Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

For Denney, a Capitol opportunity to help others


'The United Methodist Church leads with grace'—Rep. Lee Denney
'The United Methodist Church leads with grace'—Rep. Lee Denney

Editor’s note: Laywoman Lee Denney of Cushing talked with writer Cindy Mason about new routes her faith journey has taken.

By Lee Denney with Cindy Mason

I am a lifelong member of First Church in Cushing. My parents always had me in church. As a youth, I was active in Methodist Youth Fellowship. I attended camp. I have always sung in choir; I have sung in our Chancel choir for 37 years.

I would say I have had a very fortunate faith journey. A new aspect of my journey is mission work beyond the local community.

I am United Methodist to the bone—I believe The United Methodist Church leads with grace. We accept others for who they are and let God work with their bobbles. Our faith journey, my faith journey, is just that—not an event but a journey, a process. 

We take our faith outside the walls of the church to help others. 

In 2004 I ran for office as a member of the (Oklahoma) House of Representatives. I won and still hold that office. My district is mainly Payne County and part of Logan County. I don’t see my job as any different from my participation in my church. I see them both as a means to help people.

In 2008, my daughter and I accompanied Wesley church in Shawnee on a mission trip to Rio Bravo, Mexico. We built a casita for a wonderful family. 

At the urging of my district superintendent, Bertha Potts, I took leader training from Volunteers In Mission and led a team from the Stillwater District to Belen, Costa Rica, in the summer of 2009. We started building a security wall around the church and led a Vacation Bible School for about 60 children. 

It was an incredible experience. They are doing so much down there with so little. Biblically we are called to have empathy for one another and help one another.

As a representative, I have the opportunity to help people access their state government. To truly help people, especially in these economic times, the Church and state government need to work together to maximize our efforts. It is our Christian duty.

At the Capitol, we are privileged to have ministers from several denominations praying with us each day and delivering messages to us once a week. These messages are always inspirational. 

I try to live my faith daily at the Capitol. I am in my office Monday through Thursday and work directly in my district on Friday. I do try to keep Sundays for my family and church.

Living my faith means I don’t thump my Bible at the Capitol, but I try to make decisions that are connected to my faith—sometimes consciously, often subconsciously.

Lee and Frank Denney married in 1977, and Frank joined Cushing-First that same year. Both are veterinarians. They have two children, Will, who is a student in the Great Wall MBA program with Oklahoma City University; and Kate, a third-year pharmacy student. 

Lee has served in a number of posts at Cushing-First, including as a trustee and as director, teacher, and music director for VBS. She has taken Disciple Bible Study I-III. She is on the Stillwater District Missions committee.


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