By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKEMAH, Oklahoma– Mvskoke Media continues the series of Muskogee-Seminole-Wichita Association churches, with series five featuring High Springs Indian Baptist Church.
According to Pastor Jesse Wind, High Springs Indian Baptist Church was organized and established in 1906. It is the sister church of Green Leaf Baptist Church. The church started as a small group of Christians living in the area when they decided to establish a church.
“I heard some of the elders fasted and prayed before building the church on the land it is on now,” a former member of the church, Lena Wind said.
Pastor Wind added that a man had a dream that showed him to build a church between two cedar trees. This man had taken a couple of the deacons out to this spot where his vision was revealed, and that is where the church stands now.
After the church was established in 1937, there were nine camp houses on the church grounds. These houses were used for families who traveled from a distance to attend services.
Alan Wind is another former member of the church who fondly recounts details about the location.
“There was also a quilt house on the grounds. It was a small storage building,” Wind said. “They had dozens of hand-made quilts for visitors and families that stayed on the church grounds from Friday until Monday. They stayed because it so far to travel, many had traveled with a horse and wagon.”
The houses were only occupied around the fourth Sunday or when the church had Lord’s Supper. Visitors would stay in the church using the quilts from the quilt house, and the families would remain in those camp houses. When they visited, all meals were provided. The church’s last camp house was eventually demolished and became a dining hall.
Since the establishment of High Springs Indian Baptist Church, 15 pastors have led the church. Reverend Daniel Wolf, who was ordained through Alabama Baptist Church, became the first pastor. Only three of the pastors were ordained.
At High Springs, they still hold services traditionally where men sit on one side, and the women sit on the other side. Services begin with the sounding of a horn to this day.
For now, High Springs is hosting services online due to the pandemic and safety of their church members. Before the virus hit, the church hosted a yearly women’s retreat as one of their significant events. They are also involved with outreach ministries supporting the Oklahoma Children’s Home.
Other events they host or go to include vacation bible school, revivals, and Indian Falls Creek.
Pastor Wind has been serving at High Springs since 2004 but has been ordained since 1985.
High Springs Indian Baptist Church has services on Sunday mornings, with Sunday School starting at 9:30 a.m. and services at 11 a.m. On Wednesday they have services at 7 p.m.
The church is approximately 4 miles south of Okemah, OK, on Highway 27, and it sits on the west side of the highway.