Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

2011 Annual Conference format blends new segments with rituals


By Holly McCray

A teaching moment. A photo contest. An evening session solely dedicated to the election of the 2012 General/Jurisdictional Conference delegates from Oklahoma.

The 2011 Annual Conference will deliver new elements, building upon 167 years of such meetings.

The conference meets May 29-June 1 (Sunday-Wednesday) in Oklahoma City, at St. Luke’s Church and Oklahoma City University (OCU). It opens Sunday afternoon at St. Luke’s, with the Laity Session at 3:30 p.m. and Clergy Executive Session at 4 p.m.

OCU will serve delegates a free picnic supper on campus Monday.

Livestreaming of the Annual Conference made its debut in 2010 and returns this year. Anyone with a high-speed Internet connection can join the virtual audience, watching the informative ministry reports and inspiring worship.

On Monday morning at St. Luke’s, the Teaching Moment will feature OCU President Robert Henry, presenting "My Favorite Methodist."

This segment responds to young delegates’ requests for more education at the yearly meeting, explained Craig Stinson, director of Connectional Ministries/Congregational Development.

President Henry is noted for his excellence as a teacher and is completing his first year as OCU’s leader. Thus his talk introduces him as one of the annual conference’s hosts and "is a way for the delegates to see him in his element, doing the thing he loves to do most, which is teach," said Rev. Dr. Stinson.

"I think everybody who has ever heard him has left wanting more."

Photo contest entries will be displayed at OCU’s Freede Center. Deadline is May 6 to enter your creative photo of an Oklahoma bridge, reflecting the Annual Conference theme, "The Plan: A Bridge to the Future."

Resolutions await action by church representatives. Proposals include: 1) a short-term mission policy, from Volunteers In Mission; 2) a call for civility, from the Board of Church & Society; 3) a request to hold every annual conference in Oklahoma City, from the Annual Conference Council; and 4) a 2012 Apportionment request of $16,674,647, from the Council on Finance & Administration.



Voting on Monday:

All voting on General/Jurisdictional Conference nominees is scheduled for Monday afternoon and evening, at OCU’s Freede Center. The first ballot will be taken shortly after the 2 p.m. opening of the afternoon session. Subsequent balloting will take place in the 6:30 p.m. session.

Added recently to the online Annual Conference information are the three-digit numbers assigned to the lay nominees and eligible clergy nominees.

At St. Luke’s on Sunday, lay nominees will be introduced in the Laity Session, at 3:30 p.m. At 5 p.m., a Dinner for Laity will offer a light meal and informal conversation with the lay nominees. On Monday at OCU, a "Meet the (Lay) Nominees" reception will be from 1 to 1:50 p.m. in the upstairs Leichter Room at Freede Center.

Also Monday, voluntary practice voting using the machines will be offered between noon and 1:30 p.m. in the Freede Center arena.

Direct any questions to Joseph Harris, jharris@okumc.org,  405-530-2077.

Items of note:

  • Housing reservations are due by May 13 for OCU’s United Methodist Hall, and by May 15 for Crown Plaza on Northwest Expressway.

  • Reserve childcare, for infants through fifth-graders, by May 15, through St. Luke’s offices. Deadline to sign up is May 6 for youth programming, open to sixth- through 12th-graders; contact Youth Ministries at the Oklahoma Conference headquarters.

Schedules for both age groups include Monday evening, to accommodate the voting session.

  • A number of United Methodist-related groups host special meals, award presentations, and programs during the meeting. Ticket deadlines vary; contact the group for more information.

Among those special events are Tuesday’s Celebrate the Laity Luncheon, with presentation of the "It Worked for Us" awards, and Wednesday’s United Methodist Rural Fellowship Luncheon.

  • The Retired Clergy’s annual used-book sale will be held in the OCU softball building, north of the Freede Center. To volunteer or donate, contact Phil Davis at OKC-Wesley Church, 405-525-3524.

Primary worship:

  • Sunday—Service of Commissioning, 7 p.m., St. Luke’s

  • Monday—Memorial Service, 10:30 a.m., St. Luke’s

  • Tuesday—Retirement Service, 11 a.m, OCU Freede Center

  • Tuesday— Service of Ordination, 7 p.m., St. Luke’s

Free health screening:

  • Monday—7 a.m.-1 p.m., St. Luke’s Vaught Chapel

  • Tuesday/Wednesday—7 a.m.-1 p.m., OCU Kramer School of Nursing (West)



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