The Story of Memorial Baptist Church
On the night of October 26, 1952, 75 people gathered in a home for a time of song and prayer. After much prayer and discussion, those 75 decided that God was leading them to form a new church. The result was the formation of a new congregation which adopted the name Memorial Baptist Church on November 12, 1952.
H.H. Burton, a retired minister, was called as Interim Pastor as the church initially met in Lorton Hall on the campus of the University of Tulsa. A site at 2800 South Yale covering one block was purchased and the first unit of the church building was completed in March 1955. Numerous additions and changes have been made since that time, including the purchase of a small corner restaurant at 29th street and Yale to provide for an activity center and additional parking spaces. Additional property has been purchased over the years just north of the church. This has been transformed into parking and the youth ministry center.
The first Senior Pastor was Rev. Fred Wilhoite, who was called in June in 1953 and served for three years. He was succeeded by Dr. D.A. Williams, who was called in 1956 and served for 22 years until the time of his passing in February 1978. After an interim period Dr. Ward Walker was called in 1979 and served only a brief 9 month period. After an additional interim period Dr. John Wheeler was called in 1980 and served for 12 years until 1992. Following a 10 month interim period Dr. Marc Dreyer was called in the summer of 1993 and retired in February of 2016.
The church is very missions minded. Since its inception it has contributed generously to the Cooperative Program, currently giving 10% of its offering to that cause. The annual offering for international, North American and State missions also raises over $35,000.
Having begun a work several years earlier among the Vietnamese people in Tulsa which met for over 5 years in facilities of Memorial Baptist Church; the people of Memorial in 1994 provided funds to guarantee a note for the Tulsa Vietnamese Baptist Church to purchase land and build their own facility. In August 1997, the final payment was made on the note, the Vietnamese church was incorporated, and a note-burning ceremony was held on September 14, 1997.