"A Brief History"
The Oxford Presbyterian Church was organized on January 20, 1867 by the fourth Presbytery of Philadelphia and was incorporated by degree of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 11, 1867.
The nucleus of this church was the members of the 1854 Calvary Church who began a Sunday School on the second floor of a store at Eleventh Street and Columbia venue early in 1865. The school outgrew this place, and moved to the Wagner Institute at the corner of Seventeenth and Columbia Avenue, at the Carmel Sunday School. The community's enthusiastic response to preaching services added to the program, led Matthias Baldwin and others to purchase a site at Broad and Oxford Streets, and to have a chapel erected there.
An impressive church building was added and dedicated in 1898. Oxford's membership began to decline during and just after World War I in the face of racial change in the area and continued for the next 20 years. A proposed merger with the Bethlehem Church in 1943 was rejected by the Bethlehem congregation. In the spring of 1945 the Presbytery gave consent to the congregation to relocate the Oxford Church in Mount Airy at Stenton and Gowen Avenues.
Here a six and one half acre plot of ground was purchased and the first unit (basement only) of the new Oxford Church was built in 1946. The work in the new community progressed nicely.
In 1947 the Bethel Presbyterian Church locoed at 19th and York Streets, which was organized on November 2, 1899, was also facing changing conditions. Having much in common the Oxford and Bethel congregations held discussions concerning the possibility of a merger. After careful consideration the Presbytery, on October 14, 1947, agreed to purchase the Bethel church building for a National Mission Church work. The merger of the Bethel Presbyterian Church of the
"WE ARE CALLED AND SENT IN THE NAME OF JESUS"
City of Philadelphia and the Oxford Presbyterian Church of the City of Philadlephia took effect on Oct. 14, 1947 and the Articles of Consolidation were executed on January 31, 1948. During 1949 and 1950 the church sanctuary was completed and dedicated. Owing to prevailing costs the building was not completed as it had been originally contemplated.
In 1951 the city decided to cut through Mansfield Street to Ivy Hill Road. Oxford then determined to sell approximately one half of the original six and hlaf acres of land for home building purposes. Thus, there remains our present area, which is more than adequate for future expansions.
In 1953 the former manse on Dorset Street was purchased and later sold in 2008. In 1956 plans were made to complete the church building by adding the following: A Pastor's Study, the Ladies parlor, which is also available for class rooms and prayer meetings use, three additional Sunday School classrooms, a Church office and Board/Meeting room which are also used for classroom plus additional restroom, thus the building was completed as it stands today.
In 2010, the Presbytery Office entered into an agreement to lease a portion of Oxford Church land. They built an energy efficient, 'green' office building, relocated and expanded the parking lot and the Presbytery of Philadelphia office was moved from the Center City location to Mt Airy.
Work in the new community was difficult, but with each passing year there has been a stronger bonding between Oxford and the Community. We are especially grateful for the many blessings of the Holy Spirit and the faithfulness of our pastors, leaders, and congregation.
Extracts: from 100 Anniversary 1876-1967
Historical Directory: Rev. K. Hammonds 10/22/99
Over the ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY SEVEN years the Oxford Church has been in existence and has had eleven excellent ministers. We would be remiss not to give honorable mention to these men & women who faithfully labored in the field. However, neither time nor space will permit us to go into detail as to their splendid gifts and the manner in which each has served the congregation and community over the years. These ministers are as follows:
The Pastors serving the Bethel Church before the merger were:
Our current minister, The Reverend Ethelyn R Taylor was ordained and installed on October 3, 1994. As a congregation, we have been blessed beyond our fondest hopes by her faithfulness to Jesus Christ, innovative ideas, teaching and understanding and love for people.
This is a brief story we have been compelled to tell, not to glorify this particular church, but to rejoice in our Lord's faithfulness; and to share our passionate conviction that He is far more eager to bring us new life.
Oxford is continuously on the move, God's arm is not shortened. He is moving us from a survival mentality to vision; broken relationships can be healed; discouragement can give way to joy in the morning. Let us continue to praise Him while we serve, pray and wait.