More Annual Conference News
Nearby hotels include the newly renovated Crown Plaza Hotel (reserve by May 9) and the new Holiday Inn Tulsa-City Center (reserve by April 30).
Activities include hands-on mission experiences at Pearl’s Hope, on the Frances Willard Ministry Center campus, at Iron Gate Soup Kitchen, and at the Regional Food Bank. Recreation plans include Skateland Roller Rink, Kiln Arts of Tulsa & June’s Jems, and mall shopping.
At this annual banquet, winners of the 2010 Outstanding Town and Rural Church awards will tell their stories of witness.
Earthquake victims in Haiti will benefit from the Annual Conference "kit drive" spearheaded by Volunteers In Mission (VIM).
Donations of health, birthing, layette, and school kits are greatly needed in that nation, according to leaders of UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).
These supply kits will be collected throughout the week and then shipped to the UMCOR distribution center in Baldwin, La.
These gifts should be carefully packed, following UMCOR specifics. Details are provided by VIM online. Deliver the completed kits to the designated truck in the west parking lot at Boston Avenue Church.
Donations of used books are now being accepted for the annual Retired Clergy Book Sale during the Annual Conference.
All the money raised goes into the Clergy Crisis Fund, administered by the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation.
During the week of the conference, book sales will begin late Monday afternoon, in Jubilee Hall at Tulsa-Boston Avenue Church, and will conclude at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Prices typically range from 50 cents to $2.
Deliver donations now to the church, which has made a storage area available in advance. If delivery help is needed, call the church. Books also will be accepted at the Annual Conference until the start of the sale.
Retired clergyman Neil Winslow said all book donations are appreciated.
"We sell many books to newer clergy who are still building their libraries," he said. "Some clergy have told us they have no better place to put their favorite books than into the hands of Christian folk."
Ministry near and far, in Oklahoma and Africa, will receive support through the 2010 Annual Conference offering.
Churches are encouraged to receive a special collection, prior to the week of the conference, and send that gift with their delegates to the annual meeting.
The money gifts will help (1) Cookson Hills Center, a United Methodist mission site that serves the rural poor in eastern Oklahoma; and (2) "Imagine No Malaria," a denomination-wide effort that expands on the "Nothing But Nets" campaign initiated several years ago to eradicate the disease in Africa.
"The economy has been merciless on those who already live in poverty and need," reported missionary Meri Whitaker, director of Cookson Hills Center.
"We have continued to experience growth in every program that we have offered. The Church would look upon this as huge success, but when one is observing the mission field, larger numbers represent larger need," Rev. Whitaker wrote in the 2010 Pre-Conference Workbook.
Cookson Hills Center provides relief, education, health care, employment opportunities, and cottage-industry initiatives, primarily to Native Americans. A capital campaign is under way to fund a new main building on the property in the Cookson community, south of Tahlequah. The center is Advance project number 582161.
Whitaker stated, "Our daycare is full; the senior program is active and has a large attendance; the cottage industries are doing well. The health resource center is meeting the needs of many through immunizations, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and other programs. The Volunteers In Mission program operated at capacity (in 2009). Our Christmas Store numbers were up 20 percent."
In March, the center hosted a meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Church and Community Ministry, a policy-setting group. Its 17 members include directors of the General Board of Global Ministries and general church staff, among others.
"They have not been here before," Whitaker said. "They try to meet in mission locations so they go home with understanding about what is happening on the field."
She said the board was impressed by the size and scope of ministry at Cookson Hills Center and was inspired by the conversion stories that occur there.
The group also heard staff member Denise Rowell sing. As a result, the committee invited her to perform and share her story at the United Methodist Women’s Assembly, set for April 29-May 2 in St. Louis, Mo.
A child in Africa dies of malaria every 30 seconds, according to the denomination’s news agency. Battling the disease is the primary aspect of the Global Health Initiative, one of the Church’s four Focus Areas this quadrennium.
Bishop Thomas Bickerton leads the initiative for the denomination.
Malaria causes immeasurable suffering across the African continent. It is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Without treatment, malaria’s flu-like symptoms—fever, chills, vomiting, headache—can lead to convulsions, organ failure, and death.
The Church has fought malaria through the ministry of hospitals, clinics, and mission centers we have operated across Africa for more than 160 years. "Imagine No Malaria" seeks to eliminate death and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015.
The ministry will include:
"Imagine No Malaria" is in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, and it broadens the concept of the "Nothing But Nets" campaign.