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2022 Reconciliation Grant Recipients

The Faith in Action Commission of the Christian Church in Oklahoma announces the recipients of the 2022 Reconciliation Grants. These grants are supported by the contributions of Christian Churches (DOC) throughout Oklahoma who long for wholeness in our world. Recognizing that we live in a fragmented world, we work together through Reconciliation to bring harmony to the dissonance surrounding us. FIAC was pleased to see the expansion of programs bringing our churches together but also reaching out to ecumenical partners and growing programs to address systemic racism, discrimination, and poverty. 

In Enid Central Christian Church, Church of the Covenant, University Place Christian Church, and Iglesia Christiana El Shaddai joined together to provide an inclusive Vacation Bible School for children from varied backgrounds and cultures. They also provide a program to improve the relationship among all people served by the police and fire departments of the city. Lastly, working ecumenically they provide the Enid Welcome Table where all are invited to eat together and informally learn of other services that might be of help to them. Reconciliation grants provide funding for part of these programs as the communities of faith come together with other financial and in-kind donations and hours of direct hands-on service to bring wholeness to a fragmented world.

First Christian Church of Midwest City will use their Reconciliation grant, Christmas for Others working ecumenically with other faith-based groups reaching out to meet the needs of low-wealth people by providing hygiene kits, built according to age, sex, and where known, race. Gifts of toys such as dolls will be offered in different skin tones, and food baskets will be provided appropriate to a family’s culture.

Recognizing the power of music to deliver important messages, a grant is being awarded to First Christian Church, El Reno to help sponsor the premiere production of a one-act opera, No Justice, No Peace written by Oklahomans Chris Prather, Choir Director at First Christian in El Reno, Megan Prather, and Kenneth R. Woods. It deals with a family struggling to come to grips with the death of the mother and the life-changing results of police brutality. 

Education is a central part of Reconciliation. To that end, In the Spirit Christian Church of Tulsa, was awarded a grant to help support their Emerging Young Leaders Justice Cohort where the youth of the church learn about social justice and advocacy.

First Christian Church of Claremore received a grant to understand better the history of the USA’s indigenous people by touring and participating in the resources available at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City.

Yale Avenue Christian church was awarded a grant to provide a tutoring program for refugee children to help them adjust and thrive in school.

Finally, a grant was provided to Caminante, our Global Ministry partner, to help address racism issues that have grown from the masses of Haitians who fled to the Dominican Republic due to the various crisis in their homeland. 

Grant Recipients

First Christian Church Claremore
Project: First Americans Museum Learning Trip

First Christian Church El Reno
Project: No Justice, No Peace

Central Christian Church, University Place Christian Church, Iglesia Christiana El Shaddai, and Christian Church of the Covenant
Project: Enid Disciples Joint VBS

First Christian Church Midwest City
Project: Christmas for Others

In the Spirit Christian Church Tulsa
Project: Emerging Young Leaders Justice Cohort

Yale Ave. Christian Church Tulsa
Project: Tutoring Program for Refugee Children

Comm on Faith in Action
Project: Caminante

2022-05-09T13:33:14-05:00May 9, 2022|Faith in Action|0 Comments

2022 Reconciliation Grants

The Faith in Action Commission is calling all participants in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma to make this a year of reconciliation. Our identity Statement is “We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. We welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.”

There are many opportunities to build harmony,

  • Seek out another congregation to grow reconciliation with yours and plan events that would foster harmony. You could sing together or intercity churches could welcome rural churches and rural churches could introduce inter city residents to farms. 
  • Start a justice book club
  • Tour the Greenwood district in Tulsa and learn about the Tulsa Riots.
  • Take a field trip to the First Americans Museum.
  • Research and experiment with what others have used successfully to build reconciliation.

Many activities can be done at little cost, but if you need financial help with your plan the Reconciliation Grant process opens for applications on March 1.

Marilyn Knott, Chair

Commission for Faith in Action

Download Reconciliation Grant Packet

Kirkpatrick Conference
Visions of Wholeness: Systemic Racism, Antiracism, and “Reconciliation” in Our Shared History and Tradition

March 18-19. 2022

This academic conference, Visions of Wholeness: Systemic Racism, Antiracism, and “Reconciliation” in Our Shared History and Tradition will be held March 18-19, 2022, at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The conference is sponsored through Disciples of Christ Historical Society’s Kirkpatrick Lecture Endowment.

The registration fee for the day and a half event is $70, which includes three meals. Register for in-person or livestream attendance.

Click here to learn more.

The Commission for Faith in Action has set aside reconciliation dollars to scholarship Oklahoma Disciples clergy that need financial support to attend this event.  Contact Rev. Pamela Holt or Rev. Michael Davison for more information.

Reconciliation-logo_color
2022-02-07T11:43:49-06:00Feb 7, 2022|Faith in Action|Comments Off on 2022 Reconciliation Grants

Silent Night, Holy Night

Images from congregations that streamed Christmas Eve worship.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Howard Thurman. “The Work of Christmas.” The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations, Friends United Press, 1985

2022-01-10T13:40:05-06:00Jan 10, 2022|Congregations|Comments Off on Silent Night, Holy Night

Imagine God’s Love Revealed

We imagine God’s love revealed when Jesus called disciples to follow him
And we imagine God’s love revealed when our Region nurtures persons for ministry preparing them for ordination and commissioning.

We imagine God’s love revealed when Jesus drew his disciples into retreat
And we imagine God’s love revealed when our Region gathers children, youth, and adults in summer camps.

We imagine God’s love revealed when the Apostle Paul cared for congregations and helped them find their leaders
And we imagine God’s love revealed when our Region provides care for our pastors, encouragement to lay leaders, and support in transitions.

We imagine God’s love revealed when the early church found ways to break down racial, political, and economic barriers to form true community
And we imagine God’s love revealed when our Region assists pastors and congregations to honestly confront racism in our own time.

We imagine God’s love revealed when a young couple in Bethlehem, overwhelmed by God’s love, gave birth to one in whom they could see God’s face
And we imagine God’s love revealed when we see the face of God in our neighbor, the stranger, and the refugee.

We invite you to share your gift to the Christmas offering supporting the ministries of our Region as we continue our witness to God’s love in our midst.

The Christmas Offering is received December 12 & 19

2021-12-13T11:54:11-06:00Dec 11, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on Imagine God’s Love Revealed

the Spirit of Christmas

the Spirit of Christmas

Ray Charles sang about it.

Someone you follow on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, a Blogger, or your social media of choice is probably influencing about it.There is a personalized Ad waiting to popup in your feed to sell you something to help you experience it.

Jacob Marley tried to warn Ebenezer Scrooge about living it.

And Charlie Brown just wants someone to tell him what “Christmas is all about.”

Linus tells a bit of the spotlight Christian Christmas story about a savior, who is Christ the Lord. Remember, the shepherds returned to the field praising God for all they had heard and seen as it had been told to them.  The story doesn’t say what the shepherds did the next day.

Is that the same thing as the Spirit of Christmas?  I know it is hard to ponder in your heart, but in a pluralistic world the Spirit of Christmas may mean a little bit more.

Is it what Linus, Lucy, and the others do for Charlie Brown, and a twinkling star that lifts voices?

All the Whos in Whoville gather and sing:

“Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Welcome Christmas where we stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand.”

How will you tell someone what the spirit of Christmas is?

If that seems hard to do maybe you can be a sign of the spirit of Christmas this year.

Happy Advent!

2021-12-02T11:06:14-06:00Dec 2, 2021|Michael Davison Blog|Comments Off on the Spirit of Christmas

RYC Advent Devotional

Members of the Regional Youth Council were asked to consider what the traditional themes of Advent (hope, peace, joy, and love) can mean in times like these.   This Advent devotion is divided into weeks and members of RYC, with some guest writers, offer you an opportunity to journey with them through Advent.

Week 1: In times like these what are you hoping for? How are you being Hope for others?

Week 2: In times like these what peace have you experienced? What Peace can you offer?

Week 3: In times like these what brings you joy? How can you offer Joy?

Week 4: In times like these how or when have you experience love? How are you offering Love?

Christmastide: In times like these how will you embody the spirit of Christmas? 

CLICK HERE to visit our dropbox and download the ebook in PDF format.

2021-11-22T18:44:25-06:00Nov 22, 2021|Youth|Comments Off on RYC Advent Devotional

Appreciative Inquiry

appreciation (noun)

a feeling of being grateful for something;

an ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something;

full awareness or understanding of something.

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/appreciation, accessed September 29, 2021)

Has the pandemic made appreciation easier or harder for you?

appreciate (verb)

to understand the worth or importance of;

to admire and value;

to be grateful for;

used to make a polite request.

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/appreciation, accessed September 29, 2021)

Has the pandemic made it easier or harder for you to appreciate?

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recognizes October as Minister Appreciation Month.  Specifically, October 10th, is the Sunday that many congregations will recognize their minister(s). In the next couple of weeks, pause for thirty minutes to write a note to a minister(s) that expresses your appreciation for their walk alongside you in faith.  It doesn’t have to be lengthy.

Jesus often went away from the crowds to recharge his spiritual batteries for his life in ministry.  Your note of appreciation might be that recharge moment your minister needs.  Remember, the ministers among us have prayed for, modeled faithfulness, and led struggling people, struggling congregations, and struggling institutions through this pandemic while having their own professional and personal struggles.

Some of these struggles I share.  Some I appreciate.

2021-10-01T12:11:08-05:00Oct 1, 2021|Michael Davison Blog|Comments Off on Appreciative Inquiry

What more can we do?

“Everybody has a story that will break your heart.  And if you’re paying close enough attention, most people have a story that will bring you to your knees.”  Brene Brown (The Summer Sister Series on The Gifts of Imperfection, Part 1 of 6, June 23, 2021)

There are many of us who have stories that will break our hearts. In the last month we have seen stories on climate change, wild fires, Afghanistan, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, COVID-19.  If we are paying close enough attention, these stories will bring us to our knees. Our prayers are necessary for our heart and soul as we pray, sometimes with no words, for comfort and care as well as hope to pour forth on those who are hurting and suffering.

What more can we do?  We can use our gifts and our resources in several ways to help bring comfort, care, and hope to our siblings near and far.  Week of Compassion is working endless hours around the world.  You care by reading about their work on our behalf below and you bring comfort and hope by offering a donation before you leave the website.  Creating Church World Service Emergency Clean-up Buckets (or Health Kits) is a way for your community to have a hands-on, working together opportunity to bring comfort, care, and hope upon delivery to people in disaster areas.  The COVID-19 vaccination is also a wonderful way for us to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and all our children, from this highly contagious virus that has become unpredictable for our health and the world’s health and well-being.  Our prayers and our work together will certainly bring healing and wholeness to this broken and fragmented world in ways that we cannot yet see, but is promised through Jesus Christ.  Let’s be disciples of Christ . . .

Hurricane and Flooding Damage

Welcoming Afghanistan refugee families

Relief efforts needed for Haiti earthquake

2021-09-14T11:03:08-05:00Sep 14, 2021|Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on What more can we do?

Are You Protected?

In the last month, our Region has become aware of congregations who called non-Disciples pastors who have unfortunately taken steps to lead the long time Disciples congregation out of the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  This is not a new phenomenon.   It happens in many of our Regions and not just with Disciples of Christ congregations.  To help us be aware and to help Regions navigate these moments, Sheldon Culver and John Dorhauer published Steeplejacking:  How the Christian Right is Hijacking Mainstream Religion, Brooklyn, NY:  Ig Publishing, 2007.  This book outlines the history of steeplejacking, eye-opening examples of takeovers.  Two of the most common ways this happens come from (a) families who have been long time members of the congregation who become a part of a conspiracy to destroy their church or (b) by calling a non-Disciples minister.

This is not a time for anyone to panic.  However, it is time for all of our 136 Disciples congregations in Oklahoma to do some housekeeping to insure your congregation is as protected from a takeover as it can be.

The most important strategy for congregations and clergy is to be informed and aware of the dynamics steeplejacking movement.   Because your Regional staff cannot come to every congregation, we are encouraging you to  purchase the book and do a book study with the leadership of the congregation.

A second important strategy is to spend some time reviewing our Disciples Identity and the Design.  What does it mean to be Disciples of Christ, how can we renew our Covenant together, and how can we strengthen our connection to our sibling congregations?

A third important strategy is to review the Constitution and Bylaws and the Deed to the church property.  Does the Constitution and/or Bylaws have a “reversionary clause”?  Does the Deed to the church property have a “reversionary clause”?   A Reversionary Clause includes these words:  If or when the congregation ceases to be a Disciples of Christ worshiping community, the property and all assets will revert to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma.  While these are not fail safe protective measures, it does eliminate some vulnerability and will help the congregational leadership and the Region better protect the congregation if and/or when this issue appears in your congregation.

Steeplejacking or takeovers of congregations are painful and hurtful to the soul of the faith community.  If we can take some simple steps as outlined above, we will continue to be disciples of Christ together continuing to bring the love of Jesus Christ and the healing and wholeness of Jesus Christ to our communities.

2021-09-14T06:20:41-05:00Sep 14, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on Are You Protected?

What’s Your Passion?

What’s your passion? How many times we are asked what are your hobbies, what do you like to do, or what are your interests? The answers vary greatly from quilting or cooking to reading. Some of us love animals, plants, music or walking. Whatever our passion we often like to talk about it.

This brings me to another passion which is the passion of Christ for us. How do we talk about that passion? We find it easy to talk about our favorite hobby but may find it difficult to put into words our faith even though it is something that is so important to us. Let me introduce a story of an unusual flower being used long ago by missionaries to explain the story of Christ, hence the name Passion Flower.
(Story source)

“When the Spanish and Portuguese missionaries came to the Americas in the 16th century, they used the Passion Flower as a symbolic way to teach about the story of Jesus Christ.

The 10 petals represent Jesus’ Faithful Apostles
The five “anthers” are symbolic of the five Sacred Wounds Jesus suffered
The circle of filaments in the center of the flower represent the Crown of Thorns.
The three purple stigma represent the 3 nails holding Jesus to the cross.

The month of August is a time when the Passion Flower normally blooms. Once on a walk on a quiet country road, I found one. It was exciting to find the unusual looking flower. This made me realize stories spoken from the heart of your faith also can be exciting for the recipient. I pray God gives you words to convey this passion.

~Prayers and Blessings
Marilyn Bohlender ODW President

2021-09-13T14:25:27-05:00Sep 13, 2021|Disciples Women|Comments Off on What’s Your Passion?