Where it All Began
Oakmont Presbyterian Church began as a church extension project of the Birmingham Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church U.S. The first worship service took place at a house at 1812 Patton Chapel Road. A seminary student, James W. Ligon, led the first service with eight people attending. Oakmont was chartered as a church on July 4, 1965. There were 53 charter members. The Rev. James W. “Bill” Patton was called as the first pastor.
Oakmont grew. The sanctuary building was built in 1967. The Educational Building was completed by 1973. The old house was removed in 1996. From the earliest days, the church has reached out to the world. A Boy Scout Troop, Troop 93, was approved in November, 1965. Later, a Cub Scout den, a Girl Scout troop and a Brownie troop were begun. Other outreach ministries included a Mother’s Day Out program (this ended in 2014), an Apartment ministry, providing volunteers at a women’s homeless shelter, working on Habitat for Humanity construction, and collecting food for the Pentecost Can Campaign.
Oakmont’s first Vacation Church School started in 1966. The Vacation Bible School is still going strong. The church choir began in 1965 with a volunteer director, six members and a piano. Oakmont’s music ministry has grown. It now has a Music Director, a pianist, organ, and a choir of 12-15. The choir is quite active. Different members lead in solos and quartets. It also performs a cantata during the Christmas season. And, on Mother’s Day, the Music Director gets the men to sing to the congregation. On Father’s Day, the women sing to the church.
In 1983, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (the Southern church) and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (the Northern church) reunited. Oakmont is now in the Presbytery of Sheppard’s and Lapsley, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Oakmont continues to reach out to the world, to show the love of Christ. Troop 93 and the Cub Scout den are still very active. Thousands of cans of food are collected each year for the hungry. The music ministry is busy with varied programs.
And the Two Became One
On October 7, 2018, Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church and Oakmont Presbyterian Church will merge, forming a new church Oakmont Chapel Presbyterian Church. The new church will be located at 1817 Patton Chapel Road in Hoover. Oakmont’s current minister, Paul Sherwood, will be the minister of Oakmont Chapel.
The two churches have long histories in the Bluff Park/Hoover areas. Chapel in the Pines began first as a church. In the summer of 1949, a group of families held Sunday School meetings on Sunday nights. These families attended South Highland Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, but they wanted something in Bluff Park. They met in various homes in the Bluff Park area. As the group grew, the Birmingham Presbytery deemed them an Outpost. In 1950 the little white chapel was built and dedicated. South Highland sent Bob Montgomery, a missionary, to preach the sermons.
The Outpost grew and became an organized church in April 1951 with 53 charter members. Chapel’s first minister was Ed Hopper and was located at 2269 Chapel Road. At that time Chapel Road did not extend all the way to Patton Chapel Road. The little church grew. Several additions were made to the little chapel building over the years. The original chapel still exists as part of the basement.
Some of the characteristics of Chapel in the Pines are: Family, Missions, and Care for the church family. Chapel tends to keep families as long-term members. They are close knit. And, the members care for each other. They have organized themselves to keep tabs on each other and to visit the sick and shut-ins. In addition, Chapel in the Pines has been very active in missions work. For 30 years the church has sent a team to Mexico to build houses. They collect unsold bread from Panera Bread and deliver it to the Old Firehouse Shelter for men. Members prepare meals for the guests at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. The Presbyterian Children’s Home in Talladega also receives the church’s help.
Oakmont Presbyterian Church began as a church extension project in 1964 by the Birmingham Presbytery. The Hoover-Green Valley area did not have a Presbyterian Church Therefore, Presbytery bought a house and land at 1817 Patton Chapel Road. The first worship service took place on July 5, 1964. A seminary student, James Ligon, led the worshippers. In the fall of 1964, Rev. Bill Patton came as an Evangelist and later became Oakmont’s first minister. Oakmont was not big enough yet to be a chartered church, therefore Chapel in the Pines’ session functioned as Oakmont’s ruling session until July 4, 1965. On that date, Oakmont chartered as a Presbyterian church with 53 members. As the years passed, Oakmont built its sanctuary and education building. The original house was removed in 1996.
Oakmont Presbyterian Church is characterized by Missions, Care of its church family and Education. The church collects food for the hungry, hosts an English As a Second Language class, prepares meals for the guests at Hope Lodge (we got that idea from Chapel), collects boxes for Operation Christmas Child, helps at the Presbyterian Home for Children and sends funds for projects in Africa. Also, Oakmont sponsors Boy Scout Troop 93. Oakmont’s Pastoral Care committee keeps track of the sick and shut-ins. Church members, along with the pastor, reach out to them. Oakmont has three adult Sunday School classes. And Chapel will bring at least one more adult class. Oakmont’s Ignite group, a young adult program, will continue to combine Bible study, mission projects and good food at their meetings.
And so the two churches will become one, Oakmont Chapel Presbyterian. The new church begins on October 7. It will continue to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the Bluff Park/Hoover area at 1817 Patton Chapel Road. It is a member of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley in the Presbyterian Church USA. Come join us in serving Jesus Christ.