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Join NBA for a Virtual Seminar Where Faith Meets Social Good

National Benevolent Association (NBA) invites social entrepreneurs and Disciples who want to learn more about the world of Social Enterprise to our virtual SENT Seminar. Participants will experience online education on the importance of impactful work in our communities and lessons on how to plant and grow new faith-rooted social enterprises.

Topics Covered:
• Fundraising 101
• How to Build a Board
• Church and Social Impact
• The ‘Why’ of Faith-Rooted Social Enterprise
• Congregations Pivoting for Social Impact
• Social Service vs. Social justice
• Communication Strategy

Join us online for the Virtual SENT Seminar, Sept. 16–18, 2020. Register HERE

For more information, contact Rev. Darnell Fennell, Director of Social Entrepreneurship, DFennell@NBAcares.org, (314) 993-9000 ext. 6845

2020-06-30T13:51:16-05:00Jun 30, 2020|Congregations|0 Comments

Western Oaks Christian Church Receives Award From Oklahoma State Department of Health

Congratulations to Western Oaks Christian Church for receiving the “Certified Excellence” award from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. We congratulate you on your award and accomplishment to become a certified healthy congregation. Thank you for going above and beyond to serve your church and community.

2020-06-30T10:30:56-05:00Jun 30, 2020|Congregations|0 Comments

Aug. 15, 2020: National Convocation of the Christian Church Virtual Business Session

I am sure that you are well aware that out of concern for the health and well-being of our constituents, the 2020 EXPERIENCE IT’S REAL! had to be postponed to 2022. The work of the National Convocation goes on. Our Executive Committee and Board of Trustees have been meeting and making plans to handle our business. We are in the process of planning a Virtual 26th Biennial Business Session on August 15, 2020. We want to handle our business for 2020 in order to keep moving forward.

Event: 2020 Virtual 26th Biennial Business Session
Date: Saturday, August 15, 2020
Time: 11am – 1pm – central time
Where: Online – Zoom Meeting

We do have several pertinent items on the agenda. At the Virtual Biennial Business Session, we will want to:
a. Install new Officers;
b. Install new At-Large Members;
c. Receive the Strategic Plan and Vision Statement;
d. Approve the Amendments to the Articles of Operation;
e. Receive the Advisory Committee report;
f. Receive the Nominating Committee report;
g. and receive the Time & Place Report.

Once you registered for the 2020 Virtual 26th Biennial Business Session, you will receive an email with more information, including the materials you need to review before the meeting. Registration is now open.

If you have questions or need assistance email Brenda Rossy at brossy@disciples.org

2020-06-23T12:41:40-05:00Jun 23, 2020|Regional News|0 Comments

Which Story Will You Choose?

Dear Friends in Ministry,

Thank you for serving as a minister in the Region of Oklahoma! I am always grateful for your pastoral presence, your leadership, and your faithfulness especially in the last few months. I know you all are physically, mentally, and spiritually weary from all that you have had to do to transition to on-line worship. And yet, you are still hopeful, encouraging, and caring for your flock in amazing, creative ways. While I highly recommend some down time for rest and re-creation, I also realize this weekend is bringing another round of anxiety, especially in Tulsa.

The Presidential Rally is headed to Tulsa. Hundreds of thousands of people will be attending this Presidential Rally. My mind and heart cannot even fathom the timing of this event on Saturday, June 20th, for a couple of reasons. June 19th is the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Tulsa’s history includes one of the worst race massacres in history in 1921. I also am having a difficult time imagining all the people already arriving in Tulsa expecting to stay in hotels and eating. Yes, the economy will receive a boost with sales. Yes, the protests will be significant, extensive, and maybe tumultuous, despite all efforts to be peaceful. Unfortunately, the biggest attender of this event will be Covid-19.

The Digital Poor People’s Campaign is also on Saturday, June 20th. This campaign is a movement of tens of of thousands of people across our nation who will be participating safely from their own homes. This campaign seeks to end the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, militarism and the war economy, ecological devastation, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. The Poor People’s Campaign needs our presence, our voice of advocacy, and our dollars to make a difference in our fragmented world.

I do not wish to tell you what to choose because both are important each in their own way. But I do wish to share that my family and I are participating in the Poor People’s Campaign. I am participating in this campaign because I want to stand with and advocate FOR our most vulnerable neighbors, the millions of poor and low-income people, with my presence and my dollars. These people are blessed, they matter to me and my family, and I believe our voices matter more in this movement.

We are certainly in a holy and historical season of uncertainty, deep grief, and hope. I continue to pray mightily for each and every one of you, your families, your church members, your community, our Region. As we rise strong to follow a call to action for justice, may God’s love, peace, and grace continue to surround us and speak through our voices.

Peace & God’s Grace,

P.S. If you would like to participate in the June 20 Digital Poor People’s Campaign, here is a link for more information. The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington

2020-06-18T09:29:29-05:00Jun 18, 2020|Clergy News, Pam Holt Blog|0 Comments

Remembering Rev. Dr. Robert (Bob) Elliott

Former Associate Regional Minister Rev. Bob Elliott Passes Away

Rev. Dr. Robert (Bob) M. Elliott died on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. He was 96 years young! Bob was born March 31, 1924, in Independence, KS to Paul and Minnie Elliott. He graduated from Phillips University with a BA degree in 1946, received his Bachelor of Divinity from Phillips Seminary in 1952, and was granted an Honorary Doctorate by Phillips University in 1972.

He was ordained to the ministry at First Christian Church, Independence KS, in 1946. He served as Associate Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma for 33 years after serving churches in Indianapolis, IN, Okmulgee, OK and Enid ,OK.

After retirement, he served as President of The Interfaith Alliance and as Secretary of the United Nations Association, both in Oklahoma City. He established the Oklahoma Institute for Biblical Literacy Foundation in 2009, serving as its President in 2013.

His greatest legacy is his family: Harriette Folk Elliott, his beloved late wife of 68 years from Sand Springs OK; son Robert Michael (Mary) of Chickasha, OK; son Dennis Lee of Guthrie, OK; daughter Kay Elaine of Denver, CO; and son Brian Alan (Myrna) of Oklahoma City; grandchildren Jan Norwood, Samarea (Kevin) Webb, Nicholas (Gina) Elliott, Aaron (Felicia) Elliott, Meagan Elliott, Hannah Elliott and Kathryn Elliott; great grandchildren Kristofer Norwood, Seth (Macy) Norwood, Ethan Norwood, Casee Norwood, Tristan Norwood, April Webb, Ethan Elliott, Oliver Elliott, Uriah Elliott, Iris Elliott, Suhkna Sankhare, Evans Frassine, and Corbin Elliott; and great-great grandchildren Elizabeth, Remington and Rhyder Norwood. Additionally, he is survived by his brother, Gerald Elliott, of Fort Scott, KS.

Service arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) at this link or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

(In September 2015 he was honored as Elder Emeritus at Crown Heights Christian Church, Oklahoma City.)

2020-06-15T11:58:38-05:00Jun 15, 2020|Regional News|0 Comments

ODW Encounter 2020 is Cancelled but “Be Ready!”

Instead of Encounter this year, take that time for Encounter and use it to “Be Ready!” 

Yes, this means there will not be an Encounter 2020; yes, with heavy hearts we canceled Encounter. Encounter was destined to be a good one with Rev. Dr. Christal Williams, Regional Minister of Tennessee as our speaker. Coordinators Tara Dew and Sally Wheeler had already put in a lot of work for Encounter and we thank them for all the prep work they did.

Back to my first statement of “Be Ready!” When we are able to have Encounter again, make sure you are ready for all it has to offer: ready to be uplifted, ready to be transformed, and ready to be more connected.

How you prepare to “Be Ready” is up to you. I know some of you have extra time on your hands and others are busier than they have ever been. At the top of your list, please include prayer. Plan ways to be more spiritually connected whether it is to read scriptures and devotions, listen to scripture inspired music, or listen to all the on-line services that our churches have produced. Here is a link from our Regional website to worship online.

Encourage each other to find ways to keep yourselves positive and spiritually uplifted. Please post and periodically check our Oklahoma Disciples Women Facebook created by our VP of Reachout, Sally Wheeler. Also, check the Regional website for information okdisciples.org and the Regional eNewsletter Regional Roundup for Disciples Women news.

Prayers and Blessings,
Marilyn Bohlender, ODW President
580-483-5110

Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

2020-06-15T10:35:42-05:00Jun 15, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Call to Action

The Time is Now!

The College of Regional Ministers Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

June 11, 2020

Dear Members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada,

Psalm 89:46-7 “How long, O God, will you hide yourself from sight? … Remember that I shall not live forever.”

These last few weeks the Psalmist’s cry is heard in our land, “How long, O Lord?”

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the latest African American to die by police violence, the people of the United States, indeed the entire world, moan in grief and burn with anger. George Floyd’s name is added to a long list of unarmed Black and Brown people, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, who have died by actions taken by police officers or vigilantes in the past few decades and indeed centuries.

We are reminded that on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was arrested in New York City where a chokehold smothered him. Hauntingly similar to George Floyd, Garner was heard to be saying, “I can’t breathe” eleven times before losing consciousness and dying an hour later.

In 2015, the College of Regional Ministers wrote to you, the Church, about race and racism in America in the shadow of similar events, expressing our concerns and laying out a plan of action for our church to follow to move forward in our work of becoming an Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racist Church. We ask ourselves if our words made any difference, if anything has changed?

Because on May 25, 2020, as we heard George Floyd on an 8 minute 46 second video gasping “I can’t breathe” as a police officer kneeled on his neck, we know we must speak to you again with our hearts broken and our resolve strengthened.

This must stop. Black Lives Matter!

We Cry Out!

We, as your Regional Ministers, cry out with those who mourn, take to the streets with those who march, and support those who seek to make changes in our world so that every beloved child of God will have the chance to breathe freely, and together pursue justice, equity, and dignity throughout the land. And, in doing so, may we see the face of God.

Race is a created construct; an idea meant to oppress People of Color and give privilege to people of European descent. Race prejudice, combined with power, creates systems that dictate racist norms and practices. Racism is the force that cements those systems in place.

As people who follow Jesus, the One who sought out and empowered those pushed to the margins of power, we are called to confront the power of racism in our society. We are called to go to the roots of racism and dismantle its power to define, distort, and destroy all of us. While challenging these systems that have been in place for centuries is an enormous and daunting task, we are not without power to bring change to the core workings of this entrenched system.

In the Pentecost season, of all seasons, we know that the Holy Spirit can move in all people with fire and wind that wipe away obstacles of division and resistance to change. We believe in the Holy Spirit’s power to remake our shared life as the Beloved Community. In that belief we declare that there is much that we can do, and need to do, in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

As a start we commit to and urge all Disciples of Christ to pledge to:

  • Hear clearly the cries of our friends and neighbors who weep tears of lament and proclaim their anger at the same time that we all express our pain of racism to those in our circles of influence.
  • Participate in non-violent actions and conversations/studies/learning opportunities that support Black Lives Matter.
  • Hold ourselves and the systems, including police departments and other law enforcement agencies and judicial systems, accountable for the health and life of every person in their care.
  • Speak clearly with the law enforcement leadership in our communities making it known that we believe the killing of People of Color as we have seen in these instances must stop, and we expect them to put into place accountability structures that clearly reinforce the training/practice of their officers to this expectation.
  • Learn about community safety systems that offer alternatives to military like modalities for keeping communities safe, utilizing partnerships with other leadership functions in our communities.
  • Wrestle openly with what it means to have a community defined by shared justice instead of enforced compliance.
  • Study and learn the history of our states/provinces and communities and the relationships of the people that have lived in these areas historically and currently, so that we might understand our current community tensions in historical context.
  • Strengthen the Anti-Racism committees/teams and training networks in our regional churches and make these resources more readily available throughout our regions with training available in multiple languages and modalities.
  • When you consider a Bible study, what questions will you ask? Will you view the text from the dominant or oppressed cultures within the text? When you choose a book to read together, a topic for a sermon series, a way to decorate your worship space? Ask yourself to stretch beyond your own narrative and learn the story of someone different from yourself.
  • Learn how to see the world from a perspective other than your own rather than to justify what you already believe and look only for stories that support that perspective
  • Recommit to and vigorously promote the Reconciliation Offering which supports Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism work in our regions and throughout the entire Christian Church (Disciples Of Christ).

These actions are only a start. In the coming days we will be sharing more specific calls to action for individuals and communities of faith. Consider the healing balm that you can be as the Church by bringing the community together – healing the wounds that divide us, and being a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.

We, as your Regional Ministers, cry out with those who mourn, take to the streets with those who march, and support those who seek to make changes in our world so that every beloved child of God will have the chance to breathe freely, and together pursue justice, equity, and dignity throughout the land. And, in doing so, may we see the face of God.

May it be so.

The College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

2020-06-11T15:00:01-05:00Jun 11, 2020|Regional News|0 Comments

Oklahoma Convocation – 5th Sunday Worship & Fellowship: Watch the Replay

On Sunday, May 31, 2020, Oklahoma Convocation held their 5th Sunday Worship & Fellowship by Zoom. Hosted by Pastor Milton Bowens, President of Oklahoma Christian Missionary Fellowship, this particular Sunday evening gathering includes a panel discussion with Pastor Jesse Jackson, Pastor Dwayne Rodgers, Pastor Brenda Denson, and Guest Pastor Chris Moore, UCC.

Please watch this rich conversation on Faith and Race.

2020-06-10T10:31:58-05:00Jun 9, 2020|Regional News|0 Comments

Words From the ODW President: Be Moved and Share Rev. Terri Hord Owen’s Letter

Dear Disciples Women,

In the midst of dealing with Covid-19, there is news of an act not typical of the police officers that I know and it brings pain to my innermost being. I turn to the scriptures for consoling. Psalm 46:1 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

As individuals we see the progress in our own mindset and relationships; we also see the progress across our region from the invaluable Pro-Reconcilation Anti-racism (PRAR) training last year. These things are only a beginning to making the steps needed to alleviate the problems many face because of race.

Do not let the actions of those who resort to violent acts distract from those who desire change to be brought about by peaceful means. Realize there are many more who want an end to any cases of racism and hatred without violence using peaceful means. We know as Christians, racism and hatred is against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

As Disciples Women we celebrate our differences and bring our differences together to focus on one direction as reflected in our ODW mission statement based on Micah 6:8: “To be a conduit for diverse connections empowering each woman to find her voice and live out her call and to live out the teaching of Micah 6:8” (From IDWM) Micah 6:8 (NIV) He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Please read this letter from Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and if moved as I was, show her that Oklahoma is behind her. Please share. https://disciples.org/congregations/we-need-to-be-the-church-we-say-we-are/

She also has a Facebook with numerous moving posts including ‘We need to be the Church we say we are’ which I encourage you to read.

Stay focused on God and our Christian teaching. In spite of discouraging news, be uplifted in the fact that we know whose daughters we are.~

Prayers for peace,
Marilyn Bohlender ODW President

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2020-06-09T12:26:35-05:00Jun 8, 2020|Disciples Women|0 Comments

Faith & Giving: Stewardship Resources for a Time Such as This and Beyond

We have helpful stewardship resources available for you. On your behalf, the Region invested in the 2020 Faithful Hopeful Loving Annual stewardship materials and resources from the Center for Faith & Giving led by Rev. Bruce Barkhauer. Every minister serving a local congregation in Oklahoma now has access to these materials and resources which you will find in the link below. Please note: Rev. Dr. Lisa Davison contributed to this material!

While shepherding your flock in these days is of utmost importance, so is the continued need for stewardship and giving. In your new role as tele-pastor (which you all have mastered!), please remember the offering on Sunday mornings via on-line giving, electronic banking, or a regular paper check! If you do not have on-line giving, like Givelify, we will be happy to help you get that app in motion. The Center For Faith & Giving also provided a webinar resource.

Links to Resources & Webinars by the Center for Faith & Giving

Resources for Faithful Hopeful Loving Annual Campaign 

Webinar for Annual Campaigns in a Time of Crisis Featuring how to use Faithful Hopeful Loving resource materials.

Webinar “On To Support Our Ministry When We Can’t Pass the Plate”

This webinar is primarily about electronic giving, specifically about Givelify. Be advised that the first two minutes the audio did not work. No content was lost, but please advance to the video to 2:00 minutes.

2020-06-08T11:09:34-05:00Jun 3, 2020|Clergy News|0 Comments