Oxford Church of Christ (new building)

The original building for the Oxford Church of Christ was the subject of the last post.  The circa 1980 new sanctuary uses modernist influences in its construction.  Surrounded by trees and bushes, it was very difficult to photograph, although if the church had its way in 2007, a new hotel would be sitting on this site by now.  I finally located the references to the neighborhood dispute referenced in the last post.  After the local historic district disputed the plans and Oxford officials developed new historic preservation district plans (djournal.com–Northeast Mississippi News), the first developer dropped out with plans to build a hotel on the site.  The second developer dropped out after the Oxford Planning Commission rejected parking plans, although the developer planned to preserve the building–for what use was not indicated.

Even though the two sanctuaries are distinctly different, they have elements that seem to create a harmonious blending of old and new, connected by the long, low building in between the two.  The new building utilizes rounded arches, the oculus above the three doors, and rounded corners and walls.

Ernest Harland, an elder in the church, purchased 12 acres in the Long Meadow subdivision north of Oxford with construction of the new church in mind.  The Long Meadow Homeowners’ Association asserted that the covenants allowed for only single-family homes.  In 2009, Lafayette County Circuit Judge Perry Lynchard, Jr. ruled that the covenants would not prohibit the building of a church.  The State Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, and it went to the Mississippi Supreme Court who agreed to hear the case.  June 8, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling, in a victory for the church.  Church officials then announced that plans had been postponed.

In another recently discovered tidbit about the building of the new “old” circa 1950 sanctuary, former Miss Oxford Amy Jo Cole graduated from the University in 1951, and

Less than a year later, after a two-year courtship, Charles [Runnels] and Amy Jo were married on March 2, 1952. They had the distinction of being the first couple to say their vows in the Oxford Church of Christ’s brand-new building. (Bill Henegar, The Texan and the Belle: Chancellor Charles B. Runnels)

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