SEPTEMBER 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.
Hurricane Harvey: Seven Things You Can Do
As our thoughts, prayers, and concerns focus toward the heartbreaking stories emerging from Hurricane Harvey, it can be difficult to watch from the comfort of our own homes. Mary Hughes Gaudreau , OCC's Director of Disaster Spiritual Care and an experienced disaster responder, offers advice about appropriate ways to respond.

1) PRAY for those who have been directory impacted by these storms and for the responders. If you know someone who is directly affected or who is responding onsite, consider offering support with occasional, short, and encouraging text messages or letting them know specific times each day you will be praying for them.

2) STAY Remember that "all disasters are local" and affected communities decide when to request specific support so that additional burden isn't added to local incident commanders. Affiliate with existing disaster response organizations to know if and when to go into disaster areas.

3) DONATE RESPONSIBLY Don't donate used clothing or household items, old computers, or other items not specifically requested by established disaster response organizations. These become a major burden to disaster-affected communities.

Cash donations are always best. Donate money through trusted organizations, particularly your affiliated faith-based disaster response organizations. For a list of OCC members' affiliated disaster response programs, click here .

Do consider creating standardized clean-up buckets and hygiene kits to be distributed by faith-based partners. For more information contact: Rebekah Belase of Church world Service.

4) PLAN TO VOLUNTEER LATER Be patient. Recovery lasts much longer than media attention. Remember that long-term disaster recovery needs will continue for years to come and many faith-based organizations will be offering volunteer opportunities.

5) CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING RIGHT NOW IN OKLAHOMA Wile you wait for the opportunity to assist with long-term recovery efforts in Texas, consider that more than 200 families right here in Oklahoma need volunteers to repair their homes damaged in our 2015 floods. Click here for the Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster Response Network where you can find volunteer information.

You may also want to consider becoming a part of OCC's credentialed Disaster Spiritual Care Team. More information about trainings are available in this newsletter.

6) MONITOR you own reactions, triggers, and stress level. The stories and pictures are disturbing. Be particularly aware of short-term "disaster adrenaline" and "disaster guilt" that may trigger stress reactions that can drift into "fight-flight" (I must do something right now!) and "freeze" (I feel completely helpless--there's nothing I can do). Disaster survivors will need the sustained energy and compassion of caring faith communities for years to come. Be particularly careful about social media posting. Reposting incorrect or exaggerated stories can amplify anxiety in already stressful situations.

7) PREPARE Check your own disaster preparedness plans. Given Oklahoma's frequent disasters, you can lessen the potential burden upon your family and community by strengthening your own individual and family preparedness. For more information go to www.ready.gov .

REMEMBER "It's about the people we serve."
2017 Interfaith Youth Tour

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches' Religions United Committee proudly presents the Annual Interfaith Youth Tour, which will take place on  Sunday September 17, 2017  from 1-5:30 p.m.

Click  here  for more information and registration.  

2017 Interfaith Meal

The Religions United Committee is also pleased to offer an Interfaith Meal on  Sunday October 15, 2017  from 2-4 p.m. at First Unitarian Church (600 NW 13th Street; OKC) The cost will be $5.00 per person and registration will be available soon! Please make plans to attend this wonderful event. More info to come soon.
2017 Annual Dinner

Make plans to attend our 2017 Annual Dinner on  Thursday, November 9, 2017  at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Interested in sponsoring a table? Email  Courtland Powers  to make arrangements.
2018 Day at the Legislature

Save the date for the 2018 Oklahoma Conference of Churches Day at the Legislature on Monday, February 26, 2018 at the Oklahoma State Capitol and St. Paul's Cathedral. More details to come soon.
What's Up in the Middle East? Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches is proud to introduce the first Fall Evening of Listening and will welcome a distinguished panel to discuss issues surrounding relationships with the U.S. and the Middle East, specifically Iran and Saudi Arabia. Dr. Mateo Farzaneh from Northeastern Illinois University will join us as our featured speaker for the evening with panelists Marjan Seirafi-Pour  and Samer S. Shehata , both of the University of Oklahoma. Look for more information about this wonderful event in the coming weeks! This special event will happen on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 6:30 p.m . at St. Paul's Cathedral (127 NW 7th Street; OKC)

Information about ALL of the Fall Evenings of Listening can be found here .
Fall “Local Disaster Spiritual Care Responder” Training Scheduled

Oklahoma experiences, on average, a new disaster somewhere in our state every 6 weeks. It can happen in a moment. Although we can't predict where the next disaster will strike, OCC is working to build volunteer capacity throughout the state.

Three upcoming "Local Spiritual Care Responder" trainings are scheduled in the next few weeks. These trainings will qualify participants to receive OCC's disaster spiritual care credential that is recognized by emergency management officials and our other VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) partners:

September 21, 2017
Laverne, OK Local Disaster Spiritual Care Responder Training
Click  here  to register for the September 21 training in Laverne.

October 10, 2017
Elk City, OK Local Disaster Spiritual Care Responder Training
Click here to register for the October 10 training in Elk City.

October 24, 2017
McAlester, OK Local Disaster Spiritual Care Responder Training
Click here to register for the October 24 training in McAlester.

  • 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 for an update on OCC’s disaster spiritual care program.
Evening of Viewing

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches will host an Evening of Viewing, showing the film " Tomorrow ", at St. Paul's Cathedral, OKC on Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event is free to the public. Save the date!
Social Justice Ministry

A vital part of the ministry of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches is engaging in faith driven social justice advocacy. We would love for you to be a part of the all-important work of our Social Justice Ministry Network. Do you have interest in being a part of the network? You will receive updates on events at the Capitol, social justice events near you, advocacy alerts, and news updates, as well as an E-Newsletter on the 15th of each month. Email The Rev. Shannon Fleck  to be added to the list.
OCC Art Auction Fundraiser with Special Keynote Speaker-Brad Price
Please make plans to join the Oklahoma Conference of Churches for an evening of Art at NorthHaven Church in Norman, OK on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 6:30 p.m . Dinner will be served from 6:30-7:30, with an Art Auction to follow. Cost for the event is $20 per person. Registration information to come soon.
Oklahoma City University's Fall Willson Lectures welcome Nadia Bolz-Weber
The Willson Lectures will take place on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 1:00, 2:30, and 7:00 p.m . in Bishop Angie Smith Chapel at Oklahoma City University and are complete FREE to the public.

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (Convergent, 2015), available in bookstores now. She's also the author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television (Seabury 2008), and the New York Times bestselling theological memoir, Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint (Jericho, 2013). Nadia has been featured in BBC World Service, The Washington Post, Bitch magazine, NPR's Morning Edition, Fresh Air, More Magazine, The Daily Beast, and on CNN.

Nobody really believes she's an ordained pastor in the ELCA. Maybe it's the sleeve tattoos or the fact that she swears like a truck driver. Either way... she's fine with it. Nadia lives in Denver with her family of 4 where she can be found writing bios in the third person, lifting weights, and walking her Great Dane, Zacchaeus.

For more information contact Leslie Long or Annette Harper . 405.208.5284
Hate or Hospitality?
Join psychologist Dr. Richard Beck, Rev. Lori Walke, and Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi for a discussion about the Psychology of Hate. Our expert, interfaith panel will discuss the social and scientific factors that draw us towards hatred or hospitality. This event is free to the public and will take place on Sunday, October 1 at 6 p.m. Check out the event on Facebook .
YOU'RE INVITED!

Join Cardinal Amato, Archbishop Coakley and the faithful of Oklahoma in the celebration of the Beatification of Venerable Servant of God Father Stanley Francis Rother - first U.S. martyr and first U.S. priest to be beatified. The celebration will take place Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the Cox Convention Center. For more information on the event, click here .
OCC Director Offers Six Week Course at St. Luke's Edmond
How do we, as people of faith, prepare for and respond to the inevitable crises around us--those experienced by others as well as crises within our own lives? Participants in this six-week series, offered by Mary Hughes Gaudreau, will learn basic information about high stress and trauma, how to respond to someone else in crisis, practical strategies for managing our own stress, and steps to prepare for common disasters in Oklahoma. Classes will take place on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30, Wednesday September 13-October 18.
A Message from Archbishop Coakley
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Over the past several days, many of you have been following the historic flooding in southeast Texas. Hurricane Harvey has created an unprecedented catastrophic weather event for Texas, and the storm is now poised to strike Louisiana.

While our prayerful support for those affected is certainly appropriate and necessary, our urgent financial support also is needed. In response to this great need, the bishops of the United States have called for a special emergency collection to take place in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City over the next two weekends. I have authorized this special emergency collection to take place in parishes around the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City on either or both of the next two weekends, September 2-3 and/or September 9-10.

The emergency collection will be used both to support the humanitarian and recovery efforts through Catholic Charities USA and to provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses through the bishops’ conference.

Please go online to  www.archokc.org/harvey  and make your gift to help those in need. Also, I ask you to please share this information with your friends and family, so that together we can make a difference in the lives of thousands of families and parishioners.

Join me in praying for those impacted that they experience Christ’s healing touch.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Volunteer Opportunity

There are 383 disaster survivors from 2015 spring storms in disaster case management with 56 ready for volunteers to do home repairs and more becoming ready every week. What will your  Response - Ability  be to those in need? Find out more  here .
Attention Central Oklahoma Residents
You are invited to participate in the United Way of Central Oklahoma 2017 Household Survey. This survey is being conducted by United Way of Central Oklahoma in collaboration with the Center of Applied Research for Nonprofit Organizations.
 
This survey has been estimated to take 15 minutes. All personal data and responses will remain confidential and anonymous. By completing the survey, you may choose to be entered in a drawing to receive a $100 visa gift card from the Center of Applied Research for Nonprofit Organizations .
 
The purpose of this study is to identify the most urgent health and human services needs in central Oklahoma. By understanding these critical needs, United Way of Central Oklahoma can better serve our community by convening and rallying community leaders, members and stakeholders around these tough issues as well as ensuring charitable resources are directed to areas where they can be most impactful.

Survey available here .
COMMUNITY EVENTS

September 10, 2017
    National Day of Prayer for National
   Suicide Prevention Month - Sponsored
   by the National Action Alliance for
   Suicide Prevention. More information
    here .

October 3, 2017
    Safe Town Domestic Violence Training
    Metro Technology Center OKC
   (More info here)

October 5, 6, 2017
    Zarrow Mental health Symposium: 
  Challenging Injustice and     
    Discrimination - Cox Business Center in
   Tulsa (More info  here )

October 20, 21, 2017
    Church Women United in Oklahoma 
   Ecumenical Leaders' Retreat  - Altus 
   ( For more information, contact Lynne 
   Bussell at lbussell@suddenlink.net

October 22, 2017
John Michael Talbot Concert - Epiphany
of the Lord Catholic Church, OKC (More
information here )

October 29, 2017
Our Common Heritage Music Festival -
Ephipany of the Lord Catholic Church,
OKC at 4 p.m.

November 12, 2017
Jewish Muslim Film Institute - showing
the comedy "Dough" at Emmanuel
Synagogue, OKC at 1:45 p.m. RSVP here
Saturday, November 11, 2017
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
OKC Civic Center, Hall of Mirrors
The OCC offices will be closed on Monday, September 4, 2017 for the labor day holiday.
A Lasting Legacy
Consider giving to the Oklahoma Conference of Churches Endowment Campaign, a gift that will ensure the work of the Conference for many years to come.

With this endowment campaign, we seek to build an enduring foundation for our vital work in uniting Oklahoma's faith community in service of social justice, interfaith understanding, and spiritual care in times of crisis. Email  Courtland Powers  for more information today.

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.