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Scholarships for Disciples Virtual Gathering

The Region is pleased to announce the availability of scholarships for Oklahoma Disciples who wish to attend the Disciples Virtual Gathering event on August 7, 2021.

The online event is an opportunity for Disciples to connect, experience Bible study, learn from workshops, worship and imagine new ways of gathering as church.

Apply today for a $25 scholarship to reimburse your cost of Regular Registration. Applications are due no later than August 6th.

2021-06-21T15:02:55-05:00Jun 21, 2021|Congregations|0 Comments

Faith Still Standing: Tulsa Race Massacre

100 Years Later – Commemoration of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Trevor Bach writes, “On Memorial Day Weekend in 1921, as Jim Crow segregation laws seized the country, rumors about a young Black man sexually assaulting a white woman in an elevator sparked a frenzy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the racial tension escalated, a white mob descended on the city’s Greenwood neighborhood, a highly prosperous area known as “Black Wall Street,” and committed among the United States’ most egregious acts of racial terror, looting businesses and burning entire city blocks. Later estimates would cite as many as 300 Black Tulsans killed from the violence – some likely from firebombs dropped by private airplanes – and as many as 10,000 left homeless. Greenwood lay in ashes.

Nearly 100 years later, a series of projects aims to both commemorate a long under-recognized massacre and help revitalize the iconic American neighborhood. Read the full article.

While this horrific story of racism is part of our past and difficult to confront, this is the time for us to know the story, embrace the pain and grief, support the Greenwood Rising projects with our dollars and prayers, and turn our hearts, our minds, and our hands to become unrelenting catalysts for anti-racism.

Pine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Recognized

Pine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tulsa is one of the churches that will be acknowledged and recognized, for being in the historical Greenwood area for over 100 years. Pine Street Christian Church (est. 1907) has congregants who are descendants of the massacre. A special event “Faith Still Standing” to commemorate the Greenwood congregations will take place May 30, 2021. You may find event details as they become available on the Commission’s events schedule.

Disciples of Christ Descendants

An ordained Disciples of Christ minister Rev. Zenobia Mayo of Tulsa is one of the descendants. Her great uncle was Dr. A.C. Jackson who was an African American surgeon who was killed during the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. According to the Greenwood Cultural Center, Jackson was considered as the “most able Negro surgeon in America” by the Mayo Brothers, founders of the Mayo Clinic.

There are other Disciples descendants as well. The Region will be releasing a podcast soon of a couple with those voices.

Event Schedule Released

The primary dates of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commemoration are May 26 – June 6, 2021, see the Event Schedule.

Download an Event Schedule

2021-04-12T10:25:54-05:00Apr 12, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on Faith Still Standing: Tulsa Race Massacre

Easter Around the Region

Christ is Risen!

Our lives and our service are the Hallelujah Chorus of our discipleship and journey in faith.

2021-04-12T16:31:28-05:00Apr 12, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on Easter Around the Region

New 2021 Free Stewardship Resources

Center for Faith & Giving Releases Free 12-Month Stewardship Resources

Rev. Bruce Barkhauer has announced the release of new stewardship resources titled “Created To Be a Steward”. To meet changing circumstances, the Center for Faith and Giving determined that “business as usual” for resourcing stewardship was simply not going to work. The new “dynamic resource” provides fresh installments made each quarter as the year progresses. It is designed to to be relevant in the moment rather than hope we “guessed right” where your congregation finds itself throughout the year. It is intended to keep the stewardship conversation alive throughout the year by providing preaching, teaching and personal practical resources.

Created To Be a Steward

“Created To Be a Steward” is a 12-month stewardship emphasis for congregations that seeks to explore four major themes of biblical stewardship:

  • Self-Care (January – March)
  • Earth Care (April – June)
  • Resource Management (July – September); Gospel
  • Sharing [Evangelism] (October – December)

What is Included?

Each quarter, the free materials will contain:

  1. Three background pieces for sermon preparation
  2. Three companion educational curriculums based on the texts for preaching
  3. A commitment card for that particular theme (self-care, earth care, resource management, gospel sharing)
  4. Additional “experiential” exercises
  5. Links to additional resources and ideas (updated during that quarter)
  6. Worship resources including: prayers, call to worship, and offering and communion meditations
  7.  An entire separate resource of “campaign guidance” meant to help you organize and manage a financial campaign

How Do I Access the Free Resources?

Visit the Center for Faith and Giving website here. When you request the materials you will be given a link to the folders that may be downloaded free of charge.

2021-06-03T16:03:28-05:00Apr 10, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on New 2021 Free Stewardship Resources

Hopeful Covid-19 News and Returning to Worship

Several congregations have asked the Regional Office to provide some guidance on returning to in-person worship. I am delighted to suggest some guidelines for your leadership to consider as you make plans.

The Oklahoma State Health Department is reporting lower numbers for COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations. Let’s just pause and celebrate that for a moment! Sadly, the COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma and nationwide are still very high.

Also, the Oklahoma State Health Department is reporting that 17% of the Oklahoma population has been vaccinated for COVID-19! Another moment to pause and celebrate!

This week, another level of the population is eligible to be vaccinated:  teachers and persons with co-morbidities. Pending vaccine supply, the state should be able to move through this segment of the population rather quickly.

Despite this good news, here is the link to the CDC Guidelines for Faith Communities, updated on February 12, 2021. The CDC Guidelines are continuing to invite all faith communities to be VERY cautious, and in fact continue to recommend on-line worship or outdoor worship.

With this information from the CDC, and as the coronavirus numbers trend down and the vaccination numbers trend up, we do not want to rush. However, I believe it is a good time to begin considering plans to return to in-person worship. If you have already returned to in-person worship, I trust you are continuing to practice all safety protocols. If you have not yet returned to in-person worship, your church members might be more than wondering when in-person worship will be possible. Also, please take into consideration your perspective and comfort level as the shepherd of the flock.

Wherever your congregation is on the grid, here are some suggested questions for discussion among your leadership, remembering that best practices are still wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

  • What does the current CDC Guidelines recommend?
  • What does our church insurance provider recommend?
  • What is the positivity rate of COVID-19 in your community?
  • What are the hospitalizations of COVID-19 in your community?
  • What is the positivity rate of COVID-19 variant in your community?
  • How many church members are fully vaccinated? Will just vaccinated members be returning for a first phase? Or will all be invited to return allowing members decide what is best for their safety & well being?
  • What parts of worship should still be restricted? Singing. Passing the Peace. Passing the Offering Plate and Communion. Hugging/Handshaking.
  • What is a target date to begin in-person worship?  Still hard to determine but we are getting closer!
  • Should safety protocols continue for in-person worship?  Absolutely.  Wearing masks, washing hands, watching distance (6 ft).
  • Will your congregation continue on-line worship? I hope so!
  • Lastly, what crisis will determine a need to return to on-line worship only?

First Christian Church Norman

In Person Worship Protocols

Now that the church has returned to in-person worship at both the 8:40 and 10:45 services, we continue the following protocols that are to be strictly observed

  • *Masks must be worn over the mouth and nose at all times when in the church building.
  • *Greeting one another must be done from a distance and without physical contact.
  • *Extended conversations are to be held outside the church building.
  • *Maintain safe distancing (at least 6 feet) in the pews between households.
  • *Hymns, liturgies, prayers are to be hummed and/or spoken very softly.
  • *Please wash hands and wipe down surfaces in the bathroom after use.
  • *If you have been engaged in high-risk activities such as large gatherings, have been instructed to quarantine or isolate, or have been identified as a close contact of an individual with COVID-19, please do not attend worship in person.
  • *If you are considered at high risk for a severe COVID-19 infection (with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic lung disease, immune deficiency, or needing supplemental oxygen), please do not attend worship in person.  In addition, it has been found that individuals over age 65 are at higher risk for a more severe infection.
  • *Even those who have received both vaccines must follow the above protocols to ensure maximum safety for all those participating in worship in the sanctuary.
2021-03-08T08:02:42-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Congregations, COVID-19 Resources|Comments Off on Hopeful Covid-19 News and Returning to Worship

FCC Hennessey Receives Faithful Partners Award

First Christian Church Hennessey, Oklahoma received the first “Faithful Partners Award” from Phillips Theological Seminary on January 28, 2021 during the seminary’s Remind & Renew event. It honors the 50+ years of service and giving to Phillips University and Phillips Theological Seminary.

Pictured above with the award are Dona Caulder, FCC ‘s  Pastor Ish Engle and John Peach. Click here to watch the video presentation.

2021-02-03T13:42:08-06:00Feb 3, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on FCC Hennessey Receives Faithful Partners Award

Four Local DOC Churches Awarded Grants for Meals

Hope is More Than a Meal – Grants Provide Warm Meals for Local Homebound Elderly

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has awarded $3,200 to the following Disciples of Christ churches that provide home-delivered meals in central Oklahoma:

  • Crown Heights Christian Church
  • New Covenant Christian Church
  • Nicoma Park Christian Church
  • Western Oaks Christian Church

This winter, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is helping provide warm meals to homebound elderly citizens by awarding $51,600 in grants to 40 area churches and organizations that prepare and deliver mobile meals through Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City. In addition, the Foundation is awarding $5,000 each to Meals on Wheels of Norman and Edmond Mobile Meals to support seniors in their areas.

“This year has been challenging for most of us, but it has been particularly difficult for homebound seniors, who rely on services that provide access to health care, nutrition, recreation and interaction with others,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation president. “We are grateful for our donors, who give the resources to support essential care for the most vulnerable among us.”

Since 2008, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has distributed more than $450,000 in support of mobile meals programs in central Oklahoma. According to Meals on Wheels of Oklahoma City, one in 12 senior citizens in Oklahoma County lives in poverty, and nearly 16,000 lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Through the mobile meals programs in Oklahoma City, Norman and Edmond, home-delivered meals are available to all seniors age 60 and older who are unable to leave their homes without assistance or prepare meals due to health limitations regardless of income.

In 2020, Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City volunteers provided nutritious meals, wellness checks and meaningful contact for nearly 1,400 homebound senior citizens living in central Oklahoma who are unable to prepare their own meals.

“Senior hunger has unfortunately been a major issue in Oklahoma County for years, and the coronavirus pandemic has made it even worse,” said Chris Lambert, director of Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City. “Since March, we’ve added nearly 700 seniors to Meals on Wheels, and our meal deliveries have doubled to more than 16,000 meals each month. The generosity shown by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and our community allows us to bring hope to so many who are isolated from their friends, family and neighbors, and lets them know someone cares. Hope is more than a meal.”

About the Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works with donors to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. Learn more about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

2021-01-25T15:45:31-06:00Jan 25, 2021|Congregations|Comments Off on Four Local DOC Churches Awarded Grants for Meals

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|Comments Off on Weekend Breakfast Program at Southern Hills CC

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

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.