78% of Oklahoma churches contribute to Advance missions


Among the 511 churches in the Oklahoma Conference, 443 of them gave financial support to the denomination’s Advance mission projects and missionaries in 2014.

That 78 percent participation in The Advance is the highest among all annual conferences in the South Central Jurisdiction.

The Great Plains and the Rio Texas Conferences each reported 55 percent participation.

Oklahoma’s churches gave:

  • $446,749 to projects, and
  • $147,003 to missionaries.
  • Total financial support to The Advance was $593,752 from Oklahoma’s churches.

    "The Advance is one of our best methods for ensuring that our gifts are processed and received by the projects and missionaries that they’re gifted to in a timely manner and a secure manner as well," said Becky Harrell. She is the jurisdiction’s mission advocate.

    "These projects go through an intense audit every three years. They have to continue to qualify."

    The Advance is a channel for second-mile giving to designated United Methodist mission projects or ministries. The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) processes these contributions, and 100 percent of each gift goes to the chosen mission.

    GBGM matched online donations to Advance projects on Dec. 3, the date for Giving Tuesday, a national initiative for charities. GBGM projects and people familiar to many Oklahoma United Methodists were among the beneficiaries.

    A few of those: Cookson Hills Center received $18,290, and its director, Meri Whitaker, $13,525; Manos Juntas Mexico (Hands Together Mexico), $22,764; and Lydia Patterson Institute, El Paso, Texas, $6,125.

    The South Central Jurisdiction consists of 12 annual conferences in eight states. A total of 2,699 churches in the jurisdiction gave $5,898,029 to Advance projects and missionaries in 2014.

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    OU Chinese Fellowship
    gains official status

    The OU Chinese Fellowship in Norman was approved as a new Advance project in May. Number is 3022084.

    Missionary Fuxia Wang leads this growing fellowship.

    Due to its success, it also is a model for outreach to international college students and their families. Rev. Wang and Daniel Dennison, OU Wesley Foundation director, are training other UM groups.

    The announcement was made by Karen Distefano, Conference secretary of Global Ministries. Email her at kririe@aol.com.

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