|Greg Tener will lead Ardmore District, and Chris Tiger is assigned to lead Lawton District. Rev. Dr. Tener has served at Poteau-First since 2006; he entered ministry in 1993. Rev. Tiger began his career in 1983 and has led Owasso-First since 1998.|
|Under the night sky, one of those moments
By Greg Tener
Each of us has at least one experience that is forever a part of our memories of faith. One of those moments for me occurred under the night sky, on the canyon rim, during Wilderness Camp.
In this program of our Conference camping ministry, seventh- and eighth-graders practice forming Christian community through consensus-building. Campers live "in the woods" of the Canyon Camp property, cook their own meals, explore the canyon, and make every decision of the week by coming to mutual agreement.
One particular year, the group in which I took part was struggling to learn to work together. Discussion began about an evening hike to the top of the canyon rim, so we could stargaze and sleep there.
All but one were ready to go. For youths unfamiliar with being outdoors, the thought of climbing a trail up a canyon wall, carrying lanterns, sleeping bags, and food, can become overwhelming. It became an important moment to talk about helping each other along the way, making sure everyone made the hike safely, and working to include others in the experience.
We began the hike at dusk. There were lots of comments: "Watch out for the rock" or "Don’t trip on that tree trunk." The campers helped one another over difficult places on the pathway. They began to become a community.
At the end of the climb came laughter, shouting, and congratulations to the reluctant camper for being successful. As evening sky turned to night, and endless stars began to appear, the opportunity to see the heavens declare the glory of God caused the group to settle down.
We all experienced a moment of being encountered by God and saying, "Yes."
As memories of that night resurface for me, I also begin to remember the many persons who have shaped and molded my story of faith. I think of those at Moore-First Church, who all gave willingly of their time and energy. Laypersons at every appointment taught me more about ministry and the Church. I recall my Dad’s leadership in our home church and how he demonstrated the importance of being a person of faith in a community of faith. My own family continues to teach me about grace and acceptance.
I am thankful for God’s calling in my life and for those who are part of it. Each one is a star in the evening sky.
Now I look forward to service in the Ardmore District. Together, we continue the journey of experiencing God and offering the response of "yes."
|I have sought to be a means of God's grace
By Chris Tiger
I am blessed to have grown up in a loving home. My father and mother both served as elders in the Presbyterian church we attended in Orange, Texas. In sixth grade I went through Confirmation and became a member myself. In college I was asked to serve on the Board of Deacons. I am grateful for this godly heritage and the solid spiritual foundation I received.
When I was a sophomore in high school, a classmate was killed in a car wreck. At a private memorial service for the football team, a Baptist minister gave an altar call to which I responded. I felt as if the Holy Spirit was being poured into my head, flowing through my body. I have known ever since that God has saved me and I am one of his beloved children.
In college I struggled with a call to ministry. I had plans for my life, and being a minister did not fit into those. Although I continued to feel a tug on my soul, I put off responding until after graduating.
Finally, I accepted my call. I have always had a great peace about this decision. Philippians 4:6-7 became one of my life verses. "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
When I decided to go into career ministry, I was attending Tulsa-First UMC. I became a candidate for ministry at a Charge Conference in Fall 1979.
The next year I went to Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. My call to serve God in The United Methodist Church continued to grow stronger as I received my theological training. John Wesley became an important part of my spiritual heritage. I appreciate his emphasis on God’s grace and that our response to this grace is simply to love God and love one another.
I returned to Oklahoma and have served churches in Commerce, Altus, Enid, and Owasso. Each contributed to my spiritual development and helped me be a better pastor. I have sought to be a means of God’s grace to those churches and communities.
Now I am given the opportunity in the Lawton District. I look forward to what God will do in our midst as we serve together.