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Time for Virtual Vacation Bible School

The Region is excited to announce our Virtual VBS Program is available to use.  Based on the summer camp curriculum, This Is Our Prayer, Virtual VBS uses videos to lead you through four days of self-guided learning activities that are intergenerational.  You decide when to do VBS from home.  Maybe your congregation wants to do the activities together using video conferencing technology?  Maybe your congregation wants to use Virtual VBS together, socially distanced, in your building or outdoors?

Each day includes:

  • An Opening Thought

  • Singing

  • Bible Story for the Day

  • Craft Projects

  • A Way to Serve

  • STEM and a Game

  • Prayer Practice and Closing

All the items you need for the crafts are listed in downloadable PDF format including the words to the songs to sing along.  Items you need for other activities are included in the videos.

Virtual VBS will be on our website through August 15th.

Click Here to Register!

Thank You Virtual VBS Team

  • Rev. Darlene Martinez

  • Ashley Pease

  • Rev. Julia Jordan Gillett

  • Chris Fourcade

  • Rev. Sarah Combs

  • Ellen Beer (website design and support)

2020-06-24T12:01:12-05:00Jun 24, 2020|Congregations, Youth|0 Comments

Virtual Vacation Bible School

Covid-19 (coronavirus) has changed the ways we participate in congregational life and the things congregations offer during the summer.  Vacation Bible School is a summer tradition for many congregations and it has a long, rich history as a part of our denomination’s outreach ministry.   The Region asked a group to create an intergenerational VBS that can be done at home.  This self-guided VBS is designed for families to do together.  Congregations may want to use video conferencing for some or all of the activities to do together as another way of connecting their members.

Virtual VBS is a four day program that is designed to last a couple of hours each day.  A short registration form is required to access the VBS.  Registration opens June 18th and Virtual VBS will publish on June 22.

We give thanks for the talents, gifts, and dedication of the Virtual VBS Team, and offer our thanks to their congregations for gifting their time to this project.

Watch the short video to meet the team: Rev. Darlene Martinez, Rev. Julia Jordan-Gillett, Chris Fourcade, and Rev. Sarah Combs

2020-06-12T09:24:43-05:00Jun 12, 2020|Congregations, Youth|0 Comments

(June 5, 2020) Camp Bytes goes live next week.

Working with our volunteer Camp Directors and Counselors, the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults has reimagined our summer camp program as our Nation, and the world, lives through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chi Rho Camp Bytes (June 9-11) kick off the camp season.  Each day between 10am and 12pm, counselors and campers will gather for an online camp that will have a live element.  Campers must be registered to enter camp and, just like our physically in person program, we cannot accept same day registration for any of our digital camps.  Similarly, Camp Bytes for Junior campers, CYF campers, and Discovery campers will be offered.   Visit the Families & Youth section of our website to learn more and register today.

Just like our physically in person camp program, each day of digital camp will include: play, prayer, study, worship, and service.

We are excited to announce that campers who registered between February 1 and May 2 for traditional summer camp will receive a Camp Bytes t-shirt in the mail this summer!  Yes, if you listed a t-shirt size in your registration for traditional summer camp, the Region will send you a camp shirt FREE.  We are able to provide Camp Bytes and the t-shirt through the generous gifts by donors like you to the Region’s Camp & Conference Resource Endowment Fund throughout the years.  This fund is managed by the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation.

You didn’t register for traditional camp, but want a shirt?  No worries.  You can purchase a summer camp shirt through an online store later this month, and that purchase will support the Region’s program ministries for children and youth which includes summer camp.  Maybe you don’t want a shirt, but still want to support our program ministries for children and youth.  Thank you!  Visit our Givelify page to make a contribution today and select children and youth ministry.  Yes, you could also mail a check to the Region.  If you have other questions, please contact Rev. Michael Davison, Associate Regional Minister.

Yes, Camp Bytes is a bit more screen time this summer, but it will connect you to campers across our Region who want to connect with you.  So, don’t wait!  Time is running out to register for Chi Rho Camp Bytes.  Registration for Chi Rho closes at 3pm, this Sunday, June 7.

  • Chi Rho Camp Bytes (Jun 9-11) 10am-12pm
  • Junior Camp Bytes (June 16-18) 12pm-2pm – Registration Closes June 13
  • CYF Camp Bytes (June 23-25) 9:30am-12pm – Registration Closes June 20
  • Discovery Camp Bytes (July date TBA)
2020-06-05T08:39:11-05:00Jun 5, 2020|Congregations, Youth|Comments Off on

A Difficult Decision: Summer Camp Canceled

May 2, 2020

Hello Christian Church in Oklahoma,

This was our prayer: that there was a responsible way to offer summer camp this year and effectively mitigate the health risks of the coronavirus.

The Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults, our Summer Camp Directors, and Rev. Michael Davison have ingested a lot of information.  We have talked with youth leaders, listened, consulted with the sites that host our summer camps, read diverse medical opinions, reviewed CDC guidelines, and State Health Department guidelines.  We have prayed together.  What we’ve discovered is that there is more unknown about the coronavirus (Covid-19) and its transmission than what is known.  No matter where a camp or retreat is held, our first responsibility is the physical well being, safety, and care of campers, their families, and our adult volunteers.

With all that we know and, more importantly, what we don’t know about the coronavirus, we have decided to cancel summer camp this year.  We are grieved, as we know you must be, about this decision.  We lament with you and for you, but this is the best reasoned and faithful way for the Region to do its part for the common good of Oklahoma, and ensure that summer camp returns in 2021.

You may be thinking, “There is uncertainty and risk everyday.” While that is true, what we knew as “normal” life before February of this year, with its acceptable risk and comfort with uncertainty, didn’t just happen overnight.  It grew through years of lessons learned (sometimes the hard way), and advances in medicine and social sciences.  We don’t think it is responsible for our intentional Christian community to be a medical experiment this year, as well as a place to play, pray, worship, study, and serve.

In the absence of physical summer camp, Michael is working with camp directors and the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults to reimagine camp and offer Camp Bytes.  This digital experience will be age appropriate for campers just like the summer camp program.  Parents of younger campers, Discovery and Junior age, are welcome to participate.  This is one way to remember that there are many ways to be “in-person” to support, comfort, and learn together as followers of Jesus.  We know that congregations are thinking about how to offer Vacation Bible School and maintain physical distancing to support everyone’s health.  Using this same online portal, the Region will offer a digital VBS program this summer.  More details about these interactive digital opportunities will be posted to our website and social media platforms on May 22.  Through the generosity of donors to the Region’s endowments, there will be no fee for Camp Bytes and VBS.

As we monitor the news and guidelines about the coronavirus this summer, we are planning for an active second half of the year.  We know you will have many choices as schools, sports leagues, and clubs have postponed their events to this fall, and there is always college football.  We have two weekends planned for you to gather with siblings in faith around the Region.

  • Family Camp, September 5-7
    Camp Christian near Chouteau
    Families of all sizes and kinds are invited to attend this new camp as we design a weekend specifically for families.  Registration will open June 8.
  • Qahal/Koinonia Campout, October 16-18
    The Regional Youth Council will lead a weekend retreat for Chi Rho & CYF in the great outdoors!  Get out your camping gear (tent, flashlights, lanterns, and sleeping bags) for an unplugged weekend of hiking, games, some study, and a chance to slow down.  More information will be available in July and registration opens August 15.

This is our prayer, O Lord, that your goodness and mercy will surround the helpers, low wage essential workers, warehouse employees, delivery people,  decision makers, leaders, and teachers.  Be present, O Lord, to the sick and dying, the homeless, the hungry, and the lonely through the work of our hands and the voices of our neighbors.  We remember graduates and their families.  We trust that your mercies, O Lord, are new every morning and embrace us as we love and serve like Jesus, who we call Christ, and in whose name we pray.

We look forward to seeing campers at Camp Bytes in June.  Remember, Disciples, you are a blessing.  Keep on being a blessing, even from a physical distance, until we can gather in-person again.  Stay centered.

Sally Wheeler, Co-Chair, Commission for Children, Youth, and Young adults

Rev. Bill Hemm, Co-Chair, Commission for Children, Youth, and Young adults

Rev. Michael Davison, Associate Regional Minister


The Regional Board recognizes this extraordinary time of COVID-19, and concurs with the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults in the very difficult but wise decision to cancel Camp and Conference for 2020.  We are unwilling to risk or compromise the health of any of our young people or the adult volunteers who serve them.  We are deeply grateful for the commitment it takes and all the preparation which has taken place in leading up to the 2020 camping experience.  We also offer our support for any alternative experiences that certainly will not take the place of summer camp, but can continue to enrich the faith of our young people.

Rev. Tom Stanley, Moderator, Christian Church in Oklahoma

Rev. Pam Holt, Regional Minister

2020-05-02T13:01:06-05:00May 2, 2020|Regional News, Youth|Comments Off on A Difficult Decision: Summer Camp Canceled

On the Road with Jesus: Week 2

We Are Family

Where is this parable? Luke 15.11-32

The parable of the prodigal son is a familiar one to most of us.  A father has two sons.  One requests his inheritance early, squanders it, and returns home begging to be welcomed back.  He is welcomed back, and he is received with a party!  The other son, who stayed home, worked tirelessly for his father, takes issue with the way his brother was celebrated upon his return—after living wildly and dangerously, using up all of his inheritance.  The father responds by saying that they had to rejoice upon the brother’s return, for he was lost and has been found.  How many of us have compared ourselves to the two brothers in this story?  It seems easy to try to fit ourselves into the category of “good child” or “wild child.” But what about the father?  How many times have we seen ourselves in the role of the father, receiving a lost one with open arms?  For me, forgiveness is difficult.  For me, being merciful to those who have treated me with disrespect or outright cruelty is difficult.  The father, though, paints a different picture of how things might be in these situations.  The father shows us how God sees humanity.  God sees claims us as beloved even when we have gone astray.  God celebrates when we return to the holy and sacred, never holding our transgressions against us.  How might we reflect this grace and mercy in our own lives?  How might we grow to understand the difficult routes some lives have taken and be gracious when the “lost” return home, asking for forgiveness?  We are not God, that’s for sure.  But we do have opportunity after opportunity to, with our words and actions, point toward a loving and compassionate God that sees humanity, God’s children, all people, as worthy, valuable, and beloved.

Rev. Shannon Cook, Minister of Faith Development
First Christian Church Norman


Found

Where is this parable? Luke 15:8-10

The Parable of the Lost Coin is a story about a woman who has lost one of her ten coins. Rather than sulk about it or just be content with the fact that she has lost it, she realizes that she must do something in order to locate it. She began to clean her home, looking for the coin as she went as the cleansing made it easier for her to access certain places. When she finally found it she rejoiced, celebrating by letting each of her friends and family know of her achievement. This can be compared to the attitude God shows towards sinners. When any of His children repents to Him and asks forgiveness for their sins, he rejoices. He is delighted at our initiative to restore our own faith through Him, and grows a love for us bigger than He had before.

This story teaches followers of Christ as well as non-believers that no matter what you have done or how long ago, it is better to take the time to admit the wrongs that have been committed than ignore them and hope for the best. The hardest part of this for me personally, is admitting that I am wrong in the first place. I always hold myself to such a high standard and sometimes even have a mindset that I haven’t done anything wrong at all, which makes it hard for me to accept that I do indeed need to take a step back sometimes and think about the affects my actions caused. I am in no way perfect and God knows that, but I also know that I am still just as loved as before I made my mistake. Knowing His unconditional love exists and that He rejoices at the fact that I do ask forgiveness makes it so much easier to repent, and it truly makes it so much easier to follow Jesus knowing I will not be cast down.

Trinity Towel, Central Christian Church Fairview


Yeast or TikTok

Where is this parable? Matthew 13:33

So, this is the shortest parable that is contributed to Jesus. Why is it so short?  What does it mean?  These are the questions that come to my mind.  So let us take them one by one.  Let us look deeper into this short story. 

Why is it so short?  We live in a time of convenience and immediateness.  When driving directions appear on our phones in a matter of seconds.  Whole meals can be prepared in under five minutes.  We can see the news happening around the world as it takes place.  We can travel from Dallas to Washington DC in the time it takes to bake a loaf of bread.  We live in an age of wonder.

So, a parable this short should be perfect for us.  I believe that he was trying to get a point across in a short amount of time, so he chose something that everybody knew and understood.  Simple really: flour, yeast, water and you get bread.  So easy fifth graders could understand, right?  Nope, I asked one of my fifth grade classes what yeast and leavening was and only one person was able to tell me, but I asked them how to post on TikTok and everybody was able to answer in under thirty seconds.

Jesus chose, like every good teacher, to meet the people where they were with the knowledge they had.  When we explain this story to the people of today, we need to do the same.  How we do that is mixed up in the situation that we find those people.  In other words we are the yeast, the knowledge that has been passed on to us.  We must be that leavening that is mixed into that three-fourths of flour and do our part of spreading these teachings to the rest of God’s children.

On your journey to the cross in this time of Lent, please take the time and meet people where and when they are.  Tell your story and when we (collectively) take the time and build that relationship that is the meaning of this parable.

Travis Carlson, First Christian Church Chickasha

2020-03-09T12:50:30-05:00Mar 9, 2020|Michael Davison Blog, Youth|Comments Off on On the Road with Jesus: Week 2

Diverse Creation: Zoo Snooze 2020

Members of the Regional Youth Council hosting Zoo Snooze. Are you a rising junior or senior next year? RYC is accepting applications for new RYC members. Visit the Families and Youth webpage to download the application.

The Regional Youth Council hosted an overnight at the Oklahoma Zoo March 6-7.  Eighty-seven children, youth, and adults representing fifteen congregations attended and enjoyed learning about creation, seeing some of the animals during a night hike, some games, and a short closing story.  The Oklahoma City Zoo [@okczoo] staff, Rebecca and Anna, did a great job answering our questions and providing hospitality.

Pastor Eula Hledik tells a story at the end of the Zoo Snooze evening Friday night.

Saturday morning our group had the entire zoo to themselves from 8-9am and included a little walking worship and scripture reading designed by the Regional Youth Council.

We offer a BIG THANK YOU to the adults that attended with their groups and a BIG THANK YOU to parents and grandparents that attended with their children.  And, a BIG THANK YOU to the Commission for Children, Youth, and Young Adults for underwriting a portion of the cost for children and youth to attend from their budget.

Click here to see some photos from the Zoo Snooze.

There are exciting opportunities this spring, summer, and fall for Oklahoma Disciples to be Church locally and through the program ministries of the Region.  Our children and youth are the Church.  Not sure?  Watch them follow Jesus and enrich your journey in faith.

 

Stay connect with program ministry for children and youth by visiting the Families and Youth webpage.

2020-03-09T08:08:27-05:00Mar 9, 2020|Youth|Comments Off on Diverse Creation: Zoo Snooze 2020

One the Road with Jesus: Week 1

The Lamp Under a Bushel: Intentional Shining

Where is this parable? Matthew 5:14-15, Mark 4: 21-25, Luke 8:16-18

What does being “the light of the world” mean to you?

It’s pretty clear that everyone on this earth is unique. There are no two people who are exactly alike and that is exactly what God intended. God has given all of us a specific talent, a light. It could be a variety of different things. From being the best pianist in your town to just being able to talk to and relate to others. Whatever your light may be, it was given to all of us for the same reason. To be a beacon for God’s good word and compassion.

How can we be beacons for God’s love and teachings?

“Intentional shining” is a term I really like to use for these instances. To me, it means to use your God-given gift in a positive and purposeful way. We should all be using our own unique light to shine with the purpose of intentionally bringing light to God and His love. We are all lamps that have been lit by God himself for a purpose and none of us were lit for the intention of being hidden away. God knows His plan for us and it is good. Just as no one would light a lamp and then hide the lamp away, God doesn’t strike a fire of passion in our souls and then wish for us to conceal ourselves from the world.

I encourage everyone to think about their God-given “light” this Lent season and ponder in what ways you could use this gift for the betterment of your own life and the lives of others. For no one lights a lamp and then hides it under a bushel. They place it on a stand so that the whole house can bask in its glory and take advantage of its gifts.

Lillie Oberlender, First Christian Church Chickasha


Pearls of Glory

Where is this parable? Matthew 13:45-46

The Parable of the Pearl is by far one of the most widely known parables with an amazing message, but yet also one of the least followed in this day and age due to its difficulty. It teaches about the importance of giving up the materialistic items of our world with everlasting glory as a promise of return. In our modern-day society, this parable can be one of the most challenging aspects of the gospel. As a teenager living in the twenty-first century, I can say from my own experience that status, wealth, and brand can be one of the main contributing factors to acceptance. I would say that is the most challenging part for not only me, but as well as my close peers and acquaintances. It can be very hard growing up in a society that values what you own over what you have to say, especially when everything around us is spread so easily through social media. Everyone is so quick to judge which phone you have, the car you drive, and the clothes you wear. This parable, however, reminds us to remain humble and value our time with God over everything else. It reminds us to trust in God’s word and remember that it is he who is giving us eternal life, not our earthly objects. Despite the challenges of something that can sometimes seem so foreign and unknown, the Lord constantly reminds us of how much he loves us. He is willing to give us the greatest gift of all, even if we do sometimes find it hard to comply with his wishes.

Trinity Towel, Central Christian Church Fairview


Lent . . .

is one of my favorite seasons in the church year.  I know that sounds a little weird but I like the time it allows to refocus our thoughts and desires away from ourselves and back on our Creator.  Often people do that by giving up something.  Through this sacrifice, we come to understand a little better the sacrifice that Jesus gave up for us.  However, even though giving up chocolate or cokes can be difficult, I don’t think is even compares to giving up one’s life for someone else.  In recent years I have tried adding something to my life to be more like Jesus.  Maybe by walking a mile a day or writing a card of encouragement I can be more like God would like me.  This year however will be different.  I am going to spend time in quiet, in my prayer chair (which was my Grandma Atkinson’s) and spend time reconnect to God.  Hopefully I can quiet my soul and my heart can be more inline with God.

Take delight in the Lord,
and the Lord will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

This doesn’t mean that we will get everything we want, but as we spend time with God our desires will become more like His!  That is my prayer this Lent:  Lord, make my desires your desires! Amen

Pastor Tara Dew, Associate Minister First Christian Church El Reno
Mother of two amazing boys, wife of Curtis, friend to many, and follower of Jesus Christ.

2020-03-02T10:29:46-06:00Mar 2, 2020|Michael Davison Blog, Youth|1 Comment

Finding Your Way – An Advent Devotional

The story says that the shepherds went with haste to see what God had made known to them.  What did they talk about on the way?

What is your favorite Christmas Carol, hymn, or song?  Why is it meaningful for you?

The Regional Youth Council invites you on a journey through Advent as we take time to ponder, wonder, and experience the meaning of Christmas.  This devotional is written by members of the Regional Youth Council and appropriate for all ages.

This year the devotional is in two formats, PDF and ePub.  Yes, you can print it as well so you can use the coloring opportunities as a part of your Advent journey.

This year, slow down during Advent. Say “yes” to opportunities that will bless others and make space for silence so you can hear the echo of the angels and go see what God is making known to you.

 

The links below will take you to a Dropbox file that you can download to your device.

Click here to download the devotional in PDF format.

Click here to download the devotional in ePub format.

2019-11-25T13:07:14-06:00Nov 25, 2019|Youth|Comments Off on Finding Your Way – An Advent Devotional