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About Oakhurst Presbyterian Church
Multi-Racial, Forward-Thinking, Biblically-Based, Jesus-Centered.
When visiting preachers stand in the pulpit and look out at the Oakhurst congregation, they are frequently amazed at what they see. Few churches like Oakhurst exist. How did Oakhurst become such an unusual church?
In an era of flappers and dandies, Babe Ruth, new cars, and “all that jazz,” Oakhurst Presbyterian began with a group of Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists meeting under a large tent on the corner of East Lake Drive and Second Avenue in the City of Decatur. From this beginning in 1921, membership in this white, blue-collar church reached 900 by 1960. However, as African Americans began moving into the Oakhurst neighborhood and attending Oakhurst Presbyterian, membership declined until only 80 members remained.
In 1983, Oakhurst called Nibs Stroupe and Caroline Leach as pastors. By that time, many white members had left; however, the existing white and black members were committed to creating a multicultural congregation and to shaping a worship and fellowship that is open to all people and that continues to grow in dialog and understanding.
“Our goal is to create space for the Spirit in our hearts and in our life together, where there can be genuine dialog, mutual understanding, and acceptance of one another, sending us out into the world to proclaim a whole new reality centered in God’s revelation to us in Jesus Christ.”
Oakhurst is a diverse congregation. In addition to race, Oakhurst’s congregation is diverse in sexual orientation, education, and economic status. It has become a community that truly celebrates difference. The current membership is 310.
The story of Oakhurst’s journey in recent years can be found in O Lord, Hold Our Hands, written by Nibs Stroupe and Caroline Leach.
We are a community of diversities, which empowers us to confront God's truth in the world.
Through Jesus Christ, the dividing walls are broken down, leading us to affirm that we are called to be one family--through the life, death and ressurrection of Jesus Christ.
God is active in the life of Oakhurst and has given us a vision of hope,
inspiring us in the proclamation of the absolute power of God's love and god's grace.
We are rooted in the truth that nothing can separate us from the Love of God!
And, the very thing we once feared--our differences--has empowered us to proclaim the
Good News of the Gospel, breaking down the barriers of the world,
and drawing us together to become whole in Christ.
From many threads, one tapestry.
From many streams, one river.
From many branches, one tree.
We are Oakhurst!