The Oklahoma Conference of Churches will be conducting our 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 made easy with OCC's new registration system. Youth groups, schools and organizations are welcome!
OCC's Committee on the Environment met in June to discuss issues related to our state and the environment. Much discussion was devoted to State Question 777, or the so-called "Right to Farm" bill. Concern was expressed that if SQ777 is approved, the Oklahoma Constitution will be amended so that no new legislation may ever be introduced to regulate farming practices unless a court can be convinced that the state has a "compelling interest" in such legislation. This constitutional change would make it almost impossible to enact appropriate safeguards to protect small farms and the environment.
OPEN LETTER TO SPEAKER HICKMAN
Speaker Jeff Hickman
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches was part of a coalition of faith communities, other organizations, and individuals who co-signed an open letter to Speaker Jeff Hickman in mid-June. The letter was drafted in response to a request from Representative John Bennett for an interim study on "Radical Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the radicalization process." In the letter, we urged Speaker Hickman to deny the request for this interim study, H16-029, as it is unnecessary, fiscally irresponsible, and potentially counterproductive. In total, we collected over sixty signatures on the letter. For a copy of the letter, see the following article from the Oklahoman: Oklahoman Article.
PROTECTING HOUSES OF WORSHIP
On June 14, 2016, an event was held at the Oklahoma City University School of Law titled "Protecting Houses of Worship." The event aimed to 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. Over 400 people attended the event. A full rundown of the event can be found here: NewsOK Article.
RAMADAN IFTAR MEALS AT
RAINDROP TURKISH HOUSE
The Oklahoma Conference of Churches joined with the Oklahoma
City Raindrop Turkish House in co-sponsoring two Ramadan Iftar dinners, one on June 17, and one on June 24. During the month of Ramadan, the "iftar" is the breaking of the daily fast held from sunrise to sunset. The meals were used as a vehicle to educate the community on the faith of our Muslim neighbors in Oklahoma. Speakers included the Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee and Imam Dr. Imad Enchassi.
"What an amazing evening! I was privileged to celebrate my first Iftar with new and old Muslim friends from Iran, Iraq, and Turkey," stated Dick Klinge, Catholic Charities. "We shared a meal, friendship, and their evening prayer in Arabic. It was awesome. I am blessed to be able to meet and share time with so many people of many faiths from throughout the world."
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.
As temperatures and humidity outside climb to dangerous
levels, many Oklahomans do not have a safe place to go for relief and to prevent heat-related illnesses. Additional locations are needed to reach un-served areas of the Oklahoma City metro. Would your church or worship center be willing to participate in meeting this need? Cool Zones locations include libraries, shopping centers, community and senior citizen centers, churches/houses of worship. For a list of Cool Zones locations, click HERE.
To learn more about hosting a Cool Zone, click HERE.
Don't be left out! Apply to host a Cool Zone by clicking
OCC's Religions United Committee is planning a tour of the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art on Sunday, July 17, 2016. The tour will start at the museum, 2021 E. 71st Street, Tulsa, at 3:30 p.m. The cost is $40, with a catered buffet dinner at the museum included. Transportation is available for persons traveling from Oklahoma City; departure is planned for 1:45 p.m. For further information or to register, please contact Laurel Redding, OCC staff, at 405-525-2928 by July 13.
OCC Disaster Spiritual Care Team Responds to Lawton and Maysville Flooding
In this past month, hundreds of families in Oklahoma suffered damage or loss of their homes from flooding southern and southwestern Oklahoma, many of whom are now newly homeless and suffering from what we consider a "low attention" disaster.
In response, Oklahoma VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) agencies, including OCC, sponsored Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) in Lawton and Maysville. A Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) serves as a "one-stop shop" where those affected by the disaster find assistance. OCC's disaster spiritual care team "blue tags" worked with more than 350 disaster-affected individuals, providing a listening ear, spiritual care support, and serving as "ambassadors" as individuals met with the various VOAD agencies providing resources. The stories our team heard were moving, heartbreaking, and encouraging.
OCC's disaster spiritual care team has responded to nine Oklahoma disasters in the past fifteen months, many of which we continue to work in long-term recovery. According to seasoned disaster responders, the frequency with which our state has been affected is unprecedented. Our OCC team training, organizational capacity, and experience have certainly been needed. Oklahoma is blessed with wonderful clergy leaders who serve directly near the impacted communities. They serve as our eyes-and-ears-on-the-ground regarding emerging unmet needs and will help us develop strategies for ongoing spiritual care.
Mark your calendars now for the following significant OCC events:
Evening of Listening
"Middle East Crisis" St. Paul's Cathedral
Interfaith Youth Tour at 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 millio
n endowment. Funds raised will provide enduring support for OCC's programs in disaster spiritual care, social justice, and interfaith
Endowment opportunities include endowments ranging fr
om $5,000 to $1 million. For the news release announcing the campaign, click HERE.
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.
The OCC office will be closed on Monday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.
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.