The Oxford-University United Methodist Church is a worship center for a vibrant and growing congregation: today the membership is over 1,500. Under the leadership of circuit rider William Craig, the Oxford Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1836, shortly after the first settlers came to the area. Possibly the earliest organized church in Oxford, the first log building was on Van Buren Avenue, about where the First Baptist Church Family Life Center is now. The congregation grew rapidly, and members bought property on Jackson Avenue in 1851, constructing a new building between 10th and 11th Streets in the Henry Hotel/The Abbey area. A.B. Longstreet, writer, judge, and University Chancellor, was instrumental in the building of the new church, along with J.J. Wheat and L.Q.C. Lamar, distinguished professors at the university, Charles Galloway and W.B. Murrah, who later became bishops, and William Lambuth, the first missionary to China from the church.