On May 9, 2016, tornadoes descended across so
uthern Oklahoma, killing two persons and destroying or causing major damage to more than 115 homes. We hold those who have lost loved ones and property in our hearts and prayers-and our outreach. Soon after the emergency had stabilized, OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care Team responded with trained and credentialed faith community leaders. The stories our team hears are moving, heartbreaking, and encouraging as people find their way through some of the most challenging days of their lives.
In Garvin and Murray Counties, OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care Team joined with our Oklahoma VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) partners in a Sulfur, Oklahoma Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC). A "MARC" serves as a "one stop shop" where those affected by the tornadoes meet with multiple VOAD agencies offering services and goods. Our OCC team met with disaster-affected families, providing a listening ear, spiritual care support, and serving as "ambassadors" as individuals met with the various VOAD agencies. OCC Disaster Spiritual Care Team Leader Tim Kowalski (pastor, First Christian Church, Sulfur) will continue to be involved locally as long-term recovery progresses.
In Choctaw County (Hugo/Boswell/Bennington/Soaper area),
OCC Care Team leaders Roger and Cathy Barnes, co-pastors at First Christian Church, Hugo, spent time assessing area damage and providing spiritual care to tornado-affected families. They were also able to provide very helpful damage information to our Oklahoma VOAD partners. They are our ongoing, local "eyes-and-ears-on-the-ground" regarding emerging unmet needs.
We are very blessed to have wonderful local clergy leaders who serve directly near the impacted communities. Please keep all of our disaster-affected Oklahomans and our responders in your prayers.
EDUCATING CHRISTIANS ABOUT THEIR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS
An overflow crowd in the chapel of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Norman had the opportunity to hear expert panelists and ask questions about Islam on May 17, 2016.
Panelists for the discussions were the Rev. Dr. Charles Kimball, Imam Dr. Imad Enchassi, and the Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee.
INTERFAITH YOUTH TOUR
September 25, 2016 OCC's Religions United Committee will conduct the highly popular annual
Interfaith Youth Tour.
We will be visiting East Sixth Street Christian Church, Masjid Mu'min, and Vien Giac Buddhist Temple. The tour is for students in grades 7-12. The objective of the tour is for us to gain understanding of our neighbors and appreciation for the diversity around us. The tour will cost $15 per person and includes transportation. Registration opens July 1 at okchurches.org. Groups are welcome!
Dealing with Conflict in the Family of Faith A live presentation for clergy and clinical staff
Regarding this next item, I'm not at all pleased. I am getting the picture that when you meet together it brings out your worst side instead of your best! First, I get this report on your divisiveness, competing with and criticizing each other. I'm reluctant to believe it, but there it is. The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it.
I Corinthians 11:17-19
Even under the best working circumstances, conflict issues arise. Whether the dispute is a simple misunderstanding or a "personal power" problem, conflict can have a tremendous and costly negative impact, especially in the church. This presentation explores sources of conflict, ways to deal with it, and offers suggestions toward thoughtful and healthy resolution.
Presenter and Ordained Episcopal Priest, Nick Mezacapa, M.Div., recently retired after 29 years as rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Rochester, Minnesota. Mezacapa has a long-term relationship with Mayo Clinic as a motivational speaker, and has inspired audiences across the country with his exceptional and unforgettable presentations, building upon the theme "Survival and Spirituality."
Monday, June 6, 2016
INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center - Auditorium
3300 N.W. Expressway, OKC
No registration required for this free program provided by
Approved continuing education credits available for social workers, nurses and therapists.
Promoted by Oklahoma Interfaith Power and Light, the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition, the Peace House, Oklahoma Conference of Churches' Committee on the Environment, and the Sierra Club.
Through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China,
Catching the Sun is a feature length documentary that explores the global race to a clean energy future. Catching the Sun follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry and sheds light on the path to an economically and environmentally sustainable future. Through personal stories that illuminate the universal theme of hope for a better life, and set against the struggle to build a 'green economy,'
Catching the Sun will engage new audiences in solutions to climate change and income inequality. Join us for this special showing on:
This workshop will provide faith-based leadership with information about religious hate crimes, how the police and FBI conduct threat assessments, and how to fortify houses of worship from potential hate crimes and active shooter situations.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Oklahoma City University School of Law 800 N. Harvey Avenue, OKC
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches joined many in opposing Senate Bill 1604, a bill that would cut the
Earned Income Tax Credit, and harm many poor families. We sent a letter signed by many clergy, and we urged Governor Fallin to veto the bill. Click here to
read the letter.
To watch a video of Rep.George Young arguing against SB1604 on the House Chamber floor, click here: VIDEO
Around the fifteenth of each month, OCC produces a Social Justice Ministry Network electronic newsletter. The SJMN newsletter contains updates on specific state legislation being monitored by OCC's IMPACT Committee, as well as on any related action taken by OCC. Focus areas are: Criminal Justice, Education, the Environment, Immigration, Poverty, and Health.
This free source of important information is distributed throughout Oklahoma to Social Justice Ministry Network representatives but is available to anyone. If you would like to receive the monthly SJMN newsletter, please notify us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click this link to read the MAY edition.
OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care Team has responded to seven new Oklahoma disasters within the past 14 months, an exhausting pace with which few states can compare. OCC builds capacity by training our trustworthy and vetted spiritual care providers through Disaster Spiritual Care Academies. Acadamies are offered in multi-day formats, allowing participants to take necessary coures in "blocks" of days to earn their disaster spritual care credentials. All trainings will be held in Oklahoma City:
OCC's 2016 Summer Disaster Spiritual Care Academy
Basic AcademyJune 8-10
Team Leader Academy June 28-30
Each "Basic DSC Academy" will include courses that apply toward the "Deployed" disaster spiritual care team credentialing including:
--Local Spiritual Care Responder
--Psychological First Aid
--Religious and Cultural Competence
--Intermediate Disaster Spiritual Care
DSC Team Leader Academy" will include courses that apply toward the "Team Leader" credentialing including:
--Disaster Spiritual Care Team Leader
Training and QPR (Question/Persuade/
--ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills
Registration closes the Monday before specific classes begin. Limited scholarships are available.
Mark your calendars now for the following significant 2016 OCC Events:
Evening of Listening
"Middle East Crisis" St. Paul's Cathedral
Interfaith Youth Tour Various OKC metro locations
Evening of Listening
St. Paul's Cathedral
OCC Annual Dinner
Embassy Suites Downtown / Medical Complex, OKC
Evening of Listening
St. Paul's Cathedral
OCC Endowment Campaign
OCC is conducting a $5 million endowment. Funds raised will provide enduring support for OCC's programs in disaster spiritual care, social justice, and interfaith understanding.
Endowment opportunities include endowments ranging from $5,000 to $1 million. For the news release announcing the campaign, click HERE.
OKC Dialogue Institute Honors the Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
OCC's executive director was honored on May 10, 2016 by the Dialogue Institute at its Annual Dinner held at The Skirvin Hotel in OKC. Dr. Tabbernee received the institute's
Interfaith Dialogue Award. Click this link to watch the videoof Dr. Tabbernee explaining the importance of interfaith relations. Congratulations Dr. Tabbernee!
WHOLE CREATION COMMUNITY
Founded by Bishop Steven Charleston and others at St. Paul's Cathedral (OKC), the Whole Creation Community promotes prayer, education, and action to celebrate and encourage responsible care of God's creation.
Committee on the Environment now incorporates the Whole Creation Community. Check out the Whole Creation Community Facebook page HERE and
"Like" the page to enable you to read the (almost) daily meditations.
2016 OCC ANNUAL DINNER
OCC's Annual Dinner this year will be held November 10, 2016, at a new location: Embassy Suites Downtown - Medical Complex, 741 N. Phillips Ave., OKC.
Please mark your calendar now to avoid a potential scheduling conflict. SAVE THE DATE:
November 10, 2016
Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Annual Awards Dinner. Harvard Avenue Christian Church, 5501 S. Harvard, Tulsa. Contact email@example.com or phone
"Getting Smart on Crime"
A focus on Criminal Justice Reform
On May 12, OCC's
Evening of Listening topic was criminal justice. Being touch on crime has been the focus of Oklahoma's law system, but, unfortunately, it has not worked. Criminal Justice Reform is necessary in Oklahoma but first we need to be smart on crime.
Held at St. Paul's Cathedral, OKC, this event included discussions on current legislation and its impact. Special thanks to moderator Rev. Dr. Stan Basler (St. Paul School of Theology's Visiting Professor of Restorative Justice and Prison Ministry) and
Ryan Kiesel - Executive Director, ACLU Oklahoma
Allen Lane - Chief, Spencer Police Department
Kris Steele - Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform and Former Speaker of the House
Nisha Wilson - Specialty Courts Director, Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Join us on September 15 at St. Paul's Cathedral for the next in our Evening of Listening series: "Middle East Crisis."
The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
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.