The Story of Oasis of Hope

A group of men and women, along with Rev. Albert Batts, left Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church and assembled in a frame building at Alvord and 16th Streets, 1118 E. 16th Street, and formed a mission.

On June 28, 1938, this assembly was organized as a Missionary Baptist Church. The Rev. Bernard, pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church, Rev. Poole, pastor of Garfield Baptist Church, and Rev. Smiley, pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, helped in organizing the church. Rev. Oglesby served as the moderator and Sis. Florence Milligan served as the clerk.

This small mission was named the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and the Rev. Batts was elected pastor. During his tenure of service, the building was remodeled, and new pews were purchased. The first deacons were Deacon Leslie Wilson, Deacon Bud Howard, and Deacon William Payne. Trustees were Bro. Robert Hall, Bro. William Milligan, and Bro. Willie Dean.

On July 8, 1955, the church was divided, leaving only 62 members.

The Rev. Otis Armistead served as the interim minister, and on October 19, 1955, he was unanimously selected as pastor. Under his leadership and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the congregation's numbers increased rapidly.

During the fall of 1958, the congregation agreed that it was necessary to relocate, and a contract was signed to purchase the building at 1501 North College. On January 11, 1959, members and friends of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church marched to the new location. The name was changed to College Avenue Baptist Church. During the 27th anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. William Milligan presented the church with an outdoor bulletin board. In 1962, the pastor's aid under the direction of Sis. Roberta Radford purchased and presented the church its first organ.

In 1968, the church was given a face-lift. The outside trim was painted, and the bricks were sandblasted back to their original color. The sanctuary and the overflow room were completely remodeled. In 1972, improvements were made to the basement. Additional equipment was purchased for the kitchen, and the dining room and classrooms were paneled and painted. These improvements led to sponsoring a senior citizen program. Our congregation's numbers continued to increase. In an effort to upgrade our educational/training programs, and to be an agent in the redevelopment of the immediate community, the church purchased a number of pieces of surrounding properties, with plans to expand into daycare and housing programs. We also developed a bus ministry.

In November 1975, Rev. Frank Alexander came to us and served two years as an interim minister. On October 7, 1977, Rev. Alexander was unanimously selected as our pastor, and during the week of November 16, 1977, we celebrated his installation.

In 1988, Pastor Alexander presented the idea to move the College Avenue Baptist Church to its existing location, which had become a dumpsite. Although very few agreed with his concept, Pastor Alexander was undeterred and pushed forward. The move also came with a name change. A cluster of members came up with "Oasis of Hope Baptist Church." After a vote, the name was approved.

In 1989, we broke ground on our current home. Rev. Alexander had many goals for us, including an education building. During his tenure as pastor, we had been able to develop many long-term plans. His desire that all leaders and laymen be involved in growth classes for training has allowed us as a Missionary Baptist Church to become that. We operate a Mission in rural West Africa. We are the primary supporters of an orphanage and school in Liberia, called MODUC. Pastor Alexander founded the Oasis Christian Development Corporation and developed programs to serve the community of Brightwood/Martindale, including the Mustard Seed program, which is still active and helping youth in our community. Another successful venture, Hope Side I and II, a secure senior housing development with generous amenities, consistently operates at capacity.


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Our Beloved and Remaining Charter Members

After 40 years of service and a year of monthly celebrations, Rev. Alexander retired with dramatic flair. On December 27, 2015, he preached the message that God spoke to him regarding his tenure at Oasis of Hope. His farewell sermon to the church was "You Have Stayed Long Enough," taking his text from Deuteronomy 1:1-8.

On June 22, 2013, Rev. John Ugentrouse Minion, Sr., with his family, arrived from Aurora, Colorado, under the direction of the Holy Spirit and at the invitation of Rev. Frank Alexander to be the next senior pastor of Oasis of Hope Baptist Church.

On May 26, 2016, John Ugentrouse Minion, Sr. was formally installed as senior pastor with loving acceptance from the membership of Oasis of Hope and a warm reception from the city of Indianapolis. Darryl K. Webster of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church of Indianapolis was the investiture service speaker.

Pastor Minion's goals and endeavors have been to increase the congregation's participation in the embrace of Christian doctrine by enriching biblical studies including authentic worship and healthy fellowship; to alleviate overwhelming and unnecessary financial strain; to prayerfully assess how we operate (function) as a church body, how our leaders are developed (facility), and how our members grow (fruit). We have established the Oasis of Hope Global Outreach ministry From April 2017 to present where we minister on the continent of Africa in five countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda, and on the continent of Asia, in India, where we minister in the cities of Dehra Dun and Bangalore. We also serve in St. Lucia, a sovereign island country on the North American continent. John Minion pastored Oasis of Hope until February 23, 2019.

On April 10, 2019, Rev. Morris Glenn Bradley was unanimously selected as the interim pastor of Oasis of Hope Baptist Church. He has proven to be a man of God willing to serve God and shepherd God's people as we wait on the Holy Spirit to give Oasis of Hope, our next senior pastor. We hold fast to our mission, "Building God's Family by Transforming Lives," as we look with great anticipation to the next move of God.