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So far Michael Davison has created 122 blog entries.

Infographic of COVID-19 Congregational Impact

Infographic of COVID-19 Congregational Impact Survey by Pension Fund

In September and October of 2020, the Pension Fund did a survey of congregations they serve across the country concerning COVID and its impact on the congregation and the community.  There were eight hundred and eight completed surveys.  Here is the infographic of the final survey results which you might find interesting.

Click here to download a pdf document of the infographic.

2020-11-17T08:57:40-06:00Nov 17, 2020|Clergy News, Congregations|0 Comments

Who gets to decide what is “right?”

Forward motion is possible if we can extend the sentence to, “That’s not what I meant, but that must be what you heard, how do we fix this? Will you help me make things right again?”

[Seth Godin, “That’s not what I meant.” October 22, 2020]


The question is, “What does ‘right’ mean given the situation?”

Do you remember a specific part of a single day like it happened yesterday?  I don’t remember much about the day my father drove me to TCU for the first time to move into the dorm.  But, I do remember this: after putting the last of my stuff into the backseat I went back into the house to say goodbye to my mother.  My dad was in the kitchen with her.  Mom hugged me and then pushed me back to arms length and looked me in the eyes.  “We’ve raised you to know the difference between right and wrong.  We raised you to think before you act. We know you are going to make mistakes.  We know you are not going to embarrass us.  Go live your life and call us if you think we can help.”  In the car my father said, “Ready to go.”  “Yes sir.” I responded. That was all we said the first 30 minutes of the 90 minute trip to TCU.

The systems that we participate in every day often limit our choices to do what is right because it is right.  Look at the labels in your clothing.  Then do an Internet search about where those clothes are made.  You are going to find out that much of what you are wearing is made in a country where people are paid poorly, by our standards and theirs, and it is possible that child labor was used to make your clothes.  The same is true with the little computers we call smart phones.  But, that is still our responsibility.  I could choose to pay more for something else.

Most often we do what is right because we are afraid of the consequences that will come from breaking the communal rules set out to ensure we balance our individualism with the common good for community.  I prefer guidelines to rules, because guidelines provide the necessary boundaries for community, and rules, well some rules need to be broken.  But, that’s a topic for another day.

Every now and then, the communal rules get questioned.  They are put through a wash and rinse cycle, and new rules emerge based on historical lessons, clearer facts, better data, and lived experience.  The common good for all of us gets redefined to include more of us.  Sometimes that means some of us give up privileges that are real, or simply imagined, because of where we were born or into what circumstance we were born.  The Constitution of these United States begins, “In order to form a more perfect Union” and goes on to detail the actions taken by men seeking a freedom not experienced in another place and time.  These deists, many of them, embodied the moral compass of their time based on their education and their culture. They were doing the best they could with the most current information they had while thinking about the future.  Can the same be said of our citizens today and those that govern?

Followers of Jesus are supposed to be “Greatest Commandment” people.  Aren’t we?  A secular Nation might call us to be “Golden Rule” people beyond our places of worship, which should not be a heavy lift for Christians.  Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the ability to be shamed to do the right thing (a great Spike Lee movie).  Shame is not the greatest motivator, but Jesus used it at least once, “If you are without sin, cast the first stone.”

Who gets to define what is “right?”  How does my definition exclude you or include you?  This year, more than most, my mother’s voice echoes, “You’ve been taught to know the difference between right and wrong.”  I’ve got so many lessons ahead of me.

2020-11-02T10:59:08-06:00Nov 2, 2020|Michael Davison Blog|0 Comments

Next DRYG: October 28

Reconnect with God

Digital Regional Youth Group began last month (Sept 23rd) as five congregations met up with Regional Youth Council members.  The fall theme, Reconnect with God, invites Chi Rho, CYF, and their adult sponsors to consider the ways they are actively meeting God through spiritual practices, music, service, and community.  We had 24 participants in September.  Let’s make it 45 or more this month.

There is time to chat, a game or two, and time with the speaker.  There is a short closing worship.  Join DRYG this month!

Digital Regional Youth Group

6:30pm – 8pm

October 28: Music

November 18: Service

December 16: Community

Youth Leaders Email Rev. Michael Davison to RSVP to receive the link for DRYG.

2020-10-06T11:57:02-05:00Oct 6, 2020|Congregations, Youth|0 Comments

Virtual Regional Assembly Replay

Rev. April Johnson and Rev. Dr. Nancy Pittman offered insight and challenge to all that participated in our Virtual Regional Assembly.

Oklahoma Disciples gathered on Sept 26 for our Virtual Regional Assembly from 9am-1pm.  During VRA, there were 225 unique connections to the event.  Voting delegates, clergy, and Regional Board members participated through the VRA Zoom and the event was streaming live to the Region’s Youtube channel.

Our Regional Minister, Rev. Pamela Holt’s reflection about the State of the Regional Church focused on what has happened since Covid-19 changed the ways congregational ministry and regional ministry live and love like Jesus.

You can replay all of VRA or portions of Virtual Regional Assembly using the links for the Region’s Youtube and Vimeo channels.

We Give Thanks

It takes many, many people to produce Regional Assembly (virtual or in person) and we pause to offer our thanks for their work.

Rev. Colton Lott who worked with the original Leadership Training School team to organize the workshops and made arrangements with our VRA Bible Lecturer, Rev. April Johnson.

Rev. Joshua Bell who planned and organized the VRA Worship service.  Rev. Bell collaborated with all those that led worship during VRA and created the Lord’s Prayer chorus of voices for worship.

Rev. Tom Stanley served as our Regional Moderator.  Tom worked with our Regional Minister, Rev. Pamela Holt, and the Regional Board to make the decisions and changes necessary to hold Virtual Regional Assembly.

Jacque Bass as she begins her service as the Regional Moderator.

Ms. Ellen Beer Spleth, Executive Assistant, who prepared all the documents for VRA, managed the VRA webpage, sent many emails, made calls, and kept us on schedule.

We give thanks to the Tech Team that made VRA possible:
Top Left: Chuck Marshall (Southern Hills Christian Church)
Top Right: Jeff Champeau (First Christian Church Norman)
Bottom Right: Rev. Michael Davison, Associate Regional Minister
Not pictured: Travis Carlson (First Christian Church Chickasha)

2020-10-07T11:00:56-05:00Oct 6, 2020|Congregations|0 Comments

Sept 23: Digital Regional Youth Group Begins

Digital Regional Youth Group Logo

Like all our congregations and clergy, the Regional Youth Council is improvising and adapting to offer opportunities for the Region’s youth groups to play, pray, worship, study, and serve.  This fall, RYC is offering four digital youth group gatherings for Chi Rho and CYF on the theme, Reconnect with God.

These monthly gatherings will last 90 minutes and meet via Zoom.  To maintain the security of our meetings we ask youth group leaders will need to register.  Email Michael Davison for more information.

DRYG (Digital Regional Youth Group) kicks off Sept 23rd, with the focus on spiritual practice to reconnect with God.  Our Guests are: Rev. Nancy Brink and Andra Moran.

DRYG is planned and led by the Regional Youth Council.

Q: How do I get my group to DRYG (digital regional youth group)?

A: To access DRYG youth group leaders need to email Rev. Michael Davison who will send them connection information to share with their group(s).

Upcoming Dates & Theme

October 28: Music
November 18: Service
December 16: Community

Schedule for DRYG

6:25pm: Digital Room Opens
6:30: The Fun Begins!
7:55: Preview Next Month
8:00: We bid you goodnight

Rev. Nancy Brink
Rev. Nancy BrinkGuest Speaker
Rev. Nancy E. Brink, the Donna (Ford) and Fahmy Attallah Endowed Director of Church Relations at Chapman University.

Rev. Brink will talk about centering prayer and offer other practices youth might explore. 

Andra Moran
Andra MoranMusical Guest
Andra Moran lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she works as a songwriter, singer, author, worship designer and freelance touring musician in a variety of ecumenical settings. In addition to her work in concert and commissioned music, Andra is a consultant in worship design, modern liturgical music and leadership in churches and denominational conferences across the country. She is regularly engaged as a clinician and workshop leader, teaching songwriting and creative expression in colleges and retreat centers. Currently, Andra tours and writes full time, and works part time on the staff of Woodmont Christian Church in Nashville as the Creative Director and worship pastor. She has a four year old daughter named after the heirloom lilies in that bloom in her garden.
2020-09-10T07:20:04-05:00Sep 10, 2020|Congregations, Youth|Comments Off on Sept 23: Digital Regional Youth Group Begins

Choices

Each day we all have choices.

Some of us have more choice than others because of the randomness of birth and the systems that govern our society. What will we do with our choices?  Are your emotions driving or informing your choices?  Do you need more of Mr. Spock’s logic to help you balance your choices?

Yoda tells the wisdom of the cosmos: “Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”

We’ve seen this happen.

We are seeing this happen.

It may have happened to you.

Which emotion is ordering your life right now and how does that effect how you interact with your neighbors?

Which emotion is ordering your life right now and how does that effect how you interact with the systems that govern our society?

Which emotion is ordering your life right now and how does that effect your discipleship following Jesus?  That pesky peasant teacher from Galilee reminds us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.

That’s always prophetic.

—-
Note
1) If you have not seen the movie, Inside Out (2015), I recommend it.  It is family friendly for grades 6 and older which would provide for some discussion about feelings and memory.
2) I suggest Seth Godin’s blog on “Choices” for another perspective.

2020-07-01T16:08:57-05:00Jul 1, 2020|Michael Davison Blog|Comments Off on Choices

Time for Virtual Vacation Bible School

The Region is excited to announce our Virtual VBS Program is available to use.  Based on the summer camp curriculum, This Is Our Prayer, Virtual VBS uses videos to lead you through four days of self-guided learning activities that are intergenerational.  You decide when to do VBS from home.  Maybe your congregation wants to do the activities together using video conferencing technology?  Maybe your congregation wants to use Virtual VBS together, socially distanced, in your building or outdoors?

Each day includes:

  • An Opening Thought

  • Singing

  • Bible Story for the Day

  • Craft Projects

  • A Way to Serve

  • STEM and a Game

  • Prayer Practice and Closing

All the items you need for the crafts are listed in downloadable PDF format including the words to the songs to sing along.  Items you need for other activities are included in the videos.

Virtual VBS will be on our website through August 15th.

Click Here to Register!

Thank You Virtual VBS Team

  • Rev. Darlene Martinez

  • Ashley Pease

  • Rev. Julia Jordan Gillett

  • Chris Fourcade

  • Rev. Sarah Combs

  • Ellen Beer (website design and support)

2020-06-24T12:01:12-05:00Jun 24, 2020|Congregations, Youth|Comments Off on Time for Virtual Vacation Bible School

Virtual Vacation Bible School

Covid-19 (coronavirus) has changed the ways we participate in congregational life and the things congregations offer during the summer.  Vacation Bible School is a summer tradition for many congregations and it has a long, rich history as a part of our denomination’s outreach ministry.   The Region asked a group to create an intergenerational VBS that can be done at home.  This self-guided VBS is designed for families to do together.  Congregations may want to use video conferencing for some or all of the activities to do together as another way of connecting their members.

Virtual VBS is a four day program that is designed to last a couple of hours each day.  A short registration form is required to access the VBS.  Registration opens June 18th and Virtual VBS will publish on June 22.

We give thanks for the talents, gifts, and dedication of the Virtual VBS Team, and offer our thanks to their congregations for gifting their time to this project.

Watch the short video to meet the team: Rev. Darlene Martinez, Rev. Julia Jordan-Gillett, Chris Fourcade, and Rev. Sarah Combs

2020-06-12T09:24:43-05:00Jun 12, 2020|Congregations, Youth|Comments Off on Virtual Vacation Bible School

(June 5, 2020) Camp Bytes goes live next week.

Working with our volunteer Camp Directors and Counselors, the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults has reimagined our summer camp program as our Nation, and the world, lives through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chi Rho Camp Bytes (June 9-11) kick off the camp season.  Each day between 10am and 12pm, counselors and campers will gather for an online camp that will have a live element.  Campers must be registered to enter camp and, just like our physically in person program, we cannot accept same day registration for any of our digital camps.  Similarly, Camp Bytes for Junior campers, CYF campers, and Discovery campers will be offered.   Visit the Families & Youth section of our website to learn more and register today.

Just like our physically in person camp program, each day of digital camp will include: play, prayer, study, worship, and service.

We are excited to announce that campers who registered between February 1 and May 2 for traditional summer camp will receive a Camp Bytes t-shirt in the mail this summer!  Yes, if you listed a t-shirt size in your registration for traditional summer camp, the Region will send you a camp shirt FREE.  We are able to provide Camp Bytes and the t-shirt through the generous gifts by donors like you to the Region’s Camp & Conference Resource Endowment Fund throughout the years.  This fund is managed by the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation.

You didn’t register for traditional camp, but want a shirt?  No worries.  You can purchase a summer camp shirt through an online store later this month, and that purchase will support the Region’s program ministries for children and youth which includes summer camp.  Maybe you don’t want a shirt, but still want to support our program ministries for children and youth.  Thank you!  Visit our Givelify page to make a contribution today and select children and youth ministry.  Yes, you could also mail a check to the Region.  If you have other questions, please contact Rev. Michael Davison, Associate Regional Minister.

Yes, Camp Bytes is a bit more screen time this summer, but it will connect you to campers across our Region who want to connect with you.  So, don’t wait!  Time is running out to register for Chi Rho Camp Bytes.  Registration for Chi Rho closes at 3pm, this Sunday, June 7.

  • Chi Rho Camp Bytes (Jun 9-11) 10am-12pm
  • Junior Camp Bytes (June 16-18) 12pm-2pm – Registration Closes June 13
  • CYF Camp Bytes (June 23-25) 9:30am-12pm – Registration Closes June 20
  • Discovery Camp Bytes (July date TBA)
2020-06-05T08:39:11-05:00Jun 5, 2020|Congregations, Youth|Comments Off on