Clergy News

Home/Clergy News

Clergy Continuing Education Requirements for 2020

Reminder: 2020 Continuing Education Requirements

The Commission on Clergy will still be requiring 16 hours of continuing education for 2021 standing. During this pandemic, there are many opportunities for online learning. The Commission hopes that clergy can take advantage of some of these opportunities, which include what is available through disciples.org or United Church of Christ, Center for Faith & Giving, or others.

Clergy, please keep a record of what you have watched: the date, the title of the webinar, the time you spent watching/learning. This is what you will add to the standing form when it comes to you in November.

2020-08-12T13:45:24-05:00Aug 12, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Clergy Continuing Education Requirements for 2020

Register to Attend: Stewardship in a Time of Crisis

The Oklahoma Disciples Foundation is excited to host Rev. Barkhauer (co-host) for two one-hour live video presentations on August 17 and August 18. Pick the day and time most convenient for you: Monday, August 17, 2020 at 7 p.m. Central Time, or Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 11 a.m. Central Time.

Pre-registration is required. You must provide your name, church and email so we can email you a link to the Zoom video presentation. There is no cost to participate. Gather your stewardship committee members and logon to learn. (A computer or laptop with a camera is necessary to participate in the Zoom conference.)

Click HERE to register.

How should churches make an annual appeal during 2020? How can the church connect with members while practicing social distancing? People have lost income, so is now an appropriate time for the church to ask for money? What’s next in church finance? How do we prepare?

If you are a pastor or member of a congregation asking these questions, you won’t want to miss a live opportunity to hear Center of Faith and Giving Director Rev. Bruce A. Barkhauer’s take on “Stewardship in a Time of Crisis.” It will be a time of helpful and faithful conversation, questions and suggestions as we examine how to think and talk about stewardship during this global pandemic. Discussion will also provide suggestions for the best use of the “Faithful, Hopeful and Loving” materials provided by the Oklahoma Region as well as how your community of faith can maximize or “start” an electronic giving program.

Over the years, Rev. Barkhauer has graciously traveled to Oklahoma to make various stewardship presentations in conjunction with the Foundation. If you haven’t heard him speak, you’re missing out. Rev. Barkhauer brings creative energy to his presentations and shares real life examples with sometimes-humorous undercurrents.

Rev. Barkhauer was called as the first “Minister for Faith and Giving for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” in 2010. For 25 years, he led congregations in Ohio and Indiana in achieving high levels of financial support for local and global missions. He is a noted speaker, educator, consultant and writer.

“His energy, vision and entrepreneurial spirit enhance gifts in both business and ministry,” according to the Center of Faith and Giving website. “He brings a biblical based understanding about stewardship combined with theological integrity and weds them to the current trends and best practices related to spirituality and money.”

We hope to see you there!

2020-08-12T14:11:44-05:00Jul 27, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Register to Attend: Stewardship in a Time of Crisis

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|Comments Off on Which Story Will You Choose?

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.

Links to Resources by the Center for Faith & Giving

Resources for Faithful Hopeful Loving Annual Campaign 

2020-07-15T11:12:27-05:00Jun 3, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Faith & Giving: Stewardship Resources for a Time Such as This and Beyond

A New Season: Pentecost!

Acts 2:1-2
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Just imagine this scene with me for a moment.  We live in Oklahoma where if this storm were coming, David Payne would be entertaining us with warnings and the community sirens and our phones would be blaring!  We would take cover, either in a shelter or in our bathroom with helmets and pillows, and quite possibly, we would miss the miracle of Pentecost.  The miracle where God pours out the Spirit on “all flesh”.

Craig S. Keener notes that “God’s promise in Joel crossed barriers of age, gender, and free or slave status. . . . Peter changes Joel’s wording with respect to slaves:  now the Spirit is for all who are God’s servants.  This might remind us that all of us come to God as servants, on the same level. . . . Although Joel’s wording already crossed class barriers, the new wording virtually eliminates such classes. The world still evaluates us in socioeconomic terms, but Jesus’ followers must value and treat each other as siblings of equal dignity.”  (Craig Keener, Connections: Acts 2:1-21, Commentary 2:  Connecting the Reading with the World, p. 337)

Oklahoma storms are terrifying, and we must take shelter.  However, on this Sunday of Pentecost, perhaps we trust our God and be courageous enough to  linger from taking shelter so that we can be witnesses of this mighty miracle and all become transformed to be servants of the Lord: valuing and treating each other as siblings of equal dignity.

Speaking of courage and lingering . . .

All of you are doing a fantastic ministry worshiping on-line and connecting and caring for your flock in amazing and creative ways. Michael and I wander around the region each week to join you and celebrate the goodness of the Lord among you.

As statements are made and expectations are rising, I feel your anxiety and apprehension about returning to worship in the sanctuary.  While some communities in our region do not have high numbers of Covid-19 and feel comfortable gathering on Sunday mornings, many of our communities are struggling with “when” to re-gather for worship. The Region is still advocating for the numbers to be trending down for fourteen days before returning to in-person gathering for worship. It takes courage to linger, to go slow, to bring everyone one along on the journey. But I realize that may not be possible for your congregation to wait. It also takes courage to re-gather now. There is so much to do to make the space safe for  everyone.  And even then the risk is high. In these days of multiple vulnerabilities, I pray that you and your flock will continue in faith and hope and be courageous to discover new and profound ways to love and serve all people as Jesus does in a time such as this.

On this arduous journey, I also know you all are exhausted ~ exhausted from preparing words of faith, hope, and God’s steadfast love each week, from navigating the tech and wondering who is watching, and continuing to connect with parishioners in unprecedented ways. After Pentecost Sunday, I hope and pray that you will be courageous and take some days for rest and recreation.  You deserve it and need it.

Resources

In case you have not seen these statements, I offer them here for easy resourcing.

National Council of Churches Statement on Returning to Worship in Person

General Minister and President on re-opening congregations by Rev. Terri Hord Owens

Regional Ministers Offer a Word on Re-Opening Congregations

Digital Poor People’s Campaign

One last, but important item.  If you have ever wanted to take part in the Poor People’s Campaign but were not able to do so because of travel costs, or time away, here is your chance!  The Poor People’s Campaign will be a virtual assembly on Saturday, June 20, 2020.  I invite you to participate as you are able.

Poor People’s Campaign, a Digital Justice Gathering, on Saturday, June 20, 2020, which includes a link to the Digital Toolkit.

Blessing

Gratefully, we are accompanied by a God who promises to be with us always, still speaking words of hope and healing, as we courageously continue to move toward wholeness.

Peace & God’s Grace,

Pamela Holt

“The prophetic tasks of the church are to tell the truth in a society that lives in illusion, grief in a society that practices denial, and express hope in a society that lives in despair.”  ~ Walter Brueggemann

_______________

Image credit: Forbes.com  Extreme weather on the high plains of Nebraska with this stunning LP supercell Mesocyclone, taken near Broken Bow, Nebraska, USA. Getty Images

2020-05-28T09:14:39-05:00May 28, 2020|Clergy News, Pam Holt Blog|Comments Off on A New Season: Pentecost!

Phillips Seminary Announces: DOC History & Polity Class Beginning August 2020

Phillips Theological Seminary will be offering a Disciples of Christ History & Polity course, the week of August 3-7. (As of now, this class will be offered on campus. Should this need to transition online, you will be notified.) The course will be taught by Dr. Lisa Barnett and is open to auditors and those seeking academic credit. Phillips Seminary will be accepting applications through Friday, July 10.

Phillips has a simple online application process. Apply today! Click HERE

If you have any questions regarding enrollment please contact MaryAnn Morris, Dean of Students, Phillips Theological Seminary at 918-270-6464 or email maryann.morris@ptstulsa.edu.

Phillips is deeply committed to serving lay and clergy leaders who are passionate about following the way of Jesus and transforming our world.

2020-05-07T09:58:41-05:00Apr 29, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Phillips Seminary Announces: DOC History & Polity Class Beginning August 2020

Phillips University, Inc. Seminary Scholarship Program Applications Due April 30, 2020

Phillips University, Inc. (PU) is pleased to offer a merit based Seminary scholarship program for full-time, first year seminarians who are pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree, are committed to pastoral ministry and will attend one of the following Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) affiliated seminaries or foundation homes:

  • Brite Divinity School – Ft. Worth, TX
  • Christian Theological Seminary – Indianapolis, IN
  • Disciples Divinity House at Vanderbilt – Nashville, TN
  • Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago – Chicago, IL
  • Disciples Seminary Foundation
  • Claremont School of Theology – Claremont, CA
  • ILIFF School of Theology – Denver, CO
  • San Francisco Theological Seminary – San Anselmo, CA
  • Seattle University School of Theology & Ministry – Seattle, WA   
  • Lexington Theological Seminary – Lexington, KY
  • Phillips Theological Seminary – Tulsa, OK

The purpose of this program is to perpetuate the mission and the legacy of Phillips University by helping educate people who will be future ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

“For nearly 100 years, Phillips University played an important role in the foundation and education of Christian ministers,” said Kelly Coker, Vice-President.  “Because of the Phillips University Seminary Scholarship Program, PU is able to continue to influence the lives of not only the clergy of tomorrow, but also the lives of the countless people they will touch through their future ministries. We feel blessed to be able to help these remarkable Divinity scholars in their theological quests while attending these amazing institutions.”

For more information about the Phillips University, Inc. Seminary Scholarship Program, please contact Tamela Harsha, Scholarship Administrator, at (580) 237-4433 or email scholarships@phillips.edu.  Applications can be accessed online at www.phillips.edu/seminary-application. The application deadline is Thursday, April 30, 2020.

2020-03-24T11:07:48-05:00Mar 24, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Phillips University, Inc. Seminary Scholarship Program Applications Due April 30, 2020

Phillips Recognizes the 2020 Frank H. Marshall Award Honorees

The Phillips Alumni/ae Association recently recognized Myrna J. Jones and Gene Spillman, Jr. as the 2020 recipients of The Frank H. Marshall Award for Ministerial Excellence at a celebration dinner during Remind & Renew.

Jones received both her MDiv (1992) and DMin (2006) degrees from Phillips Theological Seminary. Spillman has his BA (1970) from Phillips University and MDiv from Phillips Graduate Seminary (1974). The award is the highest honor given by the Alumni/ae Association and is presented to one or two individuals each year. The award recognizes graduates of Phillips Theological Seminary, Phillips Graduate Seminary, The Graduate Seminary of Phillips University, or the College of the Bible whose service to God, the Church and the human Community has been faithful and exemplary.

(article and photo provided by Phillips Theological Seminary)

2020-03-09T11:58:40-05:00Mar 9, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on Phillips Recognizes the 2020 Frank H. Marshall Award Honorees

The Rev. Dr. Jacob George Receives Distinguished Minister Award at Brite Divinity School Luncheon

Rev. Richard Ziglar was scheduled to stand here today to introduce his friend and colleague to receive this award, and laments that he cannot be here because his wife is ill. As the Regional Minister of Oklahoma, I am quite honored to stand in Richard’s place to present to you the recipient of the 2020 Alberta Z. Brown Distinguished Minister Award for Institutional Ministry.

The Rev. Dr. Jacob George is a Board Certified Chaplain and ACPE Educator, ordained and endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University and became a Board Certified Chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2002. He has worked in the field of health care chaplaincy for over 20 years.

Dr. George, recently named Director of Pastoral Care Service at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Okahoma, has been the staff chaplain and Clinical Pastoral Education program coordinator and supervisor at Hillcrest for almost twelve years. Under his leadership, Hillcrest’s CPE program has become a premier training center because he is a proactive advocate for his students and peers, always going the extra mile to selflessly help other chaplains in his community both professionally and personally. He has trained hundreds of chaplains to do the same in countless contexts ranging from the Multi-Faith Spiritual Counselor at the Family Safety Center in Tulsa to chaplaincy positions in United States military, the Cancer Treatment Center in Zion, Illinois, to sports chaplaincy positions for the U.S. Olympic team.

From teaching in rural communities of India and Nepal to his early years as a chaplain resident at Pine Rest Mental Health Services in Michigan, he has often found himself with the honor of offering respect and empathy amidst places of suffering and brokenness.

Dr. George served as a chaplain and director of Spiritual Care at Hospice of Green Country where he drove many miles in Northeast Oklahoma to provide comfort in the homes of many terminally ill patients in rural areas. He served as Chaplain and Pastoral Care Coordinator for the department of Hospice and Palliative Care at Saint Francis Health System, becoming the first non-Catholic chaplain to serve at St. Francis. Dr. George has also served as an ACPE supervisor at Veteran’s Hospital in Muskogee and as an adjunct faculty member at Phillips Theological Seminary. Throughout these calls, Dr. George’s inclusive compassion and his own personal experience in immigrating to this country from his native home of India have contributed to his incredible gift in flexibly providing support to families from diverse religious, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

In 2005, Dr. George travelled to Sri Lanka to provide disaster relief efforts for the month following the Tsunami. His presence here required him to step into the unknown, and required him to risk his own safety and comfort in a nation torn by civil war. Dr. George ministered to survivors, “who ended up being all at once victims, rescuers, grieving family members and search-and-recovery workers” and trained over 100 volunteers how to counsel people amidst grief.

In October of 2018, On the heels of Category 5 Hurricane Michael, Dr. George was deployed to Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart, Panama City, Florida to provide spiritual care and support to the staff and community. He arrived to discover the hospital operating with only a functioning ER to cater to the wide range of urgent needs from patients in the area.

Jacob met with staff in the command center and supported personnel and employees who had lost employment, income, and/or possessions from damaged or destroyed homes. He also toured the neighboring area and met with pastors from several congregations. When he realized an over-abundance of food had been donated to Bay Medical Center, Jacob contacted a local rescue mission to share this donation. Dr. George also ministered to responders from across the country, some who were injured while helping others in need. Realizing the sheer amount of time needed to travel back and forth between a hotel in another city after the damages, Dr. George instead chose to spend his time “camped out 24/7 in the hospital with cot and a curtain with a sign attached that simply read: CHAPLAIN”.

In 2019, Dr. George received the Power of One award from Hillcrest Medical Center, an honor that recognizes the outstanding commitment of a single employee in the Hillcrest Medical Center system, acknowledging his incredible dedication to his call as a chaplain at Hillcrest as well as his service in Panama City. Also in 2019, he received the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Professional Chaplains.

He is an extraordinary chaplain who “goes above and beyond to care for their loved ones, community, employees, patients, and clients through the power of presence, listening, and prayer.”

In the midst of all he does as a chaplain and teacher, near and far, Dr. George takes the time to participate local clergy gatherings and Regional events in Oklahoma. And most importantly, he is a very proud father! He takes every opportunity to be present to, walk alongside, and care for his daughter, JoAnna, and they both cherish the life they share.

So it is with deep gratitude and great joy I present to you The Rev. Dr. Jacob George to receive the this year’s Alberta Z. Brown Distinguished Minister Award for Institutional Ministry. Congratulations, Dr. Jacob George!

Pam Holt Signature

Rev. Pamela Holt
Regional Minister

2020-04-01T16:52:59-05:00Mar 3, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on The Rev. Dr. Jacob George Receives Distinguished Minister Award at Brite Divinity School Luncheon

March 23, 2020: Retired Ministers Gathering CANCELED

This meeting has been canceled. We hope to gather later in the year.

_______________________________________________

Dear Retired Clergy Friends,

The next gathering of the Retired Ministers Fellowship will take place on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 10:30am. We hope you’ll join us at Southern Hills Christian Church located at 3207 S. Boulevard, Edmond, OK. Please plan to join us for lunch following the meeting. The lunch location will be announced at the meeting.

Our meetings are primarily fellowship, and occasionally a program. David Hockensmith will provide an update on the Moral Injury ministry in Oklahoma.

We are working toward several gatherings each year and want to invite you to participate. We are imagining these gatherings to be three times per year: one in the OKC area, one in the Tulsa area, and one alternating between Stroud and Enid.

Future 2020 gatherings will be:

  • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at Christian Church of the Covenant located at 1205 S. Cleveland, Enid

Please make your reservation through the Regional Office by contacting Ellen Beer, Exec. Assistant at (405) 528-3577 (M-Th 8:30 am-4:30 pm) or emailing ebeer@okdisciples.org. Spouses and friends are welcome to join.

We look forward to seeing you!

Rev. Bill Shields                              Regional Minister Rev. Pam Holt
(405) 820-5693                                (940) 327-9282
blshields@aol.com                          pholt@okdisciples.org

2020-03-18T13:43:31-05:00Mar 3, 2020|Clergy News|Comments Off on March 23, 2020: Retired Ministers Gathering CANCELED