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So far Michael Davison has created 126 blog entries.

Weekend Breakfast Program at Southern Hills CC

“Volunteers work 35 hrs each week.”
by Mary Hirsch

What a year!  With all the misery of 2020, I want to share a shining light of life from the Southern Hills Christian Church (Edmond) Weekend Breakfast program.  These ladies and gentlemen never “closed”!  Before the pandemic began, diners came inside to eat at tables with centerpieces and church members served their breakfasts and sat and visited with those who wanted the company. When the pandemic hit, alternate ways to serve breakfast had to be found so this group just bagged the breakfasts (and lunch and dinner sandwiches) and met people outside to share the food.  Everyone is longing for a return to those pre-pandemic days!

Church member Georgia Shaw spearheads this program which she started in September 2018.  She requested permission from the Leadership Council,   donations from our members, and was off.   In addition to Georgia’s leadership, volunteers work 35 hours each week purchasing food and supplies, and preparing, serving and cleaning up for Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts.   We are averaging about 35 guests each day and have had as many as 51!

We are so thankful to our friends and members who have made generous donations to the program.  We also feel fortunate to have received several grants from the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation to help in the purchase of a commercial size refrigerator and freezer and to replace the church’s 40 year old dishwashers! 

L-R: Kate Christie, Carolyn Christie (seated), Kay Ferris, Georgia Shaw, Pat Fennell

2021-01-11T14:04:18-06:00Jan 11, 2021|Congregations|0 Comments

Congregations Foster Feet

Foster Feet, a ministry of Central Christian Church in  Enid, recently donated 63 pairs shoes and socks  to First Christian Church Midwest City to support  their “Christmas for Others” program. Every Christmas, for the past 50 years, “Christmas for Others” has provided clothing, shoes and other necessities to families in the Midwest City area. This year, they will serve 60 families with over 200 family members. In 2020, Foster Feet will have provided over 900 new pair of shoes primarily to children ages 4 to 17 in Garfield as well as several other counties in Oklahoma.

In 2020, the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation provided grants to both of these churches for these ministries. This is a good example of how Disciples of Christ churches in Oklahoma, with the help of the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation and the Christian Church in Oklahoma, make a difference by working together.

2020-12-07T14:09:16-06:00Dec 7, 2020|Congregations, Mission|1 Comment

A Christmas Letter from Marilyn Bohlender, Oklahoma Disciples Women

Sometimes a Christmas letter tells of important events in a individual’s or family’s life over the past year. Often, there will be sentiments for a joyous Christmas and a blessed year to follow. It would end with expressions we need to see of love, comfort and peace.

It has been about a month since I submitted a yearly report on Oklahoma Disciples Women . One of the aspects not stressed enough in the report was how busy some of our women were because of Covid-19. Many became the makers of masks. Some women were extremely isolated while others had their children or grandchildren at home.  Simple activities such as a grocery store trip became difficult with shortages of certain items and extra precautions taken to maintain as much safety as possible. Some women became the shoppers for others. We adjusted to many changes from doctor appointments to not gathering in person.

In spite of all the challenges, we persevered. We made phone calls, wrote letters, and sent cards. Some learned new technology. We had drive-by parades to celebrate graduations and birthdays. Our many churches that were able to go online reached an even bigger audience. We became creative and even when we open, we will have new ideas to keep and use to carry out our ministries.

As Christmas approaches, I feel compelled to attempt to uplift those of you that may not be able to have the usual Christmas traditions. I have experienced Christmas holidays isolated and discovered it is what you make of it. Plan activities for yourself. It may be a few simple lights and decorations that you especially enjoy while listening to Christmas music. Plan times for phone calls so you will still have the opportunities to visit with others. Write letters or send cards to others who need uplifting like nurses, to those who might be isolated, and to others who might be away from family such as soldiers.

Be proactive and be determined to be creative on what you can make out of the situation. I continue to stress scripture reading, devotions, praise songs, and most of all prayer.

I anticipate that God will be moving even more in 2021 and hope you include this thought of “increase” in your prayers.

Prayers and Blessings,
Marilyn Bohlender
ODW President

Advent Moments

Think back through the last couple of days.  Watch with your mind’s eye.

Rewind the tape all the way back to getting out of bed.

Remember . . .

Your morning routine;
school or work or waiting;
The places you’ve been;
The things you saw;
The people you talked to;
and then;
home, dinner, what you watched or read;
Your evening routine and to bed.

Look back and find that moment when you experienced hope.
Bring that moment to the front of your mind.
Who is there? What does it sound or smell like?
Stay in the moment for a few minutes.

Look back and find that moment when you experienced peace.
Bring that moment to the front of your mind.
Who is there? What does it sound or smell like?
Stay in the moment for a few minutes.

Look back and find that moment when you experienced joy.
Bring that moment to the front of your mind.
Who is there? What does it sound or smell like?
Stay in the moment for a few minutes.

Look back and find that moment when you experienced love.
Bring that moment to the front of your mind.
Who is there? What does it sound or smell like?
Stay in the moment for a few minutes.

Pandemic time has stretched moments into a pace that makes me uncomfortable or out of control.

Pandemic time: moments to grieve, moments to savor, and moments to examen.

This Advent there is anticipation of life as we knew it before.
Is that what Advent is really all about?

Who can say if Advent will change me for the better.
Maybe, it is being changed by the moments for good.

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
(A quote from Ferris in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” John Hughes (Paramount Pictures) 1986)

2020-12-07T09:31:35-06:00Dec 7, 2020|Michael Davison Blog|0 Comments

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|Comments Off on Infographic of COVID-19 Congregational Impact

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|Comments Off on Who gets to decide what is “right?”

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|Comments Off on Next DRYG: October 28

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|Comments Off on Virtual Regional Assembly Replay

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