OCC 2017

On April 20, 2017, OCC will be conducting its popular Benefit Breakfast at St. Paul's Cathedral (127 N.W. 7th, OKC). The breakfast is "free," but there will be a request for financial support for OCC's important ministries.

Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m.; the program itself begins at 8:00 a.m. and will finish at 9:00 a.m. If you would like to attend, please contact the Rev. Dr. Bill Tabbernee at 405-525-2928 or wtabbernee@okchurches.org. 

For those who wish to stay, there is also an Advocacy Training Workshop at St. Paul's starting at 9:15 a.m. and concluding at 10:15 a.m. The cost is $10. For details and registration, see below.


We are now in the middle of the 2017 Oklahoma Legislative Session. Do you want to know about the bills which OCC is tracking and which are still active? Do you want to know how to inform legislators about bills you support and advocate against bills you oppose? 

Attend OCC's Advocacy Training Workshop and learn from experts including Kim Moyer, State Director of Marsy's Law for Oklahoma (left). 

For registration ($10.00), click HERE.

Response and recovery efforts related to the northwestern Oklahoma wildfires continue. Two of OCC's locally based disaster spiritual care providers, the  Rev. Stephen Hale, pastor at First United Methodist Church, Laverne, and the  Rev. Jim Reeves, pastor at First Presbyterian, Beaver, continue to provide care to their communities and beyond. Their dedication and care is inspiring. Please continue to hold them in your prayers.

  • OCC encourages our constituents who would like to donate money toward wildfire recovery to contact their own denominational or affiliated faith-based disaster response organizations.
  • We believe fewer than ten Oklahoma homes have been lost.
  • The primary physical impact in Oklahoma seems to be upon agribusiness, particularly related to lost animals, lost grazing capacity, and destroyed fencing.
  • The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is bringing a number of resources to the response.
  • We are also hearing of needs for repair and replacement of fire-fighting equipment used by the volunteer fire departments. While there may be some delays, some federal resources may be available.
  • Hay donations will continue to be needed for some time (possibly a year or more) but distribution has been delayed due to the need to inspect for fire ant infestations. A list of organizations accepting hay donations is available upon request.

Emotional and spiritual care needs do appear to be significant. We are hearing reports of problems related to individuals who have been required to euthanize many of their own injured animals. In addition, many persons experienced life-threatening incidents as they attempted to escape or fight the fire. OCC and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services are working through our local constituents and we will meet in Laverne next week to map out a long-term response. Many people will experience symptoms of high stress, anxiety, and trauma in the first month following a disaster, but we are particularly concerned about those who experience trauma symptoms after that first month.

Spring 2017 Disaster Spiritual Care Academy Training Continues

Oklahoma has experienced a new disaster, on average, every 7.5 weeks since March 2015. As we enter into the spring storm season, OCC has hosted a number of training opportunities in our Spring Disaster Spiritual Care Academy. One more training remains:

* Team Leader Training: Oklahoma City, April 27, 2017

Click here for the online Training Calendar.
Click here to  REGISTER.
Click here to receive E-MAIL notification of future trainings.
Click here for a more detailed DESCRIPTION of OCC's three credentialing  categories, training, qualifications, and accountability requirements.
Click here for an UPDATE on OCC's disaster spiritual care program: 

The Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau
Director of Emotional and 
Spiritual Care
(405) 315-1528
Advocating Justice for the Poor and the Environment:  The 34th annual
Day at the Legislature
A fascinating array of speakers participated in the 34th annual Day at the Legislature on March 6, 2017 where approximately 120 people enjoyed a day of networking and educational opportunities.   

The Rev. Dr. Mark Davies of Oklahoma City University and
Commissioner Terri White both brought insight and wisdom to their respective topics. Dr. Davies, the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics at OCU, spoke on "A Vision for the Beloved  Community: Human and Ecological Flourishing in Oklahoma." His Question and Answer segment was highly interesting as he discussed current issues facing our country and state.  

Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Terri White spoke on "Addressing the Circles of Poverty: Cause-Oriented Treatment" and, as always, was highly informative and engaging. Her comparisons of the cost of incarceration compared to the minimal cost of treatment, by comparison, proved to be very eye-opening for attendees.    

The entire event, including lunch, afternoon workshops, closing session with Peter Sawtell (of Eco-Justice Ministries), the evening reception and worship service were held at St. Paul's Cathedral, 127 N.W. 7th St., OKC, due to ongoing renovations at the State Capitol. 

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr., received the 2017 Advocacy Award for his life-long pursuit of social justice on behalf of individuals, churches, and the community-at-large.  Rev. Jackson is the pastor of East Sixth Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma City. 

The most highly-attended breakout session in the afternoon was Aurora Lora's "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty through Education." Ms. Lora, the Superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, shared her background and experience growing up in difficult circumstances. The audience was very appreciative of her career success and her passion for public education.

The second most popular session was "Race, Poverty, and Educational Reform: Addressing Structural Racism," presented by Dr. Belinda Biscoe, Interim Vice President for Outreach at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Biscoe used a simple exercise to demonstrate to the participants where they fell on the "privileged" spectrum. Many were impressed with the outcome of the exercise and came away with a new appreciation for the impact of race and poverty in our everyday lives. 

Eco-Justice Ministries founder, the Rev. Peter Sawtell of Denver, CO, presented the closing session in the Cathedral on "Social Justice Activism and the Environment." Following was a Legislator Reception (sponsored by St. Paul's Cathedral), and an Interfaith Prayer Service. The day's events wrapped up at 6 p.m.      

Many positive comments were submitted on the end-of-day evaluations. The OCC staff wishes to thank the 2017 Day at the Legislature Planning Committee for their leadership, suggestions, and work in making this event a highlight of the year.


March was a busy month for Interfaith activities conducted or participated in by the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.  

On  March 5 , around 245 people attended Temple B'Nai Israel in Oklahoma City to hear a report on January's  International Interfaith Tour to Israel and the Palestinian Territories  which was organized by OCC's  Religions United Committee.  

On Saturday, March 25, the Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, OCC Executive Director; Dr. Imad Enchassi, Senior Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City; and the Rev. Dr. Charles Kimball, Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma, traveled to Lawton to present a program titled "Co-Existing in a Multi-Cultural World." About 120 people attended this event at Cameron University, sponsored by Cameron Campus Ministry, which is an Ecumenical Partner Member of OCC. 
A similar program with the same panelists will be held on Wednesday,  April 19, 2017 at St. Paul's Cathedral in OKC. See Evening of Listening article (right column). 

On Sunday, March 26, Dr. Tabbernee conducted a workshop on Interfaith Dialogue at First Christian Church, Norman. 

For additional OCC Interfaith activities, see Upcoming OCC Events and Save the Date in the right column of this issue of CONNECT.  Also check the Interfaith Events List on the OCC website. 
APRIL 2017
Your gift is tax deductible; 
click here to donate.

is a 501(c)3) 

April 14, 2017 - Good Friday
Stations of the Cross Ecumenical Event  at Jesus Wept statue, 620 N. Harvey, OKC. 12:00 noon with the
Rev. Tom Jewell.

April 19, 2017 - Wednesday
"Islamophobia" - Evening of Listening, 6:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Cathedral, 127 N.W. 7th, OKC. Topic: Islamophobia: Islam, Christianity, and America.

April 20, 2017 - Thursday
OCC Benefit Breakfast
7:30-9:00 a.m.  St. Paul's Cathedral, 127 N.W. 7th, OKC.  Advocacy Training Workshop immediately following at  9:15-10:15 a.m.

May 11, 2017 - Thursday
" Immigration Reform" Evening of Listening, 6:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Cathedral, 127 N.W. 7th, OKC.

Holy Week
of the Cross 
Good Friday Commemoration
April 14, 2017

An annual ecumenical event, Stations of the Cross, is presented on Good Friday, April 14, 2017, at 12:00 noon. This special time of prayer and meditation is led by the Rev. Dr. Tom Jewell. Several ministers participate in the readings The  Jesus Wept  statue is located across the street to the west of the Murrah Bombing Memorial, 620 N. Harvey in Oklahoma City on the property of St. Joseph Old Cathedral. Please join us!

September 17, 2017
Interfaith Youth Tour
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help 
Catholic Church,  Temple B'nai Israel, and the  Islamic Society of Greater OKC will host this annual event.

October 15, 2017
Meet Your Interfaith Neighbors 
Meal  2 :00-4:00 p.m.,  Location to be announced.

November 9, 2017
OCC's Annual Dinner 
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum-Sam Noble Special Events Center, 1700 NE 63rd, OKC. 

The  Oklahoma Conference of Churches is looking for a highly-qualified applicant to  fill the following position:

Administrative Assistant
 Disaster Spiritual Care Program
10 hours per week
 F lexible hours are negotiable.

Applicants may send their résumé and letter of application to:

The Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau
Oklahoma Conference of Churches
301 N.W. 36th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

or e-mail to mgaudreau@okchurches.org

Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Assist with publication, registration, logistics, and on-site coordination of OCC Disaster Spiritual Care trainings
  • Assist with publication and upkeep of digital and printed materials
  • Assist in communication between OCC and the OCC Disaster Spiritual Care Team
  • Manage the Director of Emotional and Spiritual Care in management of the OCC Disaster Spiritual Care Provider database
  • Assist with OCC Care Team badging in coordination with the Oklahoma City/County Health Department
  • Assist with background checks for OCC Disaster Spiritual Care Providers
  • Assist in OCC fundraising activities
  • Other duties as assigned by Director of Emotional and Spiritual Care or the OCC Executive Director
Necessary Skills:
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Dropbox, and basic digital photo software
  • Familiarity with or ability to learn Machform and other online registration software

Evening of Listening 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 
6:30-8:00 pm
St. Paul's Cathedral
127 NW 7th, OKC

The culture is riddled with misconceptions and fears related to the religion of Islam. Muslims are persecuted in America by people who misunderstand the belief system of Islam.  April 19 will be an opportunity to address the fears, learn about Islam, and dialogue about why this is happening. We will also take some time to talk about what actions we can all take to be more understanding of one another. Come and open your heart and mind to our Muslim brothers and sisters. 

Distinguished Panelists:
Dr. Charles Kimball
Presidential Professor and Director
Religious Studies Program at OU

Imam Dr. Imad Enchassi
Senior Imam and President, Islamic Society of OKC 
Chair-Islamic Studies at OCU

The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Executive Director, Oklahoma Conference of Churches

The Very Rev. Justin Lindstrom
Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral 


April 8, 2017
CWU in Oklahoma  
State Assembly at Catholic Charities in Tulsa

April 11, 2017 
Bridging the Gap in Mental Health Care Coordination in Oklahoma.  Sponsored by PsychU. 8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Embassy Suites Downtown/Medical in OKC. Register at this link PsychU.

April 25-26, 2017
Mental Health First Aid
Eastside Christian Church -Tulsa
$10 each day.  REGISTER  or call 918-382-2411

May 4, 2017
National Day of Prayer 
Click here for more information. 

May 10, 2017
Interfaith Security Conference
Sponsored by Jewish Federation of Greater OKC. Contact Roberta Clark at roberta@jfedokc.org or call 405-848-3132 for more info. Register for 9:00 a.m. session OR 1:30 p.m. session. 

May 20, 2017
Kindling News Fires of Love - Church Women United Friendship Day Luncheon. 11:00 a.m. -1:30 p.m. at The Secret Place Community Church, 2611 MLK Ave., OKC. Contact Karen Buntin for more information at 405-314-8348 
or kbuntin300@ cox.net

May 25, 2017
Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Annual Awards Dinner at Charles Schusterman Jewish Community Center, 2021 E. 71st, Tulsa. 

July 15, 2017
CWU in Oklahoma - Highland Park United Methodist Church in Stillwater

October 20-21, 2017
CWU in Oklahoma Ecumenical Leaders' Retreat 

Oklahoma Conference of Churches
301 N.W. 36th St.
Oklahoma City 
(405) 525-2928

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches connects, motivates, and empowers the witness of Christian communities and individuals throughout Oklahoma on issues of faith and social justice.


The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Executive Director

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