By Cathie McBeth
Ormewood Park Presbyterian Church (OPPC) has been a presence in this community of East Atlanta for more than 100 years.
On April 3, 2016, the church will celebrate many years of ministry and the welcoming of neighbors. Because the congregation has continued to become smaller, the church is unable to sustain itself and its longtime outreach to the Ormewood Park community. It is time to close the beloved OPPC as it has existed for these many years.
In the spring of 1907 a small group began meeting at Ormewood Park School, on the grounds now occupied by Annie E. West School (now the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School). By June 1910 the assembly had grown and were meeting in the assembly hall of the Women’s Club of Atlanta, having organized under the auspices of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, the “northern” Presbyterian denomination. A year later, in October 1911, it was ordered that the meeting was to be centered in the Ormewood Park and Center Hill neighborhoods, returning them to the Ormewood Park School building. 1912 brought more development of this congregation. A unanimous vote for erecting a church building resulted in the current building that is now the sanctuary.
In the spring of 1914 the Ormewood Park Presbyterian Church gathered for their first worship in their new building. Growth continued, requiring the need for a Sunday School Annex, which was built in 1931, and further additions in 1938 and 1941. The Fellowship Hall was erected in 1950. The sanctuary was renovated in 1996, restoring the original cove ceiling and palladium windows, and creating the lovely space that exists to this day.
The years of thriving attendance were the 1950s and 60s, but as the neighborhood went through the usual changes of flight to the suburbs and new residents, OPPC continued to work to be an open and welcoming congregation, always looking to expand our family.
Through these years the church been a gathering place for the Ormewood Park neighborhood, with regular worship throughout the year. During the week there is much activity: kids riding bikes in the parking lot; dogs and their owners meeting on the back lot; preschoolers filling our rooms with life and learning, and scrambling in the play area that was built for all. The congregation enjoys remembering Easter egg hunts and Vacation Bible School, art shows in the Fellowship Hall, the great Hot Dog Supper, served each Halloween, and the meeting of Boy Scout Troop #36. A special memory is the lovely, quiet worship on Christmas Eve.
As regular church worship at OPPC comes to a close, the community looks forward to newness of life on the corner of Woodland and Delaware. The end of the old opens the way for the new.
This is a special place, often referred to as “The Heart of Ormewood”. Ormewood is about to have a “Change of Heart”. Please be with the congregation in hope and prayer as it looks for God’s leading in this new time.
Ormewood Park Presbyterian Church Closes
By Cathie McBeth