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Reconciliation Ministry: Challenging for All of Us

Our special offering will be taken on September 26, 2021, and October 3, 2021.  Your advocacy and financial support are much appreciated. 50% of your gift to Reconciliation Ministry returns to the Region to support grants, education, and our reconciling ministry.

Resources

A Parallel Journey
Disciples Peace Interns Launch a “Parallel Journey” Anti-Racism Bible Study Resource in Collaboration with Reconciliation Ministry

21 Days of Prayer

Books Published by Chalice Press

Reconciliation Ministry Website

In 1996, the Reconciliation Ministry’s initiative was conceived based on a vision for the church as a place “where brothers and sisters of all races, languages, and cultures will grow towards God’s glorious realm, where all have a place at the table, and none shall be turned away.”

Yet here we are 25 years later, experiencing the rise of white nationalism where the color of one’s skin defines who one is and how one is to be treated.  In addition, we seem to have lost the skill to love our neighbor as ourselves by deeming our right to expose ourselves and others to the COVID virus as more important than life itself.

After hearing such news, I recently found myself thinking back to Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. It is a short work starting with the description of his personal experience as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The book is well worth the read. Frankl observed that Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. The same truth applies to women. How am I responding to the realities of our world, and what responsibilities am I taking to address the patterns in our society that are taking us down paths that are not in keeping with the one I have chosen following Christ’s teachings and example?  What are we doing collectively as Christ’s followers to work toward a world ruled by love?

I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. –Viktor Frankl

The last Sunday in September and the first Sunday in October are designated as dates in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to take a special offering to support the Reconciliation Ministry. I encourage your congregation to follow this practice. More importantly, I challenge each of us individually and all of us within our fellowship of faith to assess our communities for opportunities to meet the vision of the Reconciliation Ministry quoted above. That may call you to share a meal with other communions of diverse backgrounds in your area to increase understanding. Your group may want to tutor children at the local schools who slipped behind when resources were lacking during COVID. You may already be initiating such actions or doing even more creative work to provide reconciliation. We would love for you to share them with us.  Send your stories/pictures/videos to [Michael where shall they send them]. We will share them on the Faith in Action web page. In the spring we will open an opportunity for any Disciples congregation interested to apply for grants in support of Reconciliation work provided through the proceeds of the Reconciliation Offering.

Yours in Christ,

Marilynn Knott, Chair
Faith in Action Commission

2021-09-09T09:13:25-05:00Sep 9, 2021|Faith in Action|Comments Off on Reconciliation Ministry: Challenging for All of Us

Disciples Were Virtual And Together

Nothing Can Separate Us

Was it a different Disciples gathering?  Yes.  It was the visible markers of a General Assembly: exhibit hall, bible study, workshops, and worship in digital presence. There was even the exhibit hall scavenger hunt.

Was it a different Disciples gathering?  Yes.  But, occasional tech issues, screens, slow internet, typing chats, video chats, and home communion cannot, has not, kept the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in local congregations, 31 Regions, or the General Church from the work of ministry that God has given us.  That was evident as the Disciples Virtual Gathering moved through the day on August 7th.  Like Regions and congregations have done, our General Ministries have discovered new ways to do their work on our behalf and tell the stories of their work.

It is hard to know how many Oklahoma Disciples participated in the Disciples Virtual Gathering.  We hope to get news of participation in the coming month.  A chat box served as lobby space where you could scroll through name after name to chat with individuals or drop a “hello from . . .” to the entire gathering.  A photo booth for a selfie put faces to names.  There were more workshops than one could attend.  Fortunately, those who paid to attend Disciples Virtual Gathering will be able to replay the recordings which is not something that has been offered, except for worship, at previous General Assemblies.

We offer our thanks to the dreamers and planners who created the gathering out of digital code, organized speakers, and managed the technology during the day.  We give thanks for the workshop (webinar) leaders. We give thanks for the office staff and leaders of our General Ministries.

In her sermon, Rev. Terri Hord Owens reminded us: “Church – Disciples – we don’t need a new identity. We just need to be the church we say we are.”

We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.

That kind of church is needed in digital and physically spaces.  That kind of church hasn’t been distant when responding to natural and human made tragedy here in Oklahoma and around the world.  We are masked when necessary to protect community, but not sanitized to suffering that our action can ease or stop.  It just takes a willingness to recognize our neighbor.  “What are we willing to do to participate in intentional Christian community?”  That is what the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults asked and used as a compass when designing the health protocols that would allow the Region to offer summer camp this year.  It is a good question for your congregation, and the Region, to consider however long it takes for this pandemic to mutate from health catastrophe to health nuisance.

Be the church you say you are.  Be a blessing Disciples.

2021-08-10T09:00:10-05:00Aug 10, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on Disciples Were Virtual And Together

Problems worth dancing with

Progress is a trade

It’s easy to imagine that over there, just a few steps ahead, our problems will disappear.

Pessimists, of course, are sure that instead of disappearing, tomorrow will make things worse.

The truth is pretty simple: All we do, all we ever do, is trade one set of problems for another.

Problems are a feature. They’re the opportunity to see how we can productively move forward. Not to a world with no problems at all, but to a situation with different problems, ones that are worth dancing with.[Seth Godin, July 28, 2021]

In my sermons this past four months I’ve noted that some of us are thinking about “getting back to normal” or “back to before.”  Maybe “before” wasn’t nearly as good as we think it was or as meaningful as “right now” is or tomorrow might be.  I don’t consider myself an optimist. Some might call me a pessimist.  I think I’m a realists, but let’s quibble over labels another day.

Covid-19 forced most of us into situations we never wanted to be in, and decisions we never wanted to make.  It presented us (me) with opportunities to reflect on how I am living.  Where did I spend my time and to what or whom did I give my attention.  Was that good for me? Was that good for my family, friends, and my following Jesus?

The coronavirus did the same thing to the institutions, myths, and stories we rely upon, support, and participate in that act as a compass for our lives.  It continues to do so. It’s the hardest thing: to decide what problems are opportunities worthy of attention and which ones just distract and nag, willingly or not, from meaningful living and helping our neighbors.

One thing that Covid-19 has made clearer for me is that being super busy doesn’t mean one is successful. It may mean we are over functioning or are workaholics or are fearful of idle time.  It may mean that one doesn’t have the clarity to say “no” to the less important or the filters to sift important from unimportant in the short term and long term. And, it could be that one has focused on the very important for their lives and kicked into hyperdrive.

I don’t know if church, youth group, Christianity, or following Jesus, any or all, are important for you.  They may be problems worth dancing with.

May God’s shalom find you and may you live in God’s shalom.

2021-08-05T14:41:07-05:00Aug 5, 2021|Michael Davison Blog|Comments Off on Problems worth dancing with

Praying with Global Mission Partners: Colvins

Heavenly Father,

We ask for strength and guidance during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. As all of our lives have been touched, altered, and saddened by sickness and loss. Give us the assurance that YOU are ultimately in control and that you have our lives in the palm of your hand.

As we go about our daily lives of physical and social distancing, I pray that we are actually drawn closer in faith and love for each other.

For our healthcare workers, I ask for a special blessing as they put into action the skills and knowledge given to thme as they work dailiy to care for our loved ones.

In your holy name.

Amen.

by Debbie Colvin

Radiant God, who continues to bring light as Covid-19 covers the planet, we thank you that you do not abandon us.  We are grateful for your rays of hope that we see in the face of those who speak and act with empathy.

We offer our prayers of comfort for those who suffer, our prayers of support for those who tend to the health of loved ones, our prayers of encouragement to those who agonize over loss of income, and prayers of solace to those who mourn.

Particularly in Ghana, we give thanks for your servant and president, Nana Akufo-Addo, who speaks with compassion and hope as he tends to the health of his nation.  We are grateful for the women and men who give of themselves not only to provide for the sick, but those who simply share words of comfort and pray each day.  We rejoice in the hospitality of the Ghanaian people who, even in this time of struggle, openly care for each brother and sister regardless of race or spiritual persuasion.

God of light, our faith is in you that you will again bring full illumination to Ghana and to the world.  We have hope that in this new light we will see more clearly and love more nearly.

Amen.

by Larry Colvin

2021-08-05T14:09:52-05:00Aug 5, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Praying with Global Mission Partners: Colvins

Intentional Christian Community

From/to

Freedom has a partner, and its name is responsibility.
It’s easy to insist on all the things we should be free from.
But then we realize that we also have the freedom to act, to lead and to confront our fear and our selfishness. Once we realize our own agency, freedom begins to feel like a responsibility.
The freedom to make a difference.(1)

Last month that is what we practiced at church camp: responsibility.  Intentional Christian Community, or any intentional community, is something you have to want.  It’s a balancing act.  It’s a different kind of freedom.  It’s a responsibility.  And that is one of the lessons from church camp this summer as campers and volunteer staff learned about how creation speaks to humanity and God is made known.

The adults that volunteer directors and counselors are the strength of our outdoor ministry program.  The children and youth lived with our Covid-19 procedures with grace and acceptance that this was required for church camp to happen this year.  They altered their own behavior on behalf of the community.  They practiced individualism within community.  We cannot say “thank you” enough to the campers and our adult volunteers.  You’ve set an example for the rest of us about how to be intentional Christian community.


Note
1)  Seth Godin, “From/to.” July 4, 2021.

2021-07-13T13:29:22-05:00Jul 13, 2021|Michael Davison Blog|Comments Off on Intentional Christian Community

Volunteers are the Strength of Church Camp

Thank You Camp Counselors and Directors

We give thanks for these persons that gave their time to our children and youth this summer at church camp.

Chi Rho Co-Directors: Kelley, Bill, and Tara
Chi Rho Staff: Chris, Chuck, Derek, Erin, Jana, Janet, John, Laura, Madi, Paul, Rachael, Sara, Tamra

Discovery Director: Daniel
Discovery Staff: Alysa, Derek, Erin, Jana, Laura, Paul, Sally, Sara, Wendy

CYF Co-Directors: Chris and Michael
CYF Staff: Ashley, Bill, Eula, Gene, Geoff, Ish, Julia, Luke, Madi

Junior Camp Co-Directors: Sally and Paul
Junior Staff: Ben, Colton, Derek, Grace, John, Joshua, Laura, Madi, Matthew, Nicole, Pam, Valerie, Wendy

Though we canceled Mission Camp, we offer our thanks the Director, Tom, for his work on organizing and preparing.

We look forward to summer 2022 when, if Covid-19 is contained, we can expand our church camp program to welcome more campers and new counselors.  Stay connected to information about the Region’s program ministry for children and youth by subscribing to the Intersection or the Regional Round Up!

2021-07-06T10:27:47-05:00Jul 6, 2021|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Volunteers are the Strength of Church Camp

Pray with Mission Co-Worker Judy Chan

O Lord,

Teach us to be grateful!  How quickly we forget all good gifts are from You. We neglect to say “thank you” until we are in danger of losing them altogether.  Today, we thank you Creator God for your wisdom and grace that give us all these:

  • Air to breathe
  • The great outdoors
  • Freedom of movement
  • A body to exercise
  • The magic of touch
  • Feelings of safety
  • Neighbors
  • Meals to share
  • Places to study
  • Spaces to work
  • Worship live in the house of God

Guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us, for we have no help but thee, yet possessing every blessing if our God our guide shall be.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

2021-06-06T07:37:22-05:00Jun 6, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Pray with Mission Co-Worker Judy Chan

What Matters Most?

“Take your time”

It means two very different things.

When a person or a marketer takes your time, they’re stealing. Something irretrievable is gone. If your time is taken for selfish reasons, if it’s wasted, there’s no good way to get it back.

On the other hand, when you have enough confidence to take your own time, to take your time to be present, to do the work, to engage with what’s in front of you right now, it’s a gift.

This is precisely what time is for.

We’re not in a race to check off as many boxes as we possibly can before we are out of time. Instead, we have the chance to use the time to create moments that matter. Because they connect us, because they open doors, because the moments, added up, create a life.
(Seth Godin,”Take your time.” May 29, 2021.)

In a “time” when everything matters how do you determine what matters most?  I’m an old Gen X’er and a version of this question has been part of my conscious existence since the middle 1980’s when I was a college student.  The Covid-19 pandemic may have helped some of us answer the question, “when everything matters what matters most?”  Did it for you?  And yet, as people rush back to time before the pandemic I wonder what we’ve learned?  Really.

I think part of our Disciples ethos is that we value the decision making process: how and why.  Church Camp, like other camp experiences, is time away.  This intentional Christian community develops skills to help people, young and seasoned, determine what matters most and how to live into what matters most.  Those skills will develop over time as they continue to practice and participate in the journey of faith.  Church camp can be a mountain top experience, but its best work is the subtle and nuanced preparation for living through the valleys of life.  This preparation happens in small group conversations, games, hanging out during free time, in prayer, craft time and worship.

You can follow summer camp this year through the Region’s social media (Twitter @ccokdoc, Facebook – Oklahoma Disciples, and Instagram ccokdoc) as well as here at the Region’s website.  We may have a podcast episode or two as well.

Thank you for supporting Outdoor ministry (Church Camp) in your congregation and in covenant with the Christian Church in Oklahoma.

2021-06-03T06:26:40-05:00Jun 3, 2021|Michael Davison Blog|Comments Off on What Matters Most?

Poor Peoples Campaign Update

Thank you for your support of the Poor Peoples Campaign. While the national PPC was started over three years ago, Oklahoma began exploring the creation of a state unit in August 2020. A small group gathered to discern interest in this venture and has since been striving toward making it a reality. The process has been like jumping on a fast train complicated by a pandemic and two major winter storms that obliterated some of our plans. We have learned many lessons and became more active in the movement, emphasizing its goals during the first 100 days of the new administration. The Poor Peoples Campaign is now moving forward with an aggressive plan for the next 500 days. That plan includes the announcement of a PPC resolution on May 24, 2021, setting forth its priorities for the next 500 days. On June 7, each participating state unit is encouraged to gather at the state capitols to share its support of the resolution. On June 20, 2021, another virtual nationwide event is scheduled to kick off our work toward attaining the vision outlined in the resolution.

We invite you to join us in work necessary to attain our goals regarding the wellbeing of all people. Please see our website at https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/committee/oklahoma/ or follow our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OklahomaPPC for updated information.

If you are interested in getting more involved, we are interested in helping you meet that goal. Our work requires many skills. We need help with digital expertise, art and music, base-building, faith support, identifying allies and partners, policy, media, and organizational skills. If one or more of these caught your eye, let me know, and I will help you find ways to share your skills as we work in oneness toward a more inclusive and loving world.

Marilynn Knott

OPPC Coordinating Committee

2021-06-16T13:32:21-05:00May 7, 2021|Faith in Action|Comments Off on Poor Peoples Campaign Update

Pray with Mission Co-Worker Kahala Cannon

God, we enter into your Presence with thanksgiving.  Thank you for being All Mighty God.  You are the first and the last, the living One, Redeemer, Creator, and Lord.  You alone stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth.  You are the Lord our God! We wholeheartedly put our hope and trust in you.

Thank you for hearing our cry as we lift our voice towards heaven.  We bring before you those who have faced: illness, loss of a loved one, maintaining mental and emotional health amid physical distancing and isolation, work furloughs, financial hardships, fear, and an uncertain vision for the future during this coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you for your everlasting arms that comfort us, your strength that sustains us, and your mighty hand that saves.  We hold tight to your promises because You are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.  You promise to be with us and will uphold us with your righteous right hand.  You supply all of our needs according to Your riches in glory through Christ Jesus.  And you are God who heals us.

Thank you for your manifest presence and omnipresence in our lives.  We thank you and glorify you.
In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

2021-05-07T09:15:52-05:00May 7, 2021|Mission|Comments Off on Pray with Mission Co-Worker Kahala Cannon