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A Brief History

In 1886, Tulsa was a rowdy frontier cattle town in Indian Territory when a hardy group of settlers started a Methodist Episcopal Church in 1886. Twenty-one charter members gathered for worship in a downtown open-air brush arbor. Within 35 years, the congregation had built and outgrown two church buildings. In 1921 the congregation moved to its present location. In 1928 the Cathedral Sanctuary building was dedicated.

There would be good times and hard times ahead—oil booms and oil busts, world outreach and world wars, great revivals and the Great Depression. United as a congregation, the people of First Methodist grew stronger and deeper in their faith as they weathered the hard times together. The good times helped energize growth with an actively committed membership under strong Godly leaders.

First United Methodist Church is grateful for a rich heritage rooted in a faithful God and His faithful people. Passionately engaged in life transformation in the church, in the community, and around the world, we are excited about the future as we follow Christ where He leads on this faith-filled adventure.


The Two Spires

An easily recognizable feature of the exterior of the church that denotes its Tudor Gothic architecture is the two tall slender towers flanking the great west window (Boulder Avenue).

west-window.jpgThe Great West Window

This enormous work in stained glass is framed within a pointed arch, and is divided by a series of vertical stone bars. The branching, foliated stone tracery in the top of the windows is also a characteristic of Tudor Gothic buildings.

The East Window

The window features Jesus with his right hand raised in a gesture of blessing and his left holding the Lamb’s Book of Life. His physical appearance reflects the accepted way of depicting the Christ that became the norm during the sixth century, A.D.


The chancel represents the Holy of Holies in the ancient temple. It is located in the east end of the Sanctuary, and is associated with the rising of the sun.

Marble Steps

The marble steps were changed from a deep green to their current white during the 1990 remodel of the chancel area.


The altar is the focal point of the chancel area. The carved wooden table represents the sacrificial death of Jesus. The front of the altar is divided into three recessed panels. In the center panel, we find the Holy Trinity trefoil, enclosed by the eternal circle. In the panel to the left is the Alpha, and in the panel to the right is the Omega.

altar-cross.jpgAltar Cross

A new cross was dedicated for service on the Altar September 18, 2005. It was created by Wiemann Ironworks and is made of gilded white oak. The new cross replaced a Latin Cross of Glory that had been suspended over the altar since 1970. It now hangs in the north window of the Sanctuary.  Prior to 1970, a Cross of Calvary had stood on the altar since 1938. It is now displayed in the Harrington Garden Room.

To schedule a full architectural tour of the sanctuary building, call 918.592.3862.