Oklahomans expand faith connections
By Joseph Harris. Director of Communications
Oklahomans were well represented at the 20th gathering of the World Methodist Conference, held Aug. 4-8 in Durban, South Africa.
The Oklahoma group was one of the largest United Methodist delegations from North America to attend the global event, last held in 2006 at Seoul, Korea.
In the group were 18 who traveled from Oklahoma. They were joined by Tom Albin, an Oklahoma Conference clergyman who is dean of the Upper Room Chapel in Nashville, and by Preston Morgan, who attended through Perkins School of Theology (Dallas), where he is studying, and who is new associate pastor at Lawton-Centenary UMC.
Both the Oklahoma Conference and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference were represented.
A resource set of DVDs from the World Methodist Conference has been ordered and will be placed in The Media Library for check-out.
The 3,000 delegates who gathered in Durban represented 77 faith communities within the Methodist/Wesleyan family, from 135 countries.
Leading the Oklahoma group were Jeremy Basset, whose home country is South Africa and who is Volunteers In Mission director for the Oklahoma Conference, and Bishop Robert Hayes Jr.
Delegates were inspired by an international group of speakers: U.S. United Methodist clergywoman Joy Moore, who was the Bible study leader; Palestinian-born Archbishop Elias Chacour, of the Melchite Greek Catholic Church, Galilee; Mvume Dandala, former general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches and former bishop of The Methodist Church of Southern Africa; and Claudio Betti, co-founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio and a World Methodist Peace Award recipient.
The Africa University Choir (which performed at the 2007 Oklahoma Annual Conference), the Clarence Carr Mass Choir of Georgia, and the Durban Metro Men’s Guild Choir provided inspirational music, as well as a conference choir composed of volunteer delegates.
Oklahoma delegates were involved in many ways throughout the conference. They: