A short History of Oakland Baptist Church
Oakland has had a rich and storied history since those days in July, 1950 when over two hundred folks walked down Oakland Ave. from First Baptist to begin “a new church on the edge of town to minister to the young women of Winthrop College.” Well, as always, things change. We're no longer on the edge of town. We're right in the middle of town at one of the busiest intersections in Rock Hill. The students at Winthrop are no longer just young women. They are young men and women representing all ethnic groups and coming from nations across the world. Many of these students find their way to Oakland which is only a block from the University campus.
Among the traditions which have converged to make Oakland the church she is in 2012 is an uncompromising commitment to missions. In both dollars given and devotion of time and energy, Oaklanders have made it clear that they understand that the people of Jesus are to be witnesses in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost places.” From Habitat constructions to victims of AIDS to the homeless among us to the stranger from afar who needs to know our language to Muslims and others in Brussels, Belgium, to the ravaged lands of Haiti as well as North Africa, the people of Oakland have put their money, their hands and hearts into being witnesses to the love of God for all. Perhaps emblematic of it all is our free standing Ministry Center which has touched the lives of literally thousands of folks who could easily be described in the words of Jesus as “the least of these.” Oaklanders, also, dreamed of a Free Medical Clinic for York County, now called the Palmetto Volunteers in Medicine Clinic. That dream became a reality and today cares for hundreds of children, women and men who have no recourse to medical care.
Among the traditions which make us who we are is a theology of worship, which includes the orderliness of liturgical and traditional worship as well as the freedom of creative worship. Both of these worship offerings meet the needs of those who worship among us, and they offer opportunities for praise and confrontation with the claims of God on our lives. Through the Oakland Day School, children's ministries, youth ministries and college ministries, music and educational opportunities this church offers a wonderful chance for our young to be nurtured to a maturing faith.
The Apostle, Paul, in his letter to the Galatians said, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” This church makes conscious efforts to both allow and encourage full participation in the life, ministry and leadership of the church by both women and men. This includes both lay and ordained leadership.
Undergirding all that we do is an uncompromising commitment to what Jesus said were the two most fundamental aspects of following Him: “Loving God and loving others.” With those who have gone before as well as those who are yet to come to this fellowship of believers we can say, “Thanks be to God for the life and mission of these people called Oakland Baptist Church.”