Participants get schooled on 3 timely topics
You cannot calculate the full impact of Mission u*, hosted each July at Oklahoma City University, according to the program’s 2015 dean, Derrek Belase.
Statistics show 177 women, men, children, and youths participated July 17-20. But Mission u can’t be valued on numbers alone.
Many of the adult attendees will present what they learned to people in their local churches, said Rev. Belase. They will share with Sunday school classes of all ages, United Methodist Women, and other groups. And people will take action based on that education.
Thus Mission u is a "train the trainer" event, Belase said. It is not possible to assess its total reach throughout the year.
He said, "We have no sense of the ripple" that moves through Oklahoma’s churches from the education gained by those at Mission u.
Each year, studies explore three current issues. For 2015, they are: "Created for Happiness," "The Church and People With Disabilities," and Latin America.
Special sessions drew attention to Oklahoma-related mission outreach. Karen Distefano spoke about missionaries in and from Oklahoma; Sarah Malloy-Nichols urged young adult mission engagement; and Becky Harrell, mission interpreter for the South Central Jurisdiction, addressed global mission connections. Guest preacher was President Sharon Howell of Saint Paul seminary.
School supplies were collected for Skyline Urban Ministry in Oklahoma City and Restore Hope in Tulsa. Participants carefully counted them at the Weekend and One-Day Plus events.
Among the supplies: 2,283 pencils, 285 boxes of crayons, 448 pairs of scissors, 266 spiral notebooks, 351 erasers, and 25 packages of filler paper.
The youth hands-on project during Mission u was helping Pastor Diana Northcutt prepare to open The Well, a new church plant in south Oklahoma City.
A project for teens with disabilities in Uruguay benefited from the Mission U offering, which totaled $2,200. Giving provided one way of taking action based on two of the studies, Latin America and people with disabilities.
Belase said the gift jump-started the denomination’s goal to raise $12,000 for that project in 2015. "Restoring Dignity to Handicapped Teenagers and Young People" is UM Advance Project No. 3021601. Advance records showed only $200 had been donated before Mission u began, according to Belase.
Mission u is an annual cooperative effort by Oklahoma’s United Methodist Women and the Mission & Service Ministry Team. Jo Ellen Reed, a member of OKC-Sunny Lane church, will be the 2016 dean.
(*Mission u was formerly the School of Christian Mission.)
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Youths at Mission U take on a service project.
Above: Sammy Loos, Sara Martin, and Reagan McDaniel help move furniture and paint July 18 at The Well, a new church being formed at the former OKC-Capitol Hill UMC. Pastor Diana Northcutt said OKC-St. Luke’s youths also helped. Plans are for The Well to offer after-school programs, an Indian health clinic, and nutritional programs. The church already hosted a luncheon for Capitol Hill teachers to discuss school-year needs.
Photos by Derrek Belase
Dora Spann, left, and Rebecca Kingsbery count stacks of spiral notebooks on July 18 during Mission U. Donated school supplies were equally shared with Skyline Urban Ministry, Oklahoma City, and Restore Hope, Tulsa. The notebook count totaled 266. Both women live in the Ardmore District.
Photo by Holly McCray