Non-denominational, the CityChurch attracts followers through its charismatic approach to the scriptures. An Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice and our own District Attorney are said to be members. Though damaged in the 1995 bombing, federal dollars helped to restore the interior to a somewhat pretentious but functional appearance, if you can overlook the gilt capitals to praise its wonderful acoustics. The CityChurch offices are directly south of the church on 10th street. An official there will be happy to show you the interior of this 1910 structure.
On the western side of the Oklahoma City National Memorial stands the prominent red-brick steeple of St Joseph's Cathedral. Before the bombing in 1995, this grand church was reputedly the most significant old-fashioned religious structure in Oklahoma City. Built in the first quarter of the 20th century and later listed on the national register for historic sites, the stained glass was unparalleled and the exterior exquisitely detailed. After the Murrah blast, which all but hollowed St Joseph's, the new construction lost a lot of its former distinction, but happily the Gothic steeple rises again.
Since its reconstruction, the First United Methodist Church enjoys a distinguished profile in the downtown area. Sporting a significant rose window both on the front facade and its western side, the stained-glass representations contest the stained-glass windows of the First Baptist Church in this regard. The effects are particularly sharp at night.
Directly east of the Oklahoma City National Memorial stands the First United Methodist Church, which has occupied this site since the Land Run of 1889. For a congregation dedicated to remaining an urban church, the disappearance of the family from the city to the country in the 1960s saw the church's toughest period until 1995, when the bomb that destroyed the Murrah Building displaced the congregation for three years. The church has since been essentially rebuilt and significantly enlarged.
While its neo-Gothic towers dominate the neighborhood, the details of the First Baptist Church are more pretentious than real. By night its illumination is poor, almost nonexistent. Its buttresses are merely shaped pilasters, and many other niches or flourishes are decorative only. Its true dignity rests in its towers and in its sumptuous windows, both within and without.
Just two blocks north of the CityChurch, one of my favorite churches in the city takes up an entire block. The First Baptist Church is one of the largest religious structures in the city. Though mere size may be accounted no merit in itself, and its interior judged to be stark and uninspired (so to speak), its nave is decorated with a substantial row of stained-glass windows. Overall, the structure is one of few downtown churches with true Gothic pretensions.
The CityChurch (built downtown in 1910) is unique among Oklahoma City churches, with its white facade, heavy entablature and gilded central dome. Two smaller cupolas flank the main feature, and though these illumine at night, the lighting on the central dome is meager at best. By day, the corinthian capitals and the stately front staircase glow with the brightness of the noonday sun, making this prominent structure stand out in all its original glory. The interior unfortunately is strictly functional, and in no way complements the outward appearance.
As I said, the CityChurch does not sufficiently illuminate the gilt on its dome, but the cylindrical base is lighted as well as the smaller cupolas. At only six blocks north of the Oklahoma City National Memorial on Robinson, whether you're visiting by day or night, this is a handsome structure in our downtown area.
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