February 2018
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.
Retirement Celebration for The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Please make plans to join the Oklahoma Conference of Churches as we celebrate the ministry of our Executive Director, William Tabbernee, on Monday, February 5, 2018 from 4:30-6 p.m . The reception will take place at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City (1232 North Classen Blvd, Oklahoma City).
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.

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

CommonWealth Urban Farms, NW 32nd and Olie Streets in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Contact Pat Hoerth, 580.917.6011 pathoerth@gmail.com
OCC Emotional and Spiritual Care
OCC’s national benchmark 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.

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.
Justice and Advocacy: Get Engaged!
The 2018 Legislative Session will begin on Monday, February 5, 2018, with Governor Fallin giving a State of the State address. The IMPACT Committee with OCC has started our work tracking the legislative session and will follow the tracked bills as they begin to make their way through the legislative process. We call upon each of you to consider your level of engagement in the Legislative process, especially when it comes to Social Justice and our call as people of faith. Would you like to be a part of movements that change the world? The work of advocacy is very important to 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!
Lee Gordon of Hand in Hand to visit Oklahoma City
Hand in Hand brings together thousands of Jews and Arabs in six schools and communities throughout Israel. In Jerusalem. In the Galilee. In Wadi Ara. In Tel Aviv-Jaffa. In Haifa. In Tira & Kfar Saba. With many more continually joining. We are proving on a daily basis the viability of inclusion and equality for all citizens of Israel.

Mr. Gordon will be at Temple B'nai Israel on Tuesday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. He will be in Oklahoma to receive the Brock Prize for Education. To read more about Mr. Gordon click HERE.
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.
Join us to show support at Muslim Day at the Capitol
Join the Oklahoma Conference of Churches and The Interfaith Alliance to show support for our Muslim neighbors at their annual Day at the Capitol on Monday, March 5, 2018. Sign up below to participate in protecting our friends from words of hate from protestors at the Capitol.

Save the Date: OCC Spring Benefit Breakfast
Mark your calendars now for our Spring Benefit Breakfast, which will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral. More info to come in the next months.
Neustadt Lectures at OCU
Raising Resilient Oklahomans Conference
"A Day with Ruby Payne"
Free Workshop offered
As a follow-up to the fall event, "What every church member should know about poverty", we will be offering  A   Day with Ruby Payne  this spring. You did not need to attend the fall event to attend this one!  .4 CEU’s  will be offered. This event is open to clergy and lay people.

The workshop will be held on  Thursday, March 15, 2018  at First UMC, Moore (201 West Main).

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with the seminar from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be a 1.5 hour lunch break as lunch will not be served on-site.

This important workshop provides information and issues to increase knowledge and awareness of the culture of poverty, and ways that churches may minister to individuals from poverty. Topics include the hidden rules of middle class, language patterns and cognition, violence and conflict resolution, family and relationship building and church participation. Participants will discuss how to invite poverty groups as members and explore the issues surrounding the transition and integration of these groups into the church community. This workshop is based on the book,  What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty  by Bill Ehlig and Dr. Ruby K. Payne. This workshop is designed for members of the faith community, ministers, and church staff members.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Conference Discipleship Ministry Team, Mission and Service Ministry Team and the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation.

For more information, please contact The Rev. Derrek Belase, director of discipleship, at   dbelase@okumc.org 405-530-2144.
2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service took place on Sunday, January 24 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. This annual service is put on by the Oklahoma Alliance for Liturgy and the Arts. Thank you to OALA and Westminster Presbyterian Church for the wonderful service.
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.
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.