WRITERS: Focus on Margaret Muse Oden (1917-2002)
|The Oden family (Courtesy of the SCU Archives)|
One of the first female writers to consistently appear in Pentecostal Holiness Church denominational pages was Margaret Muse Oden. Her love for writing, and creative expression in general, meant she would logically gravitate toward music, art, and writing. That is exactly what she did mastering and teaching the organ and piano, attaining teaching level mastery of China painting, and developing skills in both editing and writing.
On July 20, 1916, the home of Daniel Thomas and Margaret Adelaide Scott Muse welcomed into their simple home a baby girl, Margaret Pearl Muse. In the 1920, U.S. Federal Census for Oklahoma the family was residing at 526 California Street. In 1927, her father would be called to pastor the church where he had begun working in 1907 as a janitor. The earliest First P.H. Church of Oklahoma City was located along two stretches of California street. Later it moved to NW 9th and Blackwelder.
In the 1930 U.S. Federal census for Oklahoma, they were living at 1812 NW 10th Street (although subsequent news accounts indicate it was NW 2nd Street). The family now included Dan, Addie, Scott, Margaret. Both of her parents listed their occupation as ministers with the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
In 1934, her father was appointed superintendent of the Western District of the Oklahoma Conference of the P.H. Church. In the late 1930's, Margaret goes to school at the denominational facility, Kings College, in Kingfisher. Later she will go on to Oklahoma City University for a music teaching certificate.
In the mid-1940’s she is teaching piano and organ at Southwestern. During that time she also helps the school launch a student newsletter, “The ROC.” She also wrote some articles in the alumni newsletters and magazines beginning in this period. Her family was used as illustration for one such writing/publishing project.
In the 1950’s she begins doing the Women's Auxiliary column in the Pentecostal Holiness Advocate. In 1955 she published Steps to the Sun, an obvious memorial to her beloved late father, Bishop Dan T. Muse. She also wrote a short work on the subject of Christian Education and life called, God's Recipe for Life, which was published by Advocate Press sometime in the 1950's.
In the 1960's through 1970's she also worked editing publications for both the Oral Roberts and T.L. Osborne organizations in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is also by the 1960’s-70’ editing the youth (Reach) and women’s magazines (Helping Hand) of the Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Over the next decades she edited a great variety of works for many people, co-writing a song, and becoming a gifted and expert china painter.
In 1979 her husband Burney Oden died at age 68, his obituary indicated he had been a professional tile layer.
In the early to mid 1980’s she assumed the new role of archivist for the Pentecostal Holiness Church denomination. The ARC (Archives and Record Center) took shape under her direction. Her energy and vision brought form to the abstract concept of collecting history. She reveled in the opportunity to meet old friends, interview people, and write about the history she was discovering. Many crucial early historic records, narratives, and images were preserved due largely to both her long connection to the church and her high profile as daughter of a beloved Bishop and well known woman of words in her own right.
In 1985, she married once more in Oklahoma City to Woodard Glenn Drum. The November wedding took place in the church named in honor of her father, Muse Memorial Church, with her son Dan Oden and daughter Sharon Hall officiating. The couple went to live in Franklin Springs, Georgia. Drum died in 2001 and the next year, in 2002, Margaret followed, dying January 5 in Merrimack, NH.
In a time of personal and family growth, in those booming and blossoming post World War II days, Oden's columns, devotions, and inspired work helped bring human interest and creativity to numerous publications. Most importantly she was able to engage a generation of people within the context of a maturing Pentecostal organization. She assumes the position of being one of the first significant female writers in the Pentecostal Holiness Church. She was a person who wrote for the sake of both exercising her imagination and expressing her heart.
"Drum-Oden". Oklahoman, (Nov. 30, 1985):15.
"Margaret Muse Oden Drum Obituary." Oklahoman, (January 2002).
Oden, Margaret Muse. God's Recipe for Life. Advocate Press, 195?.
Oden, Margaret Muse. Steps to the Sun. Advocate Press, 1955.
Oden, Margaret Muse; Metzger Robert Douglas, Rev. S.N. Greene. Job's God is True. AIM High Music Company c/o BMG Music Publishing, Beverly Hills, CA. (www.ascap.com)