(By Travis Sloat, The Muskogee Phoenix, OK). Two prominent Muskogee Presbyterian churches have come together as one, ending a nearly two-year journey for First Presbyterian Church, and creating Presbyterian Church of Muskogee.
In March of 2015, First Presbyterian closed its doors, citing low membership and high utility costs. The church sold the building to Antioch Baptist, then moved into Bethany Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Jeff Cranton, who took over the church in mid 2016, said the two pastors of the respective churches discussed merging them, then retired.
“I was hired to be the interim pastor here,” Cranton said. “I was here to help these two churches kind of figure out where they thought God was leading them. A merger was on the table, but it was also a possibility for them to find another building and go on with separate ministries. After a considerable amount of prayer, we discerned that God was leading us to be one church. We then set ourselves to that task.”
Fast forward to December of 2016, with all articles filed, the regional Presbytery approved the merger, Cranton said, and Presbyterian Church of Muskogee was born. The minister chosen to pilot the ship was none other than the interim, the Rev. Cranton.