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Imagine God’s Limitless Love: Message from GMP Terri Hord Owens

January 14, 2021 – Imagine God’s Limitless Love

Dear Disciples:

Here at the beginning of a new year, there is no doubt that our church – as much of the rest of the world – is in a wilderness season. We find ourselves wandering, longing for the comfort of what we once knew and wondering what the future holds.

I believe that this moment, like all wilderness moments, holds great opportunity for us, if we are brave enough to imagine what might be. I want to invite you to imagine with me.

Several intertwining crises present themselves in this moment, each with a particular opportunity: The pandemic, which has caused the cancellation of our General Assembly and forced so many churches out of their buildings, provides an opportunity to re-envision what church looks like in all expressions and to explore what it means to be a church sent out. The racial justice reckoning happening across the United States gives us an opportunity to revisit our commitment to be a pro-reconciling/anti-racist church; that is, to be the church we say we are.

The economic crisis, in which the wealth gap is widening and leaving many without access to resources, gives us an opportunity to discern how we will love and serve our neighbors, even as we work toward a more just economy for all. The political unrest in the context of American democracy gives us an opportunity to explore what it means to be witnesses to the story of Jesus in a time of such division and change. And the ever-present crisis of climate change provides an opportunity to reaffirm our call to care for God’s good creation, even as we confess and repent our participation in its destruction.

In this moment, then, our calling is clear. As a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, we are called to imagine a church that bears witness to God’s limitless love. We will need to act with courage. We will need to give ourselves permission to change, to let go of processes and structures and practices that don’t serve us well any longer. We will need to let go of fear – the fear of what might happen if we do change, and the fear of the unknown future.

I’d like to share with you some ways we can live into this calling this year by focusing on four key areas: covenant, story, tools, and practice.

Covenant: The Governance Committee of the General Board is doing some important work exploring what it means to live in covenant. They’ve been reflecting on the theological foundations of our governing documents, reviewing possible revisions to the Design, and reexamining how we make decisions and how we speak as a church. As we prepare to hear more about this work later this year, I hope you will pray for those who are discerning a way forward, and for your congregation as it lives in covenant with the whole church.

Story: It is time for us to shape a new narrative for ourselves, particularly in terms of what we see when we imagine ourselves an anti-racist church. Establishing common values and practices lived out in individual contexts will help us shape a vision of a shared future. Every day we must tell our story, share the good news, and make decisions that hold us accountable to be the church we say we are. In the coming months, I will be sharing ideas and inviting others into conversation with me, as together we imagine our new story. Please make sure you’re signed up for my Dear Disciples newsletter and follow Disciples social media so you won’t miss these opportunities to imagine with me.

Tools: There are some new tools already in the works that will help us do ministry together. I hope you have heard about Alex, a new Disciples database that will eventually replace the yearbook. It will provide a real-time directory and help us track churchwide data trends and help our regional and general expressions support congregations more effectively. New communication tools are being developed as well; you can now sign up for email newsletters that bring you the news you want, whether that’s updates on justice efforts, messages from me, news from the whole church, or resources particularly for pastors. In addition, increased collaboration among regional and general ministries are helping us work in covenant with one another. Building relationships across the church, across laity and clergy, and across generations will be key to infusing our church with new energy as we all share our gifts in ministry. You can learn more about Alex at www.disciples.org, where you can also sign up for newsletters and connect with ministries across the church.

Finally, practice: Grounded in spiritual growth and development, we begin with love, letting love lead us into action testifying to the church we say we are. Our faith practices help us understand that love: We share communion at the Lord’s Table as an expression of God’s expansive welcome. We practice baptism and proclaim that we walk in new life. We study and share the ancient stories that point to a new world. We pray together, a practice that reminds us that we are not alone, that we are created and loved by God. We serve our neighbors, acknowledging that we are connected to each other and that we are called to live not for ourselves but for the sake of the world. I hope, as we move into this new year, that you will stay connected to your local congregation, and that you will embrace the practices of our faith that give you life.

Church, we are called to imagine a new world. We are called to imagine God’s reign fully come, and to discern how we can participate in making it so. We call ourselves Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. It is time for us to be the church we say we are: to seize the opportunity of this wilderness moment and to move forward with courage, permission to change, and freedom from fear, to imagine a church that bears witness to God’s limitless love.

I’m glad to be in ministry with you.

Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens
General Minister and President

2021-01-14T10:19:28-06:00Jan 14, 2021|Regional News|0 Comments

Worship at Home! Livestream or Recorded Worship Services

Are you looking for a digital worship service?  You are in the right place! Many of our churches livestream their worship services via Facebook, Youtube, and offer a replay their worship services.  What a great way to worship from home.  Many congregations that use Youtube can be found in the “channels” section of the Region’s Youtube Channel.

We may not all be in the same room, but we can still gather together in the name of Jesus and worship as one. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

We will continue to add churches to this list.

Central Christian Church Enid

Community Christian Church Ponca City

Disciples Christian Church Bartlesville

East Sixth Street Christian Church

First Christian Church Chickasha

First Christian Church Cushing

First Christian Church Cyril

First Christian Church Edmond

First Christian Church El Reno

First Christian Church Midwest City

First Christian Church Norman

First Christian Church Oklahoma City

First Christian Church Stillwater

First Christian Church Tahlequah

First Christian Church Thomas

First Christian Church Woodward

Forest Park Christian Church Tulsa

Harvard Avenue Christian Church

Southern Hills Christian Church Edmond

Waukomis Christian Church

Weatherford Federated Church

West Point Christian Church Yukon

Western Oaks Christian Church Oklahoma City

Woodlands Christian Church Ponca City

2020-12-10T11:02:46-06:00Dec 10, 2020|Livestream Church|1 Comment

Regional Staff Travel Update

Regional Staff to Continue Working Remotely (updated 12/09/20)

On the recommendation of the Region’s Personnel Committee, the Executive Committee of the Regional Board decided it would be best for the Regional Staff to continue to work remotely until the end of 2020. UPDATE: The Executive Committee will meet on January 21, 2021 to determine the 2021 staff travel policy.

The office phones are being managed through technology or by contacting the Regional Ministers directly on their cell phones.

The Executive Committee, also on the commendation of Personnel, determined that it would be best for the Regional Ministers to NOT TRAVEL around the region for worship or large gatherings through December 31, 2020, unless there is a consistent decline in new cases for fourteen days or a vaccine or a miracle. They will continue to be present in worships or large gatherings by Zoom or other social media platforms.

2020-12-09T11:28:02-06:00Dec 9, 2020|Regional News|0 Comments

2020 Christmas Offering Resources

What is the Christmas Offering?

Gifts to the Christmas offering support the work of the Oklahoma Region. It sustains the life of the church by connecting, empowering and equipping Disciples of Christ to love and serve like Jesus. (Received December 13th and 20th)

100% of your gift supports Oklahoma Regional Ministries

Even during this long season of COVID we continue to –

Connect congregations and clergy to each other

Gather Disciples virtually in camps, conferences and assemblies.

Nurture those called to vocational ministry.

Assist churches in calling new ministers.

Participate in the global mission of the church.

Respond to disasters in Oklahoma with dollars and resources.

Walk with those in conflict.

Lead the church to address racism.

Inspire leaders to experiment and create.

Witness to the power of God to make ALL things new.

Click here for Advent Wreath Videos

Click here to download the video

Bulletin Insert

Download Insert

2020-11-28T09:52:43-06:00Nov 27, 2020|Regional News|0 Comments

Fall 2020 Annual Fund Campaign

Dear Friends in Christ,

Thank you for being a partner in the ministry and mission of the Regional Church in Oklahoma. Your ongoing financial gifts to the Regional Church help to connect, equip, and empower clergy and congregations in Oklahoma to reach out with the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Please prayerfully consider giving a gift to the Fall Appeal for the Regional Church. Every gift, blessed and multiplied by God, has the capacity to strengthen our ministry together.

While all of our in-person Regional events were cancelled due to the unprecedented pandemic these last eight months, we have been able to gather virtually to continue the ministry of the Region. In fact, we just held the first Virtual Regional Assembly on September 26, 2020, which was remarkable. We were able to see one another, learn together, worship together, and conduct Regional business together. We had 75 clergy and 60 certified delegates representing 27 congregations in attendance via Zoom, and many others throughout the Region joined the Assembly through YouTube. If you missed it you may view the 2020 Virtual Regional Assembly replays here.

Your Regional leadership also continues to provide opportunities and resources for youth and children through this same technology. Clergy continue to gather for support and sharing, and congregations have been able to utilize the Region’s technology until they could acquire their own. And now you may access podcast interviews of our Regional Area Moderators.

Your gift to the Regional Church makes it possible for all of us to stay connected through technology, even more so with a pandemic, and we are ever so grateful.

We are committed to continuing our focus on Jesus and the Bible in 2021 to keep our faith grounded in these unstable times. Also, we are committed to the creation of new ways to connect, equip, and empower Disciples of Christ:

  • strengthening the voice of hope and assurance of God’s presence among us,
  • using our voices and our feet to advocate for justice for the oppressed,
  • lifting our hands and hearts in prayer beckoning the Holy Spirit to help us bring healing and wholeness to this very broken world.

Your gift will help us accomplish these priorities. We have enclosed an envelope so you may send a check to the Regional Church, or you may give online using Givelify here.

Again, thank you for your part in the meaningful, life-giving work of the Regional Church. Stay safe! Stay well! Stay hopeful!

Peace & God’s Grace,

Pamela G. Holt, Regional Minister


Some Regional Leaders’ responses to “What do you enjoy about the Regional Church?”

“The people! Learning and meeting all the people, and learning all the
Region does!” says Jacqueline Bass from Wildewood Christian Church, OKC.

“The relationships,” writes Rev. Michael Oberlender from FCC Chickasha. “When I think of relationship, I think of connectivity. As a family, we are
bonded together and enjoy a covenantal bond like no other entity.”

“Seasoned colleagues, responsive regional ministers, critical theological exploration at PTS, and a Disciples history of being a powerful voice of
reasoned Christianity!” writes Rev. Colton Lott from FCC El Reno.

2020-11-03T14:09:38-06:00Nov 3, 2020|Regional News|Comments Off on Fall 2020 Annual Fund Campaign

Regional Minister Searches Open in Kentucky and Ohio

8/20/20

Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Kentucky

Receiving applications through December 15 2020. Online job description

  • Is ordained in the CC(DOC) and wholeheartedly supports its Design and its established policies and procedures, including the Search and Call process.
  • Is called to the service of the wider church and the local congregation
  • Is called to pastoral counseling and consultation with both clergy and congregations
  • Is a person of authentic faith; an innovative thinker; a visionary leader; an effective communicator; and has a pastoral presence.

Is responsible for:

  • Leading the Region in casting, implementing, and evaluating the Vision and Mission of the Region
  • Interpreting the mission and ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the region
  • Providing pastoral care, counseling, and leadership to clergy and local congregations
  • Traveling to congregations (or visiting remotely) within the Region for the purpose of building relationships and fostering good communication
  • Overseeing the Search and Call process with congregations
  • Serving as head of staff, supervising the work of associate regional ministers, contract staff, and administrative staff, including reviews, terms of employment, and disciplinary measures
  • Serving as a resource to the Regional Board and all of its committees, commissions, and working groups
  • Working with the established boards, committees, and any other ministries and task forces to carry out the ongoing work of the region
  • Strengthening relationships with
    – College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    – Kentucky Christian Missionary Convention
    – Southeast Regional Fellowship (Disciples Regions in the Southeast)
    – West Area of the Christian Church in Kentucky

    • Green Chalice, a Disciples Home Missions organization with roots in Kentucky
    • Disciples Appalachian Scholarship Ministry (formerly Kentucky Appalachian Ministry)
  • Participating on these boards:
    • General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and Canada
    • Lexington Theological Seminary Board of Trustees
    • Kentucky Council of Churches Executive Committee

The Regional Board, with the consultation of the Personnel Committee, is responsible for supervising the Regional Minister.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky

All applicants are required to provide updated search and call paperwork in order to be considered. Furthermore, all applicants are required to submit a Letter of Interest to the Search Committee Chairperson:

Rev. Kory Wilcoxson
c/o Crestwood Christian Church
1882 Bellefonte Dr., Lexington, KY, 40502

The application deadline is Dec. 15, 2020.

Candidates should also have current Disciples Search and Call papers on file with the Office of Search and Call in Disciples Home Missions.

10/13/20

Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Ohio

Receiving applications through November 30, 2020. Online job description and regional profile

The Regional Pastor and President provides executive and visionary leadership for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Ohio. The Regional Pastor and President will enhance congregational vitality and mission through a ministry of: authentic connection, presence, process development and creative leadership; spiritual development and practice in personal and communal life; pastoral care and nurture of the congregations and ministers within the Region through quality communication and wise, prayerful counsel; and attention to the development of community by encouraging networking, collaboration and cooperation of congregations and leadership. The Regional Pastor will be affirming and inclusive, creating a space where all Disciples in Ohio are welcome at the Table.

Interested persons should send a letter of interest to:
Debbie Saxe, Regional Search Committee Co-Chair
230 Stow Avenue, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

The application deadline is November 30, 2020

Candidates should also have current Disciples Search and Call papers on file with the Office of Search and Call in Disciples Home Missions.

2020-11-03T11:26:36-06:00Nov 3, 2020|Regional News|Comments Off on Regional Minister Searches Open in Kentucky and Ohio

GMP Receives National Convocation’s Liberation Award

The African American Liberation Award 2020 of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Terri Hord Owens

Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President

Rev. Terri Hord Owens Honored

The National Convocation’s African American Liberation Award is presented to persons who are strategic and instrumental in opening doors of opportunity and empowerment of African Americans and other oppressed people. The presentation to our Rev. Terri Hord Ownes, our General Minister and President reads:

“For Your Bold Leadership in These Times of Uncertainty, Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian Teaching the Church to Pray With Specificity and Confidence.”

Congratulations and may God grant you grace to carry on.

Learn more about the National Convocation Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

2020-11-03T10:25:26-06:00Nov 3, 2020|Regional News|Comments Off on GMP Receives National Convocation’s Liberation Award

Pastoral Appreciation: Intentional Self-Care and Gratitude

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

The Region thanks each of our ordained and commissioned ministers who are serving in local congregations, in hospitals, and in higher education.  Thank you for sharing their gifts, talents, energy, wisdom, kindness, creativity, and time to bless others. We appreciate all you do every day to make and shape those in your care in the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

In honor of Pastor Appreciation Month, we give thanks and also encourage our clergy to take some time for intentional self-care this month. If we clergy are not taking care of ourselves and tending to our own disrupted patterns of behavior in this extraordinary and unprecedented time of ministry, then we will not be very effective at caring for others. We encourage healthy leaders to be able to care for and help bring healing and wholeness to their broken people in the community and this fragmented world. And, it would be best to choose self-care rather than our bodies insisting on it with a crisis.

We offer to you the wisdom from Ashley Allen, author of “You Are Important: Nine Ways to Put Yourself First.”

She writes,

“Putting yourself first is not selfish. It is responsible. Use the mind, body, and spirit trifecta to increase well-being and remind yourself that you are important.”

Allen offers 9 ways:

  • 3 for the body: exercise, nutrition, and careful choosing of cleaning products;
  • 3 for the mind: be around positive people, do something you love and enjoy, and learn something new;
  • 3 for the soul: practice and write gratitude, meditation and prayer, and unplug.

Read the full article here.

May God’s blessing be upon you as you continue to love and serve in the way of Jesus Christ!

Regional Minister Pamela Holt

2020-10-07T14:38:13-05:00Oct 7, 2020|Regional News|Comments Off on Pastoral Appreciation: Intentional Self-Care and Gratitude

Lexington Seminary Webinars: Creating Vital Congregations

Practical Help for Laity and Clergy

Lexington Theological Seminary is offering the Creating Vital Congregations webinar series to help equip pastors, church leaders and members alike with tools to address a wide variety of issues facing congregations today. The 2-hour workshops (1:30-3:30 pm ET) cost $10 per log-in with unlimited number of participants so are easily accessible for church leadership groups.

Lexington Theological Seminary is an accredited graduate theological institution of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Register here

For more information contact Ms. Deena Ainslie (859) 280-1212 or dainslie@lextheo.edu

Congregational Conflict
Oct. 17, 2020 • Rev. Dr. Aimee Moiso

Imagining a New World
Nov. 7, 2020 • Rev. Teresa Hord Owens

You Cannot Serve God and Money: Today’s Global Debt System as a Moral and Pastoral Emergency
Jan. 23, 2021 • Rev. Dr. Bruce Rogers-Vaughn

365 Days of Giving: Examining Generosity and Gratitude in Complex Times
Feb. 6, 2021 • Aimee A. Laramore

Intergenerational Ministry
March 20, 2021 • Rev. Dr. Olivia Bryan Updegrove

Leadership in the Multicultural World
April 24, 2021 • Rev. Lori Tapia

Dinner Church
May 22, 2021 • Rev. Rachel Nance Woehler & Rev. Tim Kim

2020-10-06T08:49:50-05:00Oct 6, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Lexington Seminary Webinars: Creating Vital Congregations

Webinars: Caring for Your Congregation During Crisis

Caring for Your Congregation and Community During Crisis Webinar Series

Registration is now open for the Fall 2020 free webinar series, “Caring for Your Congregation and Community During Crisis”. It is sponsored by The Oklahoma United Methodist Conference, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma, and Crisis Care Ministries. The series of one hour webinars for leaders is scheduled for most Tuesdays and Thursdays starting September 29, 2020, from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Download a flyer.

Faith and community leaders are facing historic challenges, testing the limits of our creativity, strength, and resilience. In this free webinar series, experienced specialists in disaster response, recovery, health, mental health, and congregational and family life offer their expertise to help leaders gain new skills and knowledge to face the difficult crises impacting our communities.

Webinar Titles

  • COVID Conversations for Faith Communities – 9/29/20
  • Where are We? The Spiritual and Emotional Phases of the COVID-19 Disaster – 10/6/20
  • Explaining COVID-19 to Children – 10/8/20
  • The Disillusionment Phase: Assisting Others and Ourselves in Long-Term Recovery – 10/13/20
  • Ministry in an Age of Pandemic – 10/15/20
  • Providing Support to Schools After a Traumatic Loss – 10/20/20
  • In Good Faith: Why Legal Services are Critical for Disaster Survivors including COVID-19 – 10/22/20 & 11/10/20
  • Providing Support to Your Community After a Traumatic Loss – 10/27/20
  • Introduction to Stress First Aid – 10/29/20
  • Taking the Long View With Faith – 11/5/20
  • Managing Holidays in a COVID-19 Environment – 11/19/20
  • Navigating Political and Cultural Polarization Among Family and Friends – 11/24/20
  • Personal and Family Disaster Preparedness – 12/1/20
  • Caring for Those with Access and Functional Needs – 12/3/20
  • National VOAD Disaster Emotional Care & Disaster Spiritual Care Guidelines – 12/8/20

Click here for detailed webinar descriptions and presenter bios.

Free Webinar Series Presented By

Crisis Webinar Sponsor Logos

Presenters Include Representatives From

Catholic Charities (Archdiocese of Oklahoma City)
Crisis Care Ministries
Heart and Mind Pastoral Counseling
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
Temple B’Nai Israel (Oklahoma City)
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma
The National VOAD Emotional and Spiritual Care Committee
The Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church
The Oklahoma Department of Health
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps Stress Response Team/SRT Inc.
The Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

Need continuing education?

Attendance certificates (PDF format) are available for all courses. Check with your affiliating organization for applicability.

About Registration

Register for individual sessions. Registration closes 24 hours before the session.
100 spaces available for each session.

Click here to register.

2020-10-05T08:12:55-05:00Oct 4, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Webinars: Caring for Your Congregation During Crisis