Oakwood Chapel & Ministries
There is a quaint little church situated on four rolling acres at the northwest corner of Oxford Township. A former schoolhouse, it’s fashioned with stained glass windows and a lovely white steeple with a cross on top.
For many years it was Oakwood Community Church before its congregation outgrew the building and moved down the road in 2002. Now it’s home to Oakwood Wedding Chapel and Oakwood Ministries.
Oakwood Ministries is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and a subsidiary of The Missionary Church International. Although it is
a church, Oakwood Ministries does not meet on Sundays, rather having regular Bible studies or “life groups” throughout the year.
“We’re not your traditional Catholic-type church requiring specific days of worship, which, the United States Constitution tells you, in order to be a church you don’t have to have church service on Sunday,” Rev. Anne Marie Roop said.
The church believes weddings, funerals, and “the after celebrations that go along with these events are a continuation of our worship.”
Oakwood Wedding Chapel, which rents from the church and is owned by Roop, hosts nondenominational weddings and funerals.
“Just like any church, we need to support our ministry. Some churches have bingo, donations, weddings, funerals, parties, receptions and even fish fries every week. This is part of how churches have supported their efforts for centuries. Holding weddings, funerals and receptions in the house of God is how we support our ministry,” Roop said.
Roop emphasizes a religious requirement of ceremonies, “If a couple did not want to involve God in their wedding, they would go somewhere else. They would go to a justice of the peace or their friend’s backyard. People choose our church because it is a place of worship where a couple can come before God and be married in a religious ceremony.”
Weddings have long been held at the chapel, most often officiated by Pastor Bob Service of Oakwood Community Church, who has married over 1,000 couples. Couples can bring their own minister, but local pastors perform the majority of weddings.
Couples come from congregations like Firmly Rooted Ministries, which holds services at Oxford High School, because they want to get married in a church. Or they come from churches that are so big, they want a more intimate church. “It’s a very quaint little church, so that’s what a lot of people love. It’s not a huge church where if they only have 100 people, it doesn’t look like there’s 20 people there,” Roop said.
The chapel seats up to 180 guests. Outdoor weddings and receptions can accommodate up to 250.
Many return because of connections to the building or area’s history. For funerals as well, families have the service at the chapel because some of them were original members of the church that started there 65 years ago.
The church serves as a common ground to bridge denominations. Often the bride will be from one church and the groom from another, but they come together here.
“Couples of different religions love that they can come here and still have a nice religious ceremony and then either go somewhere else to have the celebration, or they can have it here.”
The chapel is also less restrictive than some local churches, where people have to be members to be married there, or they have to attend a six-month class.
“They can come here and have a nice religious ceremony, but then they can go to their church.”
Roop most enjoys seeing the change in the people that come here.
“Some people come here for their weddings, and if they don’t belong to a church, when they see how nice and how religious a wedding can be, then they start going to church. So, whether it’s coming to our Bible studies or a local church in town, it gets them more involved,” she said.
Oakwood Chapel occasionally hosts other kinds of events, such as community fund-raisers or the fire department’s Christmas party in the lower level of the chapel.
The wedding chapel can be booked through oakwoodweddingchapel.com. The ministry’s separate website is oakwoodministry.com. Both are located at 2750 N. Baldwin Road.