2016:8
Register for Interfaith Youth Tour 2016
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches will be conducting its 9th annual Interfaith Youth Tour in Ok lahoma City on September 25, 2016. The tour will have stops at East Sixth Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Masjid Mu'min, and Vien Giac Buddhist Temple.

Along with educating the participants on aspects of Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, this year's tour will also give great insight into the experience of the historically African-American congregations of East Sixth Street Christian Church and Masjid Mu'min. 

$15 per person 
(includes transportation and snacks)

Group registration is easy with OCC's new registration system. Youth groups, schools and organizations are welcome!  
Register now by clicking 
Allen  Hertzke 
to Keynote 2016 OCC  Annual Dinner
 
Allen D. Hertzke, the David Ross Boyd Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma, will be the keynote speaker at the OCC Annual Dinner on November 10, 2016. Professor Hertzke is an internationally renowned expert on Religion and Politics. The title of his keynote speech will be "Why Religious Freedom Matters - Especially Now."

Prof. Hertzke's most recent book (co-edited with Tim Shaw) is Christianity and Freedom: Historical Perspectives on Christianity and Freedom: Contemporary Perspectives (2016). His earlier books on the topic are The Future of Religious Freedom: Global Challenges (2013) and Religious Freedom in America: Constitutional Roots and Contemporary Challenges (2013). For a more complete bio and his curriculum vitae, click  ALLEN HERTZKE

The 2016 OCC Annual Dinner will be held Thursday, November 10, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Hotel - Downtown Medical Center located at 741 North Phillips Avenue, Oklahoma City. Check-in and reception will start at 5:15 p.m., with dinner and program commencing at 6:00 p.m.  Tickets are $50 each. 

For information about reservations or event sponsorship, please contact William Tabbernee at the OCC office (405-525-2928).
 
Please mark your calendar now to avoid a potential scheduling conflict.  SAVE THE DATE:   November 10, 2016


Give a lift...Get a Lift
The Independent Transpo rtation Network (ITN) of Central Oklahoma provides low-cost rides to seniors and people with visual impairment to any place they want or need to go, including worship services, doctor appointments, hair salons, lunch with friends, etc. Unfortunately, we have people who continue to drive themselves after they are no longer safe because they simply cannot imagine losing their independence. The cost of taxis or Uber may be prohibitive, and many of our seniors need more personal help getting in and out of vehicles, or having friendly conversation, than is provided by traditional ride services.

ITN needs the help of the faith community to recruit volunteers to drive. They have plenty of people wanting rides (over 100 were provided last month in Oklahoma County), but they need more drivers. Volunteers can "bank" hours towards receiving their own rides in the future.

Please spread the word about this service to churches and especially the need for volunteer drivers. If possible, include in your church's weekly or monthly bulletin. A press release and flier have been developed for promotion to your congregations and organization members.

For more information, call 405-602-1558 or send e-mail to info@itncentraloklahoma.org. The ITN Central Oklahoma website is  www.itncentraloklahoma.org.


"People have worth, not because they are innocent, but because they are human."

OCC partners with "Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform" Coalition
 

"It is time to reform Oklahoma's criminal justice system. We must transform our system from one rooted in prisons and punishment to one that believes in a higher purposes. Fortunately for Oklahomans, a new effort is doing just that," stated Oklahoma City pastor Dr. Hance Dilbeck, who is also president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
 
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches believes advocacy of social justice to be one of the most important tenants of our work, and that includes criminal justice reform. Our IMPACT committee closely tracks Oklahoma legislation and advocates accordingly.
 
Recently, OCC partnered with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform to advocate for state questions 780 and 781, which will reclassify certain minor offenses like drug possession and low-level property offenses as misdemeanors and save money by reducing the number of people in prison. The savings will be invested in community rehabilitation programs like mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and job training.
 
We agree with Dr. Dilbeck, quoted in the April 7th edition of The Baptist Messenger as saying, "Oklahomans deserve a justice system that fosters strong families and improves quality of life. Children shouldn't be torn from their mothers and fathers, and families shouldn't slowly deteriorate because our justice system is without a redemptive focus."
   
"The members of OCC are proud to stand with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform as they push for these much-needed measures," said the Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

Led by former House Speaker Kris Steele, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform gathered over 230,000 signatures to get SQ 780 and 781 on the ballot in November. Comprised of some of Oklahoma's most prominent faith leaders, law enforcement and elected officials, health professionals, and business leaders, the OCJR is a coalition of community leaders and experts from across the state working to reduce the prison population, save money, and make Oklahoma communities safer by addressing the root causes of crime and helping people who have committed low-level offenses turn their lives around.

To learn more, go to www.okjusticereform.org.
 
Town Halls to be held on Criminal Justice Reform 

Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform have scheduled a series of Town Hall meetings throughout the state during August. The Oklahoma Conference of Churches is hosting the first of these Town Halls at East Central University's  Chickasaw Business and Conference Center , 830 E. Main Street, in Ada.

OCC Vice-president, the Rev. Dr. Victor McCullough will emcee the event which starts at 5:30 p.m. Speakers include former governor Brad Henry, Representatives George Young, Danielle Ezel (Executive Director, Oklahoma Women's Coalition), and Kris Steele (former House Speaker and now executive director of TEEM).


Find out when Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform is coming to your neighborhood, and RSVP to join them in making this reform a reality. Click this link:
 
presents
Dancing in Jaffa -  A film to encourage respect for diversity.  

Confident that dance will dissolve political and cultural differences, celebrated ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine returns to his hometown of Jaffa, Israel, after years abroad and teaches 11-year-old Jewish and Palestinian Israelis to dance together.

Sunday, August 21, 1:45 p.m. 
Mercy Mission Building 
 3840 N. St. Claire, OKC

RSVP is required for this free event.  
To view the film trailer and to RSVP,  click HERE
As temperatures rise, we need more COOL ZONES! 

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches invites you to sign up your organization today!

Residents in Central Oklahoma need a place to cool off during the heat of an oppressive summer day.  To learn more about hosting a Cool Zone, click  HERE .

For a list of Cool Zones locations, click HERE .

Don't be left out! Apply to host a Cool Zone by clicking 
COOL ZONES LOCATION FORM. Return the completed form to OCC office. 
AUGUST 2016

OCC is a 501(c)(3) 
organization.

Your gift is tax deductible! 
Please click here to donate.


An Update on OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care program s erving disaster-affected Oklahomans  

In addition to numerous prepared-ness events, trainings, and presentations, the OCC Disaster Emotional Spiritual Care program has responded to an unprecedented eleven new Oklahoma disasters in the last sixteen months. 

We continue to work in long-term recovery for many of these incidents, and many could be described as "low-attention disasters."

Since March 2015, OCC has responded to the following Oklahoma disasters:

2015
  • March 25, 2015: Moore EF-2 Tornado Central Oklahoma 
  • March 25, 2015: Sand Springs/Sapulpa Tornado - Northeastern Oklahoma 
  • May 1, 2015 through June 22, 2015: Flooding in 45 Counties - Approximately the south-eastern two-thirds of the state.
  • May 6, 2015: South OKC, Moore, Bridge Creek Tornadoes - Central Oklahoma 
  • October 24, 2015: Oklahoma State University Homecoming Parade, intentional vehicular homicides. OCC was the lead  agency for the "Care and Community Resource Center," at the invitation of the OSU Vice President for Student Affairs. 
  • December 26-27, 2015: Flooding - Northeast Oklahoma
2016 
  • March 30, 2016: Tulsa, Claremore, Verdigris Tornado - Northeast Oklahoma
  • May 9, 2016: Tornado - South central Oklahoma
  • May 9, 2016: Tornado - Southeast Oklahoma
  • June 12, 2016: Flooding, Lawton area - Southwest Oklahoma 
  • June 12, 2016: Flooding, Maysville area South Central Oklahoma
A full report of OCC's disaster spiritual care activities can be found at this link: Click here .

Due to the cumulative nature of traumatic events, communities and states that have been impacted multiple times by disasters have emotional and spiritual care needs that cannot be cleanly tied to a single event. We are so very thankful for those who provide funding for our program and recognize the importance of emotional and spiritual care efforts far beyond the most immediately visible needs.

UPCOMING TRAININGS:
Dates for the Fall 2016 Disaster Spiritual Care Academy will be announced soon. To sign up for notification of future OCC disaster spiritual care trainings, click here .

For more general information about OCC's Disaster Program go to: 


________________
 

Disaster Renewal Retreat Scheduled for August 11
 
A " Resilience and Renewal for Disaster Responders:  A Time to Rest, Refocus, and Recharge" event has been scheduled for all who have responded to our long-running series of Oklahoma disasters.
 
Thursday, August 11, 2016
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
St. Paul's Cathedral
127 N.W. 7th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
 
Benefits include:
  • Enjoy time and space for rest and reflection.
  • Share experiences that impacted you. 
  • Recognize and learn to alleviate common signs of stress
  • Strengthen positive connections in your life.
  • Learn tools and develop a plan for resilience.
The retreat is free to those who would like to attend. Lunch will be provided so registration is important for an accurate headcount. 

To register, click below:



Contact Mary Hughes Gaudreau
or  405-315-1528  
for additional information. 

The Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau 
Director of Emotional and 
Spiritual Care
SAVE THE DATE
Mark your calendars now for the following significant OCC events:

Sept. 15
Evening of Listening -
"Middle East Crisis" 
St. Paul's Cathedral

Sept. 25 
Interfaith Youth Tour at various OKC metro locations

Oct. 20
Evening of Listening - 
St. Paul's Cathedral

Nov. 10
OCC Annual Dinner -
Embassy Suites Downtown / Medical Complex, OKC
COMMUNITY EVENTS

September 1 

Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry - Delegate Meeting. For more information contact Rita Burns at 918-582-3147 or e-mail  rburns@tumm.org 

Endowment
 Campaign

OCC is con-duct ing a $5 millio n endow-ment campaign. Funds raised 
will provide enduring support for OCC's programs in disast er spiritual care, social justice, and interfaith  understanding. 
 
Endowment opportunities include endowments ranging fr om $5,000 to $1 million. For the news release announcing the campaign, click HERE .
 

The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Executive Director
________________
 
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches connects, motivates, and empowers the witness of Christian communities and individuals through-out Oklahoma on issues of faith and social justice. 

Oklahoma Conference of Churches
301 N.W. 36th Street,
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 525-2928
                 www. okchurches.org