For years, we have joined other neighborhood and area congregations in sharing food and clothing and programming with our neighbors through Isaiah 58 Ministries. I-58 was established in 1970 to meet the needs of low-income individuals in our community through direct services including a food pantry, clothing closet, and utility assistance. Oak Hill Presbyterian Church supports this collaborative ministry in many ways, including collecting food to share with the I-58 food pantry during worship every week. If you are coming to worship with us, bring some food to share! Here’s what we are collecting in September and October:
5th – toothpaste
12th – macaroni and cheese or other boxed pasta or
19th – hearty soup
26th – oatmeal
3rd – hand soap
10th – canned chicken
17th – your favorite vegetable
24th – canned spinach or other canned greens
31st – Happy Halloween – black beans and/or
The area just inside St. Louis city limits was being subdivided for home building – a good location for a new church, especially when the owner of a large portion of the land had bequeathed one-half acre for a “Presbyterian church or any other church her son thought proper.” It was 1895, and Oak Hill Presbyterian Church was organized in a frame church building at what is now Bent and Humphrey in South St. Louis.
Twelve years later in 1907 that church building burned and the congregation bought a lot at the corner of Oak Hill and Connecticut a block and half away. A more fireproof one-story stone building with a chapel and Sunday School room was built on the alley in 1908. The congregation grew so fast that a new sanctuary was built as a second story after just three years in 1911. In 1914, a fellowship hall was built attached to the church. Eight years later the congregation was still growing so rapidly that a larger sanctuary seating 300 was completed above the fellowship hall in 1919.
When the Sunday School grew so large that not all of the classes could fit in the building, an educational wing was added, connecting a large five-bedroom residence to the rest of the complex. A parking lot was created on two lots next to the residence in 1963.
One hundred and twenty years after its beginnings, Oak Hill Presbyterian Church, is still on that same corner. The stable neighborhood around it has seen a resurgence of renovation in the last 30 years as people rediscover the beautiful wood and substance of houses built 100 years ago. The residence owned by the congregation, long known as the Annex, has evolved into Amen House, providing a place for out-of-town mission groups to save while volunteering in the city. The sanctuary built as the second story of the first stone building is now a gymnasium. Neighborhoods, properties and churches evolve and change, but Oak Hill Presbyterian Church remains rooted in its city location, still inviting its neighbors to come, worship and serve.