"Pivotal Partnerships"  was an apt theme for OCC's 2016 Central Oklahoma Benefit Breakfast at St. Paul's Cathedral in OKC on April 14. Around 140 people enjoyed the wonderful meal provided by St. Paul's  Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Attendees learned more about OCC from Rabbi Vered Harris (Interfaith Partnerships); the Rev. Pam Holt, the Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau and Wing Chaplain Sam Tucker (Disaster Spiritual Care Partnerships); and the Rev. Dr. Mark Davies (Social Justice Ministry Partnerships).   

Almost $12,000 was raised to support the ministry of OCC, well on the way toward the $15,000 goal. If you would like to help us reach that goal, please click  HERE to donate now. Thank you!   
OCC Signs Memorandum of 
Understanding with Tinker AFB

In a first-of-its kind arrangement, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches has signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Tinker Air Force Base Chaplain's office. OCC's  disaster spiritual care team can now be called upon to serve Tinker civilian workers during crisis events. Federal guidelines limit the role of military chaplains who are primarily authorized to serve active military personnel. While the agreement is voluntary and subject to the capacity and availability of the OCC Disaster Spiritual Care Team, this new M.O.U. allows OCC's trustworthy, previously vetted and trained spiritual care providers to supplement the work of the Tinker Chaplain's office.     READ MORE


Dr. William Tabbernee and Chaplain Sam Tucker sign 
an historic MOU during the OCC Benefit Breakfast.

  Is the "Right to Farm" the "Right to Harm"? 

Insightful questions by moderator Louisa McCune enabled the five panelists to provide pertinent and helpful information to the 120 people who came to listen, learn, and discuss SQ777 on April 14, 2016 at St. Paul's Cathedral. The proposed "Right to Farm" constitutional amendment certainly raised a host of questions and this particular Evening of Listening produced eloquent statements on bot h sides of those issues.

A special thanks to:

Louisa McCune - Kirkpatrick Foundation, Executive Director

Tom Buchanan - Oklahoma Farm Bureau, President
Drew Edmondson - Former Oklahoma Attorney General
Michael Kelsey - OK Cattlemen's Association, Executive VP
Arthur LaFrancois - OKC University, Professor of Law
Mickey Thompson - Oklahoma Rising, Executive Director


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. OCC's  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. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OCC is honored to be a supporting sponsor of this important conference. Organized by the Interfaith Alliance Foundation of Oklahoma, the conference will be held at the Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater of Oklahoma City Community College, 7777 S. May, OKC  from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.  Join us! .

Speakers Include:
Lundy Bancroft - Best-selling author and counselor
Julie Owens - Faith Trust Institute counselor
Deb Stanaland - Chief Officer of Support Services for YMCA

Panelists Include:
Bill Citty - Chief of Police, OKC
Lesley March - Assistant Attorney General & Chief of Victim Services Unit

Additional Leaders:
Mick Cornett - Mayor, OKC
Dr. Jerry Steward, President, OCCC
$25 -  Registration is open through May 9th. 

For complete information, see www.makingadifferenceconference.com
or contact Mari Fagin: faginmef@aol.com or cjrubenstein@att.net

Oklahoma Fosters is a statewide campaign, initiated by Governor Mary Fallin, in cooperation with the Department of Human Services, to end the foster care crisis in Oklahoma.

"There are nearly 11,000 children in Oklahoma's foster care system and we desperately need the help of our entire community to care for them," said Fallin. "These children are in state custody through no fault of their own. They need foster families to love and support them during their time of need."

Oklahoma Fosters is asking businesses to encourage employees, the faith-based community to encourage congregations, and tribes to encourage citizens to consider being a foster or adoptive parent. OCC's Council of Communion Leaders has endorsed this initiative.

The primary goal of the initiative is to help DHS recruit more than 1,000 new safe, loving foster families statewide by the end of June 2016. The hope is that the Oklahoma Fosters campaign is the birth of a statewide movement around the foster care crisis.

For more information, go to  OklahomaFosters.com , e-mail Ashley Hahn at oklahomafosters@gov.ok.gov, or call the foster parent hotline at 800-376-9279.  
St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church has Earth Day Observance

Earth Day was incorporated into the morning worship service on April 22 at
St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church. Father Joseph Alsay used this opportunity to recognize the importance of daily conservation and preservation of the Earth and its resources for both now and future generations.

OKC Dialogue Institute to Honor 
the Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee 
at May 10 Event

More information and ticket sales 
available at www. dialogueok.org
"Getting Smart on Crime"
A focus on Criminal Justice Reform 

Thursday, May 12
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Being tough on crime has been the focus of Oklahoma's law system but, unfortunately, it has not worked. Criminal Justice Reform is necessary in Oklahoma. We need to be smart on crime. What legislation is being proposed? What legislation has passed and signed into law? What does it mean? What will it do? 

Join us at St .Paul's Cathedral, OKC (127 N.W. 7th Street) for the next  Evening of Listening presented by OCC. T he discussion will be moderated by the Rev. Dr. Stan Basler (St. Paul School of Theology, Visiting Professor of Restorative Justice and Prison Ministry). 

Panelists are:
  • Ryan Kiesel - ACLU Oklahoma, Executive Director
  • Allen Lane - Spencer Police Department, Chief
  • Kris Steele - Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, and Former Speaker of the House
  • Nisha Wilson - Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services,  Specialty Courts Director 
Free event -- No registration required!
Distinguished Alum!

OCC 's Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau was  rece ntly honored by Oklah oma City University at the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Din ner on April 23. Mary graduated from OCU in 1981 with a bache lo r of arts degree in religion. She currently serves as our director of emotional and spiritual care and is responsible for OCC's disaster, spiritual and emotional care ministries.  She facilitates OCC's training and credentialing of local spiritual care responders who are actively engaged in addressing the long-term spiritual and
emotional care needs of disaster survivors.  Gaudreau, a native of Oklahoma, is an ordained United Methodist deacon and licensed professional counselor. More information about  Mary and this event is available on OCU's website .

Congratulations Mary!

Around the fifteenth of each month, OCC produces a Social Justice Ministry Network electronic newsletter. The SJMN newsletter contains updates on specific state legislation which is 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 okchurches@okchurches.org. To read the April edition, click  HERE .
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
                MAY 2016

OCC is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Your gift is tax deductible! 

OCC Announces Summer Disaster Spiritual Care Academies

Basic Academy 
June 8-10, 2016
Team Leader Academy 
June 28-30, 2016

OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care Team continues to be active in response to disasters around our state, most recently assisting with the March Tulsa and Rogers County tornadoes. As we continue into storm season, registration is now open for our next Disaster Spiritual Care Academy.

OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care Academies are offered in multi-day formats, allowing participants to take necessary courses in "blocks" of days to earn their disaster spiritual care credentials. All trainings will be held at the Oklahoma Disciples Center, 301 NW 36th, Oklahoma City, OK 73118. 

For complete information on OCC's Disaster Emotional & Spiritual Care, including registration for training events, click  HERE.
We are thankful for our partners who train across disciplines, especially the Stress Response Team (Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corp), the Oklahoma National Guard Chaplain's office, and the Mental Health Association Oklahoma.
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.

For more information, contact Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau, mgaudreau@okchurches.org, 405-315-1528.

OCC Hosts Local Spiritual Care Responder Training for Communion Leaders
At the request of the Communion Leaders of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, OCC held an executive level "Local Spiritual Care Responder" training on April 4, 2016. OCC is proud to announce that many of our communion leaders have now earned their "Blue Tag," the OCC disaster spiritual care credential recognized and respected across the state.

Through OCC's Disaster Spiritual Care Program, we have a unique opportunity to respond to the needs of those affected by disasters. Having the faith leaders of our state endorse and participate in the program is a powerful witness to the importance of our shared ministry.

Our thanks to our communion leaders and to St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral for hosting our event!
The Rev. Mary Hughes Gaudreau 
Director of Emotional and Spiritual Care


Mark your calendars now for the following significant 2016 OCC Events:

May 12
Evening of Listening "Getting Smart on Crime" 
St. Paul's Cathedral
6:30-8:30 p.m. 

Sept. 8
Art Show & Auction
St. Paul's Cathedral

Sept. 15
Evening of Listening
St. Paul's Cathedral

Sept. 25 
Interfaith Youth Tour Various OKC metro locations

Oct. 20. 
Evening of Listening
St. Paul's Cathedral

Nov. 10
OCC Annual Dinner
Embassy Suites Downtown / Medical Complex, OKC

Nov. 17
Evening of Listening 
St. Paul's Cathedral

Day of Reflection
Thursday, May 5
7:00 p.m.
Spring Creek Baptist Church
11701 N. MacArthur

Marianne E. Mertens

Marianne Mertens, a retired case worker with  Catholic Charities , died on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. A woman of deep spirituality, Marianne participated for more than twenty five years as a reader for the  Stations of the Cross , sponsored by the
Oklahoma Conference of Churches, held on Good Friday, at the Jesus Wept statue on the campus of the Old St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City. Marianne will long be remembered for her quiet, yet faith-filled readings that gave strength to those who attended Stations. The Conference extends sympathy to her family. A celebration of her life was held on Friday, April 22, at St. Francis of the Woods in Coyle, Oklahoma. 
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.

Community Events

May 5
National Day of Prayer

May 10
Annual Friendship Dinner and Awards Ceremony, 
Dialogue Institute Oklahoma City Branch, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m., Skirvin Hotel - OKC. For info: www.dialogueok.org

May 14
"Finding Grace at the Table" May Friendship Day-Church Women United.  For
Garfield County,
contact Gwenette
(405) 237-7901. For
OKC, contact Karen, 405-314-8348 or kbuntin@ou.edu

May 17
Making a Difference Conference, OCCC, 8:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m., $25  (see related article).

June 9
Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Annual Awards Dinner. Harvard Avenue Christian Church, 5501 S. Harvard, Tulsa.  Contact info@tumm.org or phone   (918) 582-3147.

Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster
Response Seeks Volunteers

Oklahoma is prone to many disasters c reating great need for help for those who exist on the fringes of economic survival. This past year's tornadoes, floods, and ice storms have impacted 100% of our state. Volunteers are key and your help is needed! 

Volunteer at
www.okumc-dr.org     or call (405) 802-0904.
Crown Heights Christian Churc h 
has  approximately  30 Christian Wors hip hymnals to donate. Please call  
405-528-5568  for more info rmation.


The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee
Executive Director

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. 

Oklahoma Conference of Churches
301 N.W. 36th Street,  Oklahoma City, OK 73118
405-525-2928 |  www.okchurches.org  |  okchurches@okchurches.org