1885 – Oakley Methodist Episcopalian/Oakley Community Church
In September 1885, the Detroit Annual Conference appropriated $50 missionary money to Oakley, and left it “To be supplied.” The supply minister was C. C. Garnett, who in 1886 reported 33 members and 2 probationers at Oakley; 1 adult baptized, 2 Sunday Schools with 60 scholars enrolled; $5 raised for missions. The fledgling church had paid a salary of $219, paid to the Pastor on his claim of $300; $12 paid to the Presiding Elder on his claim for $16. Nothing was paid to the Bishop or the Conference Claimants (retired preachers); each claim on the Church was just $2.
And so it went through the years with the following pastors:
1886-1887 Rev. A. Adams, from St. Charles
1888-1890 F. Hayes
June 4, 1888 Quit-Claim Deed between George M. Sackieder, Ellen E.Sackieder, Samuel F. Hoffman, and Ida E. Hoffman of Saginaw County and The First Methodist Episcopal Church at Oakley, Saginaw County Michigan, for the amount of $1: “All of Lot no five (5) in Block no four (4) of Henry Parshalls division of the Village of Oakley, Saginaw County Michigan. Said described premises to be used for Church Purposes and if the said second party should fail to erect a suitable church edifice on the said premises within four years from the date of this presence, then and in that case said Lot shall revert back and become the property of said first parties.”
Oakley reported $250 paid for building. Evidently a building project was in progress that September.
Oakley reported “1 church” valued at $1,000. The church, which had been begun before September 1890, was completed sometime in the church year 1890-91.
A 1929 account by Rev. J. H. Williams (relying on oral tradition) states: “Methodists at Oakley first worshipped in a building a little way down the street north of where the present church is located. On the site of the church as it now stands was a room in which the Congregationalists worshipped. After a time, the Congregationalists disbanded and the building was taken over by the Methodists. About 1893 the addition of an auditorium to be used for worship improved the property and the original room was retained for a class room. During the building, Rev. A. C. Peters was on the work and the work completed under Rev. Warner who died a little later at Oakley where he was buried.
Rev. Alva G. Blood, of Livingston County, Michigan, veteran of the Civil War, written of him: “His messages were clear in thought, forceful in utterance, and ftequently sparkled with wit, but never failed to reach the hearts and consciences of his hearers.”
1891-1892 Reuben Emory
By this time the Oakley charge evidently contained 2 churches, Oakley and Chapin. Later in the 1890’s, the Chapin charge would be comprised of Oakley, Chapin and Robinson.
1892-1893 Charles H. Fenn
1893-1894 Rev. Ambrose C. Peters
1894 Rev. Edward F. Warner
1895-1895 Frederick Strong
1896 Charles W. Austi
1897-1898 Ambrose Peters
1899-1901 Rev. Alfonso Crane
1901-1902 Charles W. Seelhoff
1902-1903 Rev. William T. Wallace
Oakley was joined to the Henderson Circuit for 1 year. Evidently it was back with Chapin and Robinson in 1903-04, with Rev. M. W. Weaver appointed.
1903-1904 Rev. M. W. Weaver.
1904-1906 Rev. William J. Bailey
In 1904, Oakley became part of the Henderson Circuit, along with Chapin, and this relationship continued for many years.
1906-1909 Frederick Coates – “A native Englishman, with a great passion for souls; revivals which brought results were held on each of his charges.”
1909-1911 J. D. Young
1911-1913 C. A. Lohnes
1913-1914 C. M. Loomis
1914-1917 Ernest H. Scott
1917-1918 Lincoln Ostrander
1918-1920 J. R. Stevens
1920-1923 John Martin Black – “A native of Ontario and fervent revivalist”
1923-1926 T. J. Stubbs
1926 R. E. Miller (didn’t stay)
1926-1928 R. C. TenBroeck
1928-1931 Rev. J. H. Williams
1931-1934 Rev. William Young
1934-1936 Howard Snell
1936-1939 George Smith
1939-1947 George Merton
Pastor Merton painted the mural of” Jesus by the Sea” which remains at the front of the church to this day.
1947 Ralph E. Winn
The charge was called “Henderson & Oakley”
1948-1955 George Forsythe
In 1948 the Conference made Oakley a separate appointment and gave it a part-time supply minister, George Forsythe. In
1955, Oakley disappeared from the Conference appointments, and the Conference thinks it ceased to function as a Methodist Church.
1957-1959 Norman H. White, appointed by Flint Methodist District Superintendent, Dr. Chester McPheeters.
1972-1994 Norman H. White
On March 30, 1972, the church building was sold to Norman and Kay White (Kay passed away in 1988) by Detroit Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. From this point forward, the church has operated as the Oakley Community Church, a non-denominational organization, pastored by Norman White until his death on December 26, 1994. In the spring of 1996, Mrs. Norman (Betty) White gave the building to the congregation as was her and Norman’s wish.
1995-1998 James Beckwith
1998-2011 Rev. Frank Ward
2011-present Rev. Dr. John R. Miller
Since the arrival of Rev. Miller, the church has continued to grow. Current building projects include a new parking lot due in Spring 2017.