|Youths from churches in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference participate in a volleyball/blanket game at the Oklahoma City University campus.
Praise to God, sung in tribal languages, rang out in the chapel at Oklahoma City University. The music was only one highlight of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) Youth Day, held every year on the campus.
A total of 109 people, representing 16 churches, gathered on Feb. 28 for fellowship, fun, and worship. The day began with tours of the campus, then moved into the sanctuary for a worship service.
Ronnie Tom, pastor of the Glover Circuit, delivered a message that reminded the young people to value making good decisions.
The Glover Circuit members tied with Ponca Mission for the honor of church with the most participants in the special day and almost won the prize for traveling the farthest. That honor went to Kullichito and Bethel Hill, churches on the east side of Broken Bow. Both groups had to get up around 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning to make the two and a half-hour journey to OCU.
Due to cold weather, the games were moved inside the Freede Center. It was also the site for the traditional free-throw contest.
Josephine Deere of the OIMC Conference office staff and senior religion major Jordan Morris are due special thanks for coordinating the day.
A host of OCU students assisted in making the day run smoothly, giving campus tours, organizing games, hosting the lunch, and many other tasks. These volunteers included the Bishop’s Scholars and American Indian Scholars and members of Kappa Phi service sorority and DAX service fraternity.
While OIMC Youth Day is enjoyable in any given year, its importance reflects best in a long view. Chebon Kernell, pastor of First American UMC in Norman, first attended OIMC Youth Day 19 years ago and has seldom missed the event since then. The opportunity this event provided to him, to be on the campus and feel at home there, inspired him to choose OCU when he was ready for college. His time at OCU prepared him for his journey toward ministry.
The seed is planted early. The adults even bring their small children to this event, making it truly a family and community affair.
The university further expresses its commitment to the Native American community through its American Indian Scholarship program. Each year, OCU awards 15 scholarships, covering tuition, fees, basic room and board, and books, to qualifying American Indian students who choose to pursue their education at the university.