Bishop's Corner

Are we there yet?


"Hold on to what you have" — Revelation 3:11 By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES JR. Entering a new year and my final eight months as bishop of the Oklahoma Area, I conclude the five-part series in which I’ve been focusing on several aspects of our shared ministry: the expectations of all our churches, the laity, and those called to lead as pastors. Today I offer what I call the balcony view for our annual conference. Throughout 11 years as bishop, I’ve often asked a question posed by people on long ...

Giving gifts?


NOTE: Bishop Hayes is calling each of us to action in the Oklahoma Conference. This is the fourth in his five-part series. Did you miss one? Go to   "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in ...

What should a pastor do?


NOTE: Bishop Hayes is calling each of us to action in the Oklahoma Conference. This is the third in a five-part series, following "Closed on Sunday?" and "Is church high on your list?" "I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. He is about to break into the open with His rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. Keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard...

Is church high on your list?


NOTE: Bishop Hayes is calling each of us to action in the Oklahoma Conference. This is the second in a five-part series, which began with "Closed on Sunday?"   "When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him." (Luke 5:11) By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES JR. In a recent meeting of Conference leaders, I was troubled to learn that still only one-third of our churches are growing in members. That means two-thirds are either stagnant or declining. These are statistics...

Closed on Sunday?


"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common." (Acts 2: 42-44) By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES Jr. In this age when all things sacred and holy often are secondary to personal cravings and whims, it’s refreshing to see businesses remain that honor the Sabbath Day by closing their doors. ...

The connection blesses


By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES Jr. Stepping away from my daily job, I embarked upon my sabbatical leave in July to seek renewal and rest. I was excited and did some things that I’ve always wanted to do. Near the end of my time away, I began to dread the mountain of emails, calls, letters, and meetings that awaited my return. But there, in the pile of paperwork on my desk, was a letter that inspired and moved me to tears. It is a letter of triumph and tragedy, joy and pain. And within the lines, ...



Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Oklahoma Area:   The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court striking down all state bans regarding same-gender marriage has intensified a debate that has been at the center of public discussion for a long time.  There are many people who firmly feel that the decision of the Court was right, while others express profound disappointment over the ruling.    For over four decades, The United Methodist Church has struggled — just as our society has — over ...

On fire to serve


By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES Jr. As I look out upon you today, the words of a gospel anthem written by Albert Goodson in 1963 come to mind. I pray these words help stoke the fire within you for greater service in God’s name. The hymn declares: "We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord, trusting in His holy word; He’s never failed us yet!" Indeed it is not by our own strength that we find ourselves here — it has been by leaning upon God, who has blessed us and all along the way has kept ...

A tribute to mothers


"I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." (II Timothy 1:5, NIV) By BISHOP ROBERT HAYES JR. One Sunday morning, 7-year-old Marcia was scheduled to recite a short speech for her class at church. She had rehearsed it so many times; she knew it by heart. But when she stepped to the stage and looked out at all the people, her mouth went dry, her mind went blank, and she trembled, on the ...

What difference did Easter make?


"It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, He’ll do the same thing in you that He did in Jesus, bringing you alive to Himself?" (Romans 8:11, Peterson’s Translation) By Bishop Robert Hayes Jr. Well, another Easter has come and gone. The lilies have been taken home, and the Easter eggs that once littered the church grounds have all been found — at least we hope so. Any leftover bulletins have been gathered and thrown...

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