A Brief History of OBHC
Reverend J. A. Scott gave his wife credit for the beginning of the Oklahoma Baptist Orphans Home. Soon after they came to Oklahoma City, he accepted the call as pastor of the Washington Avenue Baptist Church. Very soon after Reverend Scott began his ministry, Mrs. Scott met a mother who was near death and living in a little shack in an alley near the church. The mother asked Mrs. Scott to find a home for her baby. The girl, Gladys Smith, lived in the Scott home until the formal opening of the Oklahoma Baptist Orphans Home, March 15, 1903. The first location of the Home was in a little house on Pottawatomie Street (Neither Washington Avenue Baptist Church nor Pottawatomie Street exist in Oklahoma City today).
On June 1, 1903, the Home was moved to a frame building on one and a half stories on West Pottawatomie Street. Nine children were in residence. In 1905, the joint Boards of the Baptist General Convention of Indian Territory and the Oklahoma State Baptist Convention accepted a bid from Oklahoma City of 40 acres of land and $2,000 to move the Home to its location at NW 63rd and Pennsylvania. Ownership of the Home was transferred to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in 1917.
Historical Marker at Original Location
A sign marks the original location of the Baptist Orphan's Home in Oklahoma City.
The Birthday Bank is a donation method churches began using in the early 1900s to provide help for children in the care of OBHC. In the early years, the gift was usually a penny for each birthday celebrated. As time went by, the penny became a dollar and so on. Although more modern versions of the banks are still in use, online donations are available as well.
The Department of Child Care was established in 1956 and entrusted by the Convention with the operation of Christian services to children and their families. In 1985, the Department of Child Care and the Department of Retirement Centers and chaplaincy were combined to create the Special Care Ministries Office. In 1988, the name was changed to Family Care Ministries Office and included the Child Care, Adult Care, and Special Care Ministries. A separation of Adult Care and Child Care in 1993 created two new entities. In that year, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children was established as an affiliate corporation of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma with its own President and Board of Trustees. OBHC is now the largest provider of private, non-profit residential child care in the state.
Each campus is unique but all share the same mission:
To demonstrate God’s love by providing hope through empowering children and their families to follow Christ.
Now, more than 100 years later, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children has seen more than 11,000 children come through our doors and while our ministry has grown and expanded over the years, our focus has always been to serve children and show the people in our care, the love of Christ.