A Brief History of Highland
The “Original Eight” Bible study group that helped form “Highland East Baptist Mission” in the early 1980’s: Don & Shirley Turner, Lue & Lucille Mathis, Josh & Joyce Stroud, E.L. & MaryAnn Cleveland.
The first worship service of the “Highland East Mission” was held in Moore’s Highland East Junior High back in 1985. The mission effort began in 1981 in the hearts of four Moore area couples and these were soon joined by others from Southern Hills Baptist Church of Oklahoma City, which became Highland’s sponsoring church.
On May 20, 1984, the church dedicated its main building.
The group’s first service at the existing church site was three years later in a temporary building (pictured above) on a 4.7 acre site at the corner of SE 4th & Sunnylane. Highland was constituted as a church on July 13, 1986. Three building projects later, Highland now operates in a 28,000 square foot facility on an eighteen-acre site at the corner of SE 4th and Sunnylane in Moore.
Over the past several years new subdivisions, gated communities and a retirement center have gone up nearby as the community has been expanding steadily in the southeast quadrant of Moore. There are literally hundreds of homes being built within a short distance of Highland. We are very excited about the growth God has given and anticipate a great future as we serve the Lord together and “let our light so shine to Moore and beyond!”
On Sunday, May 19th; Monday, May 20th; and Friday May 31, 2013 the cities of Little Axe, Shawnee, Bethel, El Reno, Mustang, Yukon, Bethany, Del City, Midwest City, Moore, Newcastle, and Oklahoma City were struck by devastating tornados. There were thousands of displaced victims, damaged homes, and a great deal of need. Highland Baptist Church was in the path of two of these storms & tornados, but they missed the church by only a few hundred yards leaving the church building relatively undamaged. We were within the declared damage area and extremely close to the neighborhoods affected on the east side of Moore, placing us in a unique position to help those in need. We partnered with Operation Blessing (ob.org) to coordinate volunteer and disaster relief efforts, and within hours of the May 20, 2013 tornado volunteer groups were partnering with residents with specific needs. As homeowners came to register at Highland, we sent groups of volunteers to assist them with those needs.
It is important to note, that the May 20th tornado that narrowly missed our church campus hit exactly 29 years from our original building dedication date in 1984. God had plans to use Highland Baptist Church in the immediate recovery and beyond. For nearly four months, Highland Baptist Church in conjunction with Operation Blessing International continued to provide assistance to the residents of Moore and the surrounding affected areas from the May 19th, May 20th, and May 31st tornados. We processed over 1,000 work orders and dispatched over 5,000 volunteers since relief efforts began on May 20th.
Months later, as we continued to repair our own facilities, we were still helping those who were so severely affected by the storms. Throughout this ordeal, there were thousands of volunteers from all across the globe who donated countless hours, dollars, and tears in partnership with us, in efforts to bring some sense of normalcy back to the city of Moore.
On Sunday, May 18, 2014, Highland Baptist Church rededicated the church building spared in the EF5 tornado only 1 year before. 30 years to the date of the original dedication of the building, we celebrated God’s provision in sparing our facility allowing us to continue to serve and minister to our community, and renewed our vision to expand our facility, and our ministry throughout Moore, and beyond.