Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church



Scraps, a raccoon puppet, and Jane Roul of Cokesbury cook up ideas for the "Shake It Up Café," a Vacation Bible School curriculum for 2011. They were both in Oklahoma City for the recent opening of the Christian bookstore at 7005 N. May. A Cokesbury regional manager, Roul is from Des Moines, Iowa. The VBS café theme is subtitled: "Where Kids Carry Out God’s Recipe."

Safe Sanctuaries class for 3 districts

On May 7, Pryor United Methodist Church will host Tri-District Safe Sanctuaries Training for congregations in the Muskogee, Bartlesville, and Tulsa Districts.

The training is free and will be from 1 to 5 p.m. that Saturday. Diana Northcutt will be facilitator. Each participant will receive a Safe Sanctuaries Training certificate of completion.

The denomination requires all churches to comply with Safe Sanctuaries policies. This training is for all those who work with children, youths, or vulnerable adults. Thus includes Sunday School teachers and helpers, Vacation Bible School personnel, workers and teachers in youth ministry and senior adult ministries, leaders of United Methodist Women and UMMen, and Volunteers In Mission, among others.

All such personnel need to complete the training, and some churches may have further questions about the policies and compliance.

Confirm your plans to attend by contacting Pryor UMC, 918-825-0346, pryorfumc@sbcglobal.net.  Pastor Rob Harris said your advance notice will help the planning team. "We’re located on the east end of downtown," he noted.


Mitchell named director of pensions/personnel

Stephen Mitchell of Norman is new director of pensions/personnel in the Oklahoma Conference Treasurer’s Office. He began his duties on Feb. 1.

He can be contacted at 405-530-2063 or ­smitchell@okumc.org.

His professional career has included work at two banks and as general manager of a golf club. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Oklahoma State University, where he majored in finance, with an emphasis on commercial bank management.

Mitchell also brings to the job personal knowledge about United Methodism. He is a "PK" (preacher’s kid); his father, Randy Mitchell, is pastor at Bixby-First UMC. His maternal grandfather and great-grandfather also were preachers.

Along with his new job, he is a new dad. Julia Lucille was born March 28 to Suzanne and Stephen Mitchell.


Marriage Encounter program this month

A Marriage Encounter retreat for UM clergy and their spouses will be held April 28-30 at Hilton Garden Inn, Richardson, Texas.

"Enrich Your Marriage" is theme. The Texas-Oklahoma Area of Marriage Encounter is affiliated with the General Board of Discipleship. For reservations, contact Mickey and Linda Wheeler, jamesw3681@aol.com, 972-594-0232, or sign up at www.encounter.org.

Media Library

The Media Library has available helpful educational resources for adult study. To check-out these DVDs, contact Amelia Ballew, Media Library coordinator, at ­aballew@okumc.org  or 405-530-2075.

  • A Life Worthy of the Gospel: An Introduction to Christian Ethics. This Wesley Ministry Network series features six DVD lessons by Sondra Wheeler, professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

  • CyberSafety for Families. By Paul O’Briant. This kit trains parents and other concerned adults in ways to keep children and teens safe online.

  • Several movies and documentaries about immigration: Entre Nos, Sin Nombre, The Visitor, Farmingville, God Grew Tired of Us, and Made in L.A.

See full descriptions of materials at: www.okumc.org/resource_find.asp.


Reservations due for global event

Deadline is April 18 to reserve travel with the Oklahoma delegation to the World Methodist Conference. The gathering of people who share in the Methodist faith heritage will be Aug. 2-14 in Durban, South Africa.

The Oklahoma Conference has negotiated special arrangements that will enable our representatives to register as one group, fly and stay together in one place, and go on a safari after the event concludes. Coordinators are Joseph Harris, assistant to the bishop, and Jeremy Basset, VIM director, whose homeland is South Africa.

Find out more at www.okumc.org.  Direct questions to Dr. Harris at: jharris@okumc.org,  405-530-2077.


Ecumenical retreat at Wickline for women

Christian musician Jami Smith and Christian author Rene Gutteridge headline an ecumenical women’s retreat June 3-4 at Wickline UMC in Midwest City.

Wickline’s women are hosting the event, open to all females of junior-high school age and older.

Theme is "Women Gone Wild for Jesus." Call the church, 405-732-0356, or click the link online at www.wicklineumc.org.

2 deacons re-certify

Two deacons have been re-certified as UM professionals in specialized ministry, reported Suzanne Davis, an official of the Oklahoma Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry.

The General Council on Finance & Administration confirmed Brian Bakeman and Phil Greenwald completed the necessary steps to continue as Certified Church Business Administrators. Re-certification is required every four years.

Rev. Bakeman is treasurer of the Oklahoma Conference. Rev. Greenwald is an associate pastor at OKC-St. Luke’s.

Free event in June for clergy/spouses

Attendance is free at a retreat designed for UM clergy and their spouses who have been in ministry 10 years or less.

The event will be June 7-9 at Greystone Estate in Rogers, Ark. With the exception of travel expenses, all costs—including lodging and meals—are covered by an anonymous donor couple. The Soderquist Center provides leadership.

Oklahoma clergy couples who have attended the retreat in previous years include Jeff and Adriane Jaynes, Mike and Sonja Tobey, Kyle and Debbie Clark, David and Beverly Powell, David and Susan Mingus, Carter Denton and Gloria McGee-Denton, Mark and Sandy Shepherd, and George and Geneva Rowe.

"Coming from a career of over 30 years in business management, I have participated in many training opportunities," said Rev. George Rowe. "The RENEW Marriage Retreat was one of the best learning experiences."

"It was refreshing to attend an event aimed at being fully committed to Christ, call, and spouse. And it was nice to be on the receiving end of radical hospitality and agape love," said Rev. McGee-Denton.

Rev. Beverly Powell said, "It was a surprise and a blessing that our second most important relationship—that with spouse—was emphasized, supported, and cultivated there. We left feeling rested, affirmed and stronger together."

To register, contact Rev. Sonja Tobey, 918-225-5683, revsonja@hotmail.com  Find more information at www.soderquist.org/renew.


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