DECEMBER 2017
CONNECT
A MONTHLY E-NEWSLETTER OF THE OKLAHOMA CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES
The latest news and information from OCC
We are thrilled to have you as a part of our network and we look forward to sharing the latest OCC news with you each month. We are always looking for ways to involve as many people as possible in our work. Interested in getting involved? Email The Rev. Shannon Fleck today to get plugged in to our wonderful efforts statewide! 
Your gift is tax deductible. OCC is a 501(c)(3) organization.
At the 2018 Day at the Legislature, we will discuss "Equal Justice", focusing on topics of Race and Immigration and look forward to meaningful workshops and speakers to engage us in these topics from the lens of our call as people of faith. Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us in February!
OCC to Host Benefit Breakfast in Lawton
OCC will host a Benefit Breakfast at First Christian Church, Lawton, OK (701 SW D Avenue) on Wednesday, December 13th. Check in and Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the morning's events to conclude promptly at 9 a.m. Please email Courtland Powers for more information!
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018
The 2018 Unity Service will take place on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 4 p.m . at Westminster Presbyterian Church (4400 North Shartel Avenue, OKC, OK). The service will feature speakers Bishop James G. (Jimmy) Nunn, Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Dr. Matt Meinke, Stated Clerk, Indian Nations Presbytery.

This event is sponsored by the Oklahoma Alliance for Liturgy and the Arts.
Hands in the Soil: Clergy at CommonWealth
Clergy Renewal Through Environmental Awareness

*A Brand New Program for Clergy of ALL Faith Traditions
Details: A small group (6-8) of clergy attend a day-long program once a month, in which they spend three hours working on an urban farm (CommonWealth Urban Farms in uptown Oklahoma City.) Following lunch together, the cohort processes with a spiritual director and environmental educator from Turtle Rock Farm In Town, around their spiritual and emotional experiences working in nature; explore the value for themselves and the church of growing food; study theological themes in ecospirituality, and how they might move congregants into creation care—through worship experience, community gardens, environmental justice.

At the end of the nine-month program, the participants will schedule with CommonWealth Urban Farms a Saturday morning tour for three of their church members.

The program is underwritten by Green Connections. Also, as a statement of their commitment to attend the entire program, participants pay $25 a month ($225, due at time of registration.) The fee will cover food, utilities, equipment costs. CEUs are available .

Purpose of the program:
  • To allow Earth/Nature/Creation to provide clergy healing and renewal through monthly time with their hands in the soil, experiencing life in a garden.
  • To experience community in a cohort of clergy as they work and share together.
  • To come to know the value of leading their congregations into creation care and how to do that (language in worship, environmental justice and growing food together.)

Short Term Goals
  • Clergy develop a community of peers outside their denominational culture.
  • Clergy get some fresh air and exercise.
  • Clergy experience the healing properties of gardening.
  • Clergy have the opportunity to process their experience with a trained spiritual director in a group setting.
  • Clergy celebrate at table during a healthy (locally-grown) weekly lunch with peers.
  • Clergy receive emotional and spiritual support.
  • Clergy explore theological aspects of creation care.

Long Term Goals
  • Clergy come to realize the value of growing food in community.
  • Clergy develop skills to lead congregations into possibility of developing gardens.
  • Clergy grow in understanding of value of our planet, and saving it.
  • Clergy become equipped to lead worship using images of God from nature; develop other ways to bring creation awareness into weekly liturgy.
  • Clergy are trained in ways to lead their congregations into environmental stewardship.
  • Clergy have the opportunity to facilitate their congregations’ exploration of environmental justice.

Timeline
Starts: Friday, March 3, 2018
Ends: Friday, November 3, 2018

Location:
CommonWealth Urban Farms, NW 32 nd and Olie Streets in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Contact Pat Hoerth, 580.917.6011 pathoerth@gmail.com
Justice and Advocacy: Get Engaged!
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches is proud to work hard to track legislation and the legislative process on behalf of the communities of faith we represent, but also, to encourage your engagement with the process! Do you know who represents you in the State of Oklahoma and nationally? Do you know how to reach them? Click the button below to find out and keep the information handy. As the Legislature returns for special session (round 2) and into regular session in the spring, we want to encourage each of you to get engaged if you're not already! Advocacy is very important to the work of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, but we need all of you to join us as we advocate for those who need our voice the most. Want to receive alerts specifically targeted for these purposes? Sign up for our Social Justice Ministry Network by emailing The Rev. Shannon Fleck to be added to the list today!
OCC Fall Disaster Spiritual Care Trainings
 
OCC’s Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care program held the final disaster spiritual care trainings for 2017 this week as participants completed Local Spiritual Care Responder, Intermediate Disaster Spiritual Care, Question Persuade, Refer (suicide prevention) and Religious and Cultural Competence training modules. Special thanks to Julie Summers and Karen LaPlante from Mental Health Oklahoma who provided our QPR training. 2018 training dates will be announced soon!

OCC’s disaster spiritual care program is compliant with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster Spiritual Care Guidelines and Points of Consensus. Our program is possible as a result of the generous financial support from our national, state, and local faith-based partners.

Questions about the Disaster Spiritual Care program? Contact The Rev. Mary Gaudreau today, mgaudreau@okchurches.org, 405-315-1528.
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Click   here   to receive email notification of future disaster spiritual and emotional care trainings.

Click  here   for a more detailed description of OCC’s three credentialing categories, training, qualifications, and accountability requirements.

Click   here  f or an update on OCC’s disaster spiritual care program.
Religions United Committee plans next Interfaith International Trip
After the success of the first Interfaith International Trip to the Holy Land, another trip is being planned for November 25-December 5, 2018! Space is limited and participants will be expected to participate in meetings prior to the trip to become better informed about the conflict and history in the region. Please send an email of interest to ReligionsUnitedTravel@gmail.com if you would like more information.
Consider an End of Year Gift to OCC
The end of another year is upon us, and as the Oklahoma Conference of Churches looks ahead to the important work of 2018 we would appreciate your consideration of an end of year gift which makes our work possible.

It is through your generous support that we are able to provide some of the most innovative and comprehensive Disaster Spiritual Care in the nation, training over 160 Interfaith Leaders to provide care after a disaster. It is through your gifts we are able to engage in thorough and open Interfaith Ministry, providing events and panels to create a state where we truly know and love our neighbors. And it is through your gifts we are able to be present in the work of Social Justice through the lens of our call as people of faith, standing up for those who need it the most.

We are truly grateful for your support, and very much look forward to a meaningful 2018!
Volunteer Opportunity

Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster Response is thankful for five more months of operations. We have 209 families in need of home repairs from the 2015 storms. Your help is needed immediately as we work to help those still in need. Register HERE to volunteer.
The office of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches will be closed December 21- January 1 in recognition of the Christmas holiday and the New Year. We will be back in the office on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Oklahoma Conference of Churches
301 N.W. 36th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
(405) 525-2928

The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Executive Director


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