Annual Conference Updates


Opening weekend will ring with music led by John Bell of Scotland

"If you believe and I believe, and we together pray…"

"Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?"

These song lyrics may be recognized by many Oklahomans. They are by renowned musician and composer John Bell of the ecumenical Iona Community in Scotland.

Rev. Bell will be in Tulsa on Memorial Day Weekend, leading music and teaching in events that include Annual Conference at Boston Avenue Church. His featured role is made possible through the efforts of the conference’s worship design team and Twila Gibbens, pastor of Tulsa-St. Paul’s Church.

  • On Saturday, May 26, Bell will lead two workshops at St. Paul’s: "New Songs for the Christian Year" and "Creative Uses for Shorter Songs in Worship." Program is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To attend, register by May 16 at  Churches are encouraged to send teams—perhaps singers, music director, and pastor—to the workshops.

  • On Sunday morning, May 27, Bell will preach at St. Paul’s.

  • At Boston Avenue on Sunday evening, a "Big Sing" led by Bell will begin at 6 in the sanctuary as part of the Annual Conference events. Worship is set for 7 p.m. there, and will include much congregational singing, again featuring Bell’s leadership.

  • On Monday, May 28, Bell will take part in the morning Youth Gathering, from 9 to 11:30, at Boston Avenue. This event also is part of Annual Conference.

Bell is acclaimed for his method of quickly teaching a group a new song without accompaniment or sheet music. He excels in strengthening congregational singing and has published books about his methods.

The Upper Room Worshipbook contains 35 of his hymns and arrangements, and 10 are published in The Faith We Sing.

Clergy pictures wanted for photo directory

Individual clergy photos will be taken during this Annual Conference, for a new Oklahoma Conference clergy directory that will be produced this year.

Each clergy member, both active and retired, is requested to sign up online now for a specific time slot during the days of the conference.

Go to the Conference homepage,, where you will find the link "Lifetouch Registration" to schedule your photo session.

Just for participating, you will receive a copy of the directory and nine wallet-size photos, all free of charge.

The previous directory was published in 2009.

Lifetouch Church Directories and Portraits will again photograph the clergy and print the directory. In late 2011, Lifetouch acquired the Olan Mills photography business, including its church and studio photography operations.

Sign up early online and select the time that works best for you, suggested Mary-Jane Gish of Lifetouch. "We know you’re busy; we will complete your session quickly!" she vowed.

VIM collecting School Kits

School Kits are sought by the Volunteers In Mission (VIM) Office for its Annual UMCOR "Kit Drive."

This type of kit has been especially requested by UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). "School kits may be children’s only educational resources" in some places, states a VIM flier. "In some countries, many (students) have no schoolrooms; classes are held in inadequate or half-destroyed buildings, tents, or even the open air."

Kits must contain specific items and be assembled according to UMCOR instructions. Do not include any other items; they will have to be removed and that delays shipment.

During Annual Conference, deliver donations of kits to the VIM volunteers staffing the designated truck in the west Boston Avenue Church parking lot. In addition, a check to help with UMCOR shipment costs, based on $1 per kit, should be made out to "OKVIM" and presented with the kits—but not packed inside a kit.

Although the special request is for School Kits, all UMCOR kits will be accepted during the drive. Financial gifts to purchase supplies also are welcome.

Instructions are online at:

Contact Kristin Terrell-Wilkes for more information:,  405-530-2029.

New this year: Online registration for all

Everyone attending the conference, whether delegate or guest, must register online in advance. Follow the links at  This is for all ages.

The online form also must be used to make reservations for ALL SPECIAL MEALS—Celebrate the Laity Luncheon, all retired clergy meals, seminary alumni luncheons, UM Rural Fellowship banquet, etc. The form displays when the meals are scheduled. Questions about the Laity Luncheon also may be directed to Barbara Perry,

Use the same form to sign up for Mission Opportunities, to order a box lunch at your mission project site, and to order an Annual Conference T-shirt.

You also may donate online to the Annual Conference Offering by using the form. Gifts to "Ministry With the Poor" will support the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas, and Restore Hope Ministries and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, both in Tulsa.

After you fill out and submit your online registration, you will receive a confirmation message by email.

You can pay online for meal tickets, etc., or mail a check. Instructions for this are provided when you complete the registration form and click "Submit."

Watch Annual Conference LIVE May 27-30!

Be a virtual guest and, via high-speed Internet, view the soaring worship and dedicated work of this gathering in Tulsa.

Find instructions and more Annual Conference information at:

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