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Donate to 2021 Spring Annual Fund

April 12, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

Christ has risen! Christ has risen, indeed! Like the disciples, I hope you can feel the joy of the resurrected Christ!

Thank you for being a generous donor to the Regional Church’s Annual Fund. Your gift is an important way to be a “witness” that Christ is risen, forgiveness is offered, and hope is everywhere. We are grateful for every gift which helps us stay connected and together serve those in our communities who are broken, suffering, and/or most vulnerable.

This past year, love has looked and felt like sacrifice in so many ways. And yet, despite the sacrifices, our loving and serving like Jesus and the Disciples has been extraordinary. Your gifts to the Regional Church have brought some unimaginable joy!

Your gifts have provided the Region with resources so that with up-to-date technology, we have found our way, like you, through the closed sanctuary doors into windows filled with prayer, music, preaching and sharing in the Lord’s Table. In these moments of connection, whether it be a church in our neighborhood or one across the state, we have experienced the love of God embracing us like never before. Albeit different, the Regional Church has not missed a beat connecting with clergy and congregations in all of the various circumstances of the life of the church.

With your generous gifts, we continue to provide clergy and leaders with education and confidence that there are many resources for caring in crisis and long term recovery from any storm that arises.

With your generous gifts, the Region continues to reach out to provide courage and strength and dollars for those who are in need. Since the first of 2021, the Region has helped clergy and families who have been sick and yet recovered from COVID-19. We have partnered with Week of Compassion to provide financial relief to families who have struggled with paying their rent and utilities, and even more financial relief to families and congregations who suffered damages from the frigid, sub-zero winter weather.

As we look forward, we are cautious and excited for the Region to offer in-person camp this summer for our youth. We are also already making plans for the 2022 Regional Assembly to be held in-person at Harvard Avenue Christian Church in Tulsa. We know it will be a grand celebration of gathering, worshiping together, and making a joyful noise throughout the land!

Your gift is important. And, we are grateful for every gift which we turn right back around to help you and your church to love your neighbors and serve like Jesus.

Please give generously to the 2021 Annual Fund of the Regional Church! The depth and breadth of love in your gift truly makes a difference. 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

To learn about your Regional Church read the 2020 General Board Report or watch the video.

God has not caused the current breakdown of our world.
But here is what I know about Easter:
God is creating in us something more beautiful for having been broken.
Crucifixion to resurrection.
That’s how God works.

Rev. Cameron Trimble, author of
“Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight”

Gifts may be given securely through Givelify or online here or checks may be made payable to Christian Church in Oklahoma, noted Annual Fund, and mailed to 301 NW 36th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73118-8661.

2021-04-12T13:44:38-05:00Apr 12, 2021|Regional News|0 Comments

Faith Still Standing: Tulsa Race Massacre

100 Years Later – Commemoration of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Trevor Bach writes, “On Memorial Day Weekend in 1921, as Jim Crow segregation laws seized the country, rumors about a young Black man sexually assaulting a white woman in an elevator sparked a frenzy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the racial tension escalated, a white mob descended on the city’s Greenwood neighborhood, a highly prosperous area known as “Black Wall Street,” and committed among the United States’ most egregious acts of racial terror, looting businesses and burning entire city blocks. Later estimates would cite as many as 300 Black Tulsans killed from the violence – some likely from firebombs dropped by private airplanes – and as many as 10,000 left homeless. Greenwood lay in ashes.

Nearly 100 years later, a series of projects aims to both commemorate a long under-recognized massacre and help revitalize the iconic American neighborhood. Read the full article.

While this horrific story of racism is part of our past and difficult to confront, this is the time for us to know the story, embrace the pain and grief, support the Greenwood Rising projects with our dollars and prayers, and turn our hearts, our minds, and our hands to become unrelenting catalysts for anti-racism.

Pine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Recognized

Pine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tulsa is one of the churches that will be acknowledged and recognized, for being in the historical Greenwood area for over 100 years. Pine Street Christian Church (est. 1907) has congregants who are descendants of the massacre. A special event “Faith Still Standing” to commemorate the Greenwood congregations will take place May 30, 2021. You may find event details as they become available on the Commission’s events schedule.

Disciples of Christ Descendants

An ordained Disciples of Christ minister Rev. Zenobia Mayo of Tulsa is one of the descendants. Her great uncle was Dr. A.C. Jackson who was an African American surgeon who was killed during the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. According to the Greenwood Cultural Center, Jackson was considered as the “most able Negro surgeon in America” by the Mayo Brothers, founders of the Mayo Clinic.

There are other Disciples descendants as well. The Region will be releasing a podcast soon of a couple with those voices.

Event Schedule Released

The primary dates of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commemoration are May 26 – June 6, 2021, see the Event Schedule.

Download an Event Schedule

2021-04-12T10:25:54-05:00Apr 12, 2021|Congregations|0 Comments

Ready? Set? Go! Wait, I’m not ready!

Remember the children’s game, “Ready?  Set?  Go!”  These are the words I’m hearing in my mind as I prepare to depart my Regional responsibilities for a long awaited three month sabbatical. Am I “ready?”  No, I’m not!  Am I “set?”  Wait! I’m not ready!

I entered into the work force when I was 15 years old, and I have worked every year since with only two weeks vacation most years. In the latter years, four weeks but I never took all four at once. I was eligible for a sabbatical in 2007, but I gave it to my colleague instead who desperately needed it. I was eligible for a sabbatical again in 2013, but I chose to forego it so I could apply for this current position. I was supposed to take this sabbatical last year, but COVID-19 came. This year, I’m going, ready or not!

I have created a list of things to do while on sabbatical! After being trained to become a Healthy Boundaries trainer, my list includes rigorous exercise, playing with horses, reading a long list of books, writing every day, volunteering at a local community garden or food pantry, burying my mother’s ashes and spreading our son’s ashes, and reconnecting with family and many (vaccinated) friends.

My executive coach, Rev. Cameron Trimble, has advised me to set aside this long, too-long, list of things to do. Rather, she says, I need to make a list of ways “to be” ~ to rest and reclaim the person God has intended. Robert Saler in Planning Sabbaticals reminds me of the same wisdom in four important points:

  1. He recommends taking the “joy vs. obligation test.” Is the activity on my list going to bring joy or is it an obligation? Sounds a bit like Marie Kondo!
  2. He cautions not to make the mistake of creating a bucket list rather than balancing energy. The goals of a renewal leave all depend upon a deliberate pace with lots of “downtime” for reflection and processing built in.
  3. He encourages reveling in unplanned detours, surprises, or other deviations from the “script”. In other words, make space for improvisation or the Holy Spirit.
  4. Most of all . . . dream.  Breathe. Give yourself over to the vulnerability of showing the world what it is that feeds your soul. That trust is the cornerstone of sabbaticals that renew and delight. Robert Saler, Planning Sabbaticals, (Missouri: Chalice Press, 2019) 39-48.

I think I will listen to these two wise, experienced mentors who are both encouraging me to practice being and not doing. I truly pray my time away will be filled with the grace and mercy of God to be renewed and prepared for a new season of shared ministry and mission with you all.

So, ready or not, I am going! As I walk out the door in a few weeks I am reminded of Wayne Muller’s words:

“Jesus did not wait until everyone had been properly cared for, until all who sought him had healed. He did not ask permission to go, nor did he leave anyone behind “on call,” or even let his disciples know where he was going. Jesus obeyed a deeper rhythm. When the moment for rest had come, the time for healing was over. He would simply stop, retire to a quiet place, and pray . . . When Jesus prayed he was at rest, nourished by the healing spirit that saturates those still, quiet places.”  Wayne Muller, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (New York: Bantam, 1999), 25.

Like Jesus, I am going, leaving some tasks untended. Unlike Jesus, I have permission! And, I am leaving you in the very competent hands of Rev. Paxton Jones, the Acting Regional Minister, Associate Regional Minister Rev. Michael Davison, and Executive Assistant Ellen Spleth, who serve as the Regional Staff, and of course, the Regional Executive Committee and Board are equipped to handle anything that might arise. Thank you all for this privilege of rest and to be nourished by the healing spirit.

2021-04-07T13:43:05-05:00Apr 7, 2021|Pam Holt Blog, Regional News|0 Comments

Stepping Out From Behind the Screen

I hope that celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ brought joy to you and your congregation! Now begins the season where we see the risen Christ at work, not just in the Bible, but also in our lives.

It is a joy to share that your Regional staff are fully vaccinated. This means that we are able to lift our travel guidelines a bit. Still cautious, and still practicing all the safety protocols, Michael, Pam, and Paxton Jones (Acting Regional Minister during May, June, & July) will begin traveling for congregational worship beginning April 11, 2021.

We will continue to join you in worship via Zoom or Facebook, but now we will be able to join you for special events such as installations or retirements or to fill the pulpit as needed. To be present with you in worship, we expect your congregation to also be practicing all the safety protocols recommended by the CDC, wearing masks, washing your hands, watching your distance.

  • April 11, 2021 – Michael preaching in person at Enid Central CC
  • April 18, 2021 – Pam preaching via Zoom at Tulsa Bethany CC
  • April 18, 2021 – Michael presiding at the retirement of Rev. Charles Ragland, Claremore FCC

Camp and Conference will be in-person this summer. And, beginning this fall, we will also be considering in-person meetings at the Disciples Center.

Over the next few months will be scheduling and attending many pastor installations, retirements and ordination services that have been postponed.

Looking forward to seeing the beauty of Spring!

Peace & God’s Grace,

Regional Minister Pamela Holt

2021-04-06T09:19:16-05:00Apr 6, 2021|Regional News|0 Comments

Seminary Scholarships from Phillips Legacy Foundation

Phillips University Legacy Foundation is pleased to offer a merit-based Seminary scholarship program for full-time, first-year seminarians who are pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree, are committed to pastoral ministry, and will attend one of the following Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) affiliated seminaries or foundation homes:

Brite Divinity School – Ft. Worth, TX

Christian Theological Seminary – Indianapolis, IN

Disciples Divinity House at Vanderbilt – Nashville, TN

Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago – Chicago, IL

Disciples Seminary Foundation:

  • Claremont School of Theology – Claremont, CA
  • ILIFF School of Theology – Denver, CO
  • Pacific School of Religion – Berkeley, CA
  • San Francisco Theological Seminary at University of Redlands –San Anselmo, CA

Lexington Theological Seminary – Lexington, KY

Phillips Theological Seminary – Tulsa, OK

The purpose of this program is to perpetuate the mission and the legacy of Phillips University by helping educate people who will be future ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

For more information about the Phillips University Legacy Foundation Seminary Scholarship Program, please contact Tamela Harsha, Scholarship Administrator, at (580) 237-4433 or email seminaryscholarships@pulf.org. Applications can be accessed online. The application deadline is Friday, May 14, 2021.

New Endowed Scholarship

Phillips University Legacy Foundation is pleased to announce a newly endowed scholarship fund. The Rev. Dr. Jimmie L. and Connie K. Gentle Scholarship was created by the Gentles’ three sons and their families to honor their parents. (Learn more)

The Jimmie L. and Connie K. Gentle Scholarship will be awarded to a Phillips University Legacy Scholar attending TCU.

Jimmie ’59 Gentle and Connie (Roberts) ’57 Gentle met at Phillips University. After graduation from Phillips University, Jimmie L. Gentle was an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and served congregations in Oklahoma and Arizona. He subsequently spent the majority of his career as the Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Florida. Connie K. Gentle had a long, successful career as an educator in the Orange County Public School System in Orlando, Florida.

When notified of the establishment of the scholarship, they commented. “Phillips University provided an environment for us to develop a cadre of life long friends. Phillips challenged us to think critically especially regarding the Bible, and led us into an expanding appreciation of the fine arts.”

“Our liberal arts studies helped us mold a global worldview, our lifestyle, and our professional career choices. Now in this conflicted era, more so than ever before, there is still a vital role for the liberal arts university. It should be championed and supported.”

Dr. Donald Gentle said, “Our parents have always believed in the value of higher education. Our family feels that this scholarship is a way to honor their lifelong commitment to education, while creating ongoing support for the education of future generations and continuing the mission of Phillips University.”

2021-03-25T15:27:25-05:00Mar 25, 2021|Regional News|0 Comments

Hope Lives Here: An Immigration Story

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a long history of answering the call of Christ to welcome the stranger and live out the numerous scriptures that tell us to love others. In Leviticus, and many other places we hear the word of God, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

According to Disciples Home Mission’s website, “Since 1948, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has resettled more than 37,500 refugees and assisted countless people facing immigration problems.” We have several mission sites that are dedicated to assisting refugees and I have personally led several wonderful mission trips to Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries in Southwest Texas to stay and work at a refugee site.

Congo Family Seeks Sanctuary in Oklahoma

Last summer, Rev. Mary Heath, who chairs the Oklahoma Commission on Refugee and Immigration Ministries in Oklahoma, received a call from ministry partners in Texas about a family seeking sanctuary. This family is currently settling into a new life in Oklahoma. They escaped the Congo and it has been a tumultuous journey that has taken a few years from the time they left until their arrival in the United States.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been in a horrible civil war for years. It is a place where families fear the warlords will take their young sons to be raised to fight and they fear their daughters could face an even worse fate. The father of this family of 5 was a teacher and humanitarian worker whose life was threatened for helping people, serving the least. The family speaks 6 languages, and thanks to tutors are now learning English as their 7th language. They speak 3 African dialects, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. We are thankful for the work of OCRIM, the Spero Project, and Catholic Charities for the assistance this family is receiving in tutoring, mentoring, and so much more.

Laws Prohibiting Work

Did you know that when a family seeks asylum in the U.S. that a recent Federal law prohibits them from working anywhere from one and a half to three years of their residency in the United States? They can’t even apply for a work permit in the first 150 days, then must wait for one year after they formally apply for asylum, and then it can take 30 days once they get a hearing to approve the work permit. These rules have changed over and over again in the last several years making it almost impossible to know what to do and when.

The Challenge of Immigration Hearings

The problems are many. Oklahoma recently closed down the one and only immigration court forcing applicants to go out of state, and it can take months or years for them to even get a hearing in another state. In the meantime, if a family member works to try to provide for their family they are breaking the law and can face immediate deportation. Could you imagine the hardships that places on a family who has already left everything behind, carrying all they can in 3 backpacks? To compound things, the family just had a fourth child born in October.

Will You Help?

Western Oaks Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) supports the work of our Regional Church, and our Commission on Refugees and Immigration Ministries. As part of our support we are raising the money to pay at least one month’s rent of $654 for this family from the Congo. I am challenging you to help raise enough for one month’s rent and living expenses. Will you help us to be a beacon of hope to this family and others?

You can donate by sending your check or give online to the Regional Church through Givelify. Designate donations to Refugee Immigration Ministries (RIM). Or you may mail a check make payable to the Christian Church in Oklahoma, 301 NW 36th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73118. Please note RIM on the check.

You may find out more ways to help by calling Rev. Mary Heath at Edmond Trinity Christian Church. 405-348-8019. Also visit our RIM Resources page here.

Shalom,
Rev. Daniel U’Ren, Sr. Minister
Western Oaks Christian Church

2021-03-08T16:06:00-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Mission|0 Comments

Refugee & Immigration Ministries Update

Nationwide:  More and more immigrants and refugees are entering the U.S.  Many being allowed to enter who were waiting on the Mexico side under the “Remain in Mexico” (MPP) mandate.  In the last four weeks, border organizations have seen a large increase in family units crossing and being processed.

Reunification of families:  is still under work, with slow results meeting frustrating previous practices.

Border organizations:  are seeing greatly increased numbers of individuals released into the U.S.  Most in Texas are trying to recover from the devastating cold and being without food, water, heat, and utilities.  They are working non-stop to catch up from lack of needed electricity to operate much needed computers for processing, communicating, finding shelters and facilities, family and friends to receive immigrants and refugees.

Check out the administration’s ambitious bill: US Citizenship Act of 2021, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda Sanchez.

Our regional status:  Our refugee family from the Congo was determined as ineligible for any state or federal benefits.  Catholic Charities has dropped them from any programs available as of Jan. 1st.  The family has no food benefits or cash assistance benefits for items such as electricity, phone, and non-food items (toiletries, cleaners, household items, clothes, diapers, and infant formula.)  Thankfully, several churches have given sponsorship of apartment rent and we are asking for more support in groceries and utilities.

In December two of our pastors Colton Lott, and Daniel U’Ren, in the midst of a snowstorm, helped a young couple with a newborn receive temporary housing and meals in OKC while having to appear at an ICE check-in.  An amazing member of First Norman, Neil Johnson, agreed to drive during the snowstorm to pick up the young family in Ft. Worth- saving them from a long bus ride and a late night with an infant and agreeing to get them to their appointment!  No one was informed the ICE office was closed due to Covid-19 and the couple had to reschedule.  While in OKC, their sponsor in Louisville KY declined to receive them.  They are temporarily residing in OKC and awaiting their next check-in.

There are many families awaiting sponsorship on the border to be released. If you believe your church family could receive one, please contact Rev. Mary Heath (revmaryheath@att.net) or visit our RIM Resources page here. It is a great responsibility and a great affirmation of the one family of God.

Thank you, my Disciple friends for your love and support.

Rev. Mary Heath, Chair
Commission on Refugee & Immigration Ministries

2021-03-08T16:06:59-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Mission|0 Comments

The Toothbrush and the Electrician: Caminante Works

Before and After Moments

We all have had before and after moments, particularly after tragedies like the Oklahoma City bombing, church shootings or tragic accidents. And when we were close to people affected by these tragedies, nothing was the same in the “after”.

That’s how people who visited Caminante feel. You go to a homework room where 20 children, who have been denied education, are now being given a second chance. You sit beside little children and help them with their coloring. Afterwards, they give you a hug and say “Gracias amigos”. And later you realize, that a few of these children, without Caminante, would have fallen into sexual exploitation or sexual trafficking. Closeness changes you and changes how you see this mission.

Your group gave me a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

More importantly, hope for a better future.
Thank you Oklahoma!

The Toothbrush and The Electrician

In my 2019 visit to Caminante, a young man sat down beside me at dinner. He said through a translator, “You probably don’t recognize me. I was 10 years old when your group gave me a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste and more importantly hope for a better future. Because of Caminante, I completed my education. Now, eleven years later, I am an electrician at the large cement plant on this island.” (In the factory world, electricians are often the most skilled and highly paid workers and they have the utmost job security.) “I came here to shake your hand and say thank you Oklahoma. You gave me and my family a good future.” His story is why people, who saw how Caminante makes a difference, ask for your help.

Providing Education and More

COVID-19 continues to devastate jobs in the tourist business in the seaside town of Boca Chica where Caminante is located. In addition to education and social services, Caminante is now also providing food, medical and personal hygiene supplies to families they serve. COVID has made the work of Caminante more difficult, more expensive and more urgent.

We’ll Double Your Donation

People who have seen the before-and-after as a result of Caminante, have put up $5000 in matching money for contributions in 2021. As a result, the difference you make with your donation is doubled.

As an individual, will you donate to our ministry in Caminante?
Would your church like to donate to our ministry in Caminante?

Make your check payable to 
Christian Church in Oklahoma – Caminante

Send it to:
Christian Church in Oklahoma
301 N.W. 36th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Would you like to learn more? We are pleased to speak about Caminante at your Sunday School, in worship or at a Fellowship dinner.

Thank you for your continued generosity. Your generosity changes lives.

Rev. Don Johnson
580-402-2612

2021-03-04T15:26:30-06:00Mar 4, 2021|Mission|0 Comments

New 2021 Free Stewardship Resources

Center for Faith & Giving Releases Free 12-Month Stewardship Resources

Rev. Bruce Barkhauer has announced the release of new stewardship resources titled “Created To Be a Steward”. To meet changing circumstances, the Center for Faith and Giving determined that “business as usual” for resourcing stewardship was simply not going to work. The new “dynamic resource” provides fresh installments made each quarter as the year progresses. It is designed to to be relevant in the moment rather than hope we “guessed right” where your congregation finds itself throughout the year. It is intended to keep the stewardship conversation alive throughout the year by providing preaching, teaching and personal practical resources.

Created To Be a Steward

“Created To Be a Steward” is a 12-month stewardship emphasis for congregations that seeks to explore four major themes of biblical stewardship:

  • Self-Care (January – March)
  • Earth Care (April – June)
  • Resource Management (July – September); Gospel
  • Sharing [Evangelism] (October – December)

What is Included?

Each quarter, the free materials will contain:

  1. Three background pieces for sermon preparation
  2. Three companion educational curriculums based on the texts for preaching
  3. A commitment card for that particular theme (self-care, earth care, resource management, gospel sharing)
  4. Additional “experiential” exercises
  5. Links to additional resources and ideas (updated during that quarter)
  6. Worship resources including: prayers, call to worship, and offering and communion meditations
  7.  An entire separate resource of “campaign guidance” meant to help you organize and manage a financial campaign

How Do I Access the Free Resources?

Visit the Center for Faith and Giving website here. When you request the materials you will be given a link to the folders that may be downloaded free of charge.

2021-02-08T16:31:40-06:00Feb 8, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on New 2021 Free Stewardship Resources

Rev. Bill Inglish Recipient of 2021 Marshall Award

Rev. Dr. William (Bill) Inglish was recognized for his years of ministerial excellence by the alumni of Phillips Theological Seminary with the Frank H. Marshall Award. The presentation took place during the annual “Remind & Renew” event at Phillips Theological Seminary on January 28, 2021.

Click here to watch the video presentation.

2021-02-03T14:16:46-06:00Feb 3, 2021|Clergy News|Comments Off on Rev. Bill Inglish Recipient of 2021 Marshall Award