in the neighborhood and tried to continue to minister to their neighbors.  

In 1995, when the Oklahoma Bishop of the United Methodist Church and his Cabinet agreed to an experiment – a church welcoming and affirming of all persons regardless of race, age, gender, financial status or sexual orientation – the existing Epworth Community, about 30 – 40 mature members, agreed.  And this wonderful group of existing members welcomed some 100-150 Reconciling Methodists:  Methodists who welcomed all, including gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered persons, as full members and brothers and sisters in Christ.  In 1996, Epworth United Methodist Church joined the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church, a grassroots organization seeking full participation in the church for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered persons.

In 2013, due to concerns over an aging building, the congregation agreed that it was time to look to a future outside the existing structure and in 2014, talks began with Leland Clegg United Methodist around a merger, looking at a future as a progressive United Methodist Church in northwest Oklahoma City.  The Leland Clegg congregation and the Epworth congregation look forward to a bright future as Mosaic United Methodist Church.  

We believe by joining together we can create a congregation that is even more prophetic, more emphatic about the sacredness of all of God's creation and one that will challenge all to live a life of radical grace and acceptance.    It is our belief that in combining the many gifts and talents in the individual churches we will be better equipped to fully answer the challenges of God's call for full inclusion and being and creating the kingdom of God.

It is our intent to enter into a merger of the congregations to create a new place of fellowship and a new, vital, and authentic space to worship.  With the establishment of Mosaic United Methodist Church, we begin the process of finding or building a new facility that can accommodate our programs and worship needs and will establish our presence in North Oklahoma City as a regional, progressive, justice-seeking congregation.

OUR NAME

As a result of a visioning retreat with both churches present, some eighteen suggestions for potential names for the new church community were gathered and recorded.  The Visioning Committee met at a later date and with equal representatives from both churches present, prayerfully considered all eighteen names and narrowed the list to some four names.  This was accomplished by each person voting for their three favorite names.  The team members were then allowed to voice the reasons they supported one of those three names, with reasons why it would represent the new community and its mission.

"The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.  Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part."

- 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

This passage serves as the inspiration for choosing the new name of Mosaic United Methodist Church.  As we begin our new journey together, we can build a strong and diverse church, creating God’s beloved community to transform the world, as Jesus taught us.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

Both churches have a strong history of encouraging diversity, nourishing social justice, and supporting issues of justice and mercy out of their love for God; nevertheless, it has been difficult to establish a short and concise mission statement that encapsulates our calling. It is also true, as Pastor Scott says that “We will be combining the 'DNA' of both faith communities. … We can plan for, pray about, and work towards what we think Mosaic ought to be - but the truth is none of us knows for sure! For just as two people can have a child, and the child has the DNA of both parents, no one can predict what a child will look like, what their temperament will be, or who they will become as they grow and mature!“

We anticipate a dynamic, prayerful process over the next year, to establish a written vision for Mosaic, and out of that vision for the future, may evolve a more concise and complete statement of our mission.  

 

For today, for what we know and anticipate now, our mission:  

 

Celebrating God’s Diversity

Creating Community

Caring for the World

 

Mosaic UMC will be a church that strongly encourages discipleship and growth and will seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We will not only nurture and continue to grow as existing disciples, but we will enthusiastically seek to make new disciples as we reach out to an increasingly diverse Oklahoma City and metro with the message of God's radical love and grace. One of the key values of Mosaic will be that all are welcomed and celebrated regardless of  race, class, age, sex, orientation, handicapping condition, nationality, or faith. We will be a part of the Reconciling Ministries Network which exists to mobilize United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love. We will also draw on our heritage of being a racially inclusive community to continue to address issues of race relations in our community and world.


In addition to many other issues of justice and peace, we are committed to being responsible stewards of God’s creation by encouraging sustainability, conservation and the use of products, energy and structures that ensures the nurture rather than abuse of Earth’s finite and valuable resources. This will be key as we begin to explore our building needs as a new progressive church for Oklahoma City.

Make A Donation

If you would like to support the mission and ministry of Mosaic, we have made online giving easy and safe.

 

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