Oklahomans load into a van before their trip to Denver, Colo.
‘God might just be calling your name’
Speaker after speaker told the 429 young adults — including 17 from Oklahoma’s universities — that God is calling them to change the world and the church.
"This is not your momma and daddy’s church. We have to be about making disciples, not members," Louisiana Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey told those attending Exploration 2013 in Denver, Colo.
Sponsored by the UM General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the November event helped young adults discern God’s call and explore their gifts for service. Total attendance was 676; two were Oklahoma campus ministers.
"Listen. God might just be calling your name," Harvey said. "All God wants or needs is for you to be the best YOU that you can be."
She is the first Latina bishop elected in the South Central Jurisdiction.
Among the young Oklahomans listening was Joe Mohr, a member of Ada-First UMC. Originally from Sayre, he graduated from East Central University in Ada.
"I was supposed to go into the workforce," Mohr said, but he loved the Ada church and community. He has been a church youth leader, served at summer camps, and performed music.
He began considering a call to ordained ministry.
"It wasn’t a Saul-to-Paul conversion moment," Mohr said. "I don’t know when the sun rose, but I can surely tell you it is shining."
He has entered the clergy candidacy process. He serves with Jana Hogg, a provisional elder, at ECU’s United Campus Ministry. He also works as a bank teller.
The November event "gave me a great deal of insight," Mohr said. He learned about financing seminary study, steps to ordination, and defining his call. He befriended students at varied seminaries.
In Oklahoma, "I see this narrow sliver of Methodism," Mohr said. Exploration 2013 was "an amazing opportunity to see beyond ... We have this very diverse population of Methodists that spans the country."
He expressed appreciation to the Oklahoma Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, which subsidized the trip to Denver. "They made it so the cost was only $50 per participant. Kudos for investing in people who want to get into ministry."
Attending from Oklahoma were: Shelby Greenhill, Nica Onstott, Mohr, and Rev. Hogg, all from ECU; Christina Lee, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond; Kevin Andrews, Drew Tarwater, Andrew Moore, Blake Whisenhunt, and Montana Borth, all from the University of Oklahoma, Norman; Brooke Willis, Katelyn Trobaugh, and Rev. Elizabeth Horton-Ware, all from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford; and Grace Karber, Caitie Gassner, Olivia Coil, Michael Horn, Wesley Yang, and Hannah Lampi, all from Oklahoma City University.
—By Holly McCray and Vicki Brown