Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Ministry snapshots


JENKS — The congregation of Jenks-First UMC invites you to a special birthday party on Sept. 16.

That day, the Jenks church is celebrating 100 years of ministry in the Tulsa metro area.

Bishop Hayes will be guest preacher for the 9 a.m. worship service. At 11:30 a.m., the "Centennial Celebration" continues with a catered meal in fellowship hall, then a program at 1 p.m. that includes history, remembrances, and special music.

Meal reservations are required by Sept. 2. Email behis@firstumcjenks.com  or call 918-299-5462.

Dave Karges is pastor of the church at 415 E. Main in Jenks.

DEL CITY — On Sept. 5, Sunny Lane UMC will launch a program called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).

The group will meet weekly on Wednesdays, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. While moms meet together, their young children will be cared for in the MOPPETS program.

For nearly 40 years, MOPS groups have met in the United States and numerous other countries. MOPS provides a dynamic, welcoming environment where mothers build friendships, encourage each other, gain practical parenting strategies, and grow personally and spiritually.

The church address is 2020 S. Sunnylane in Del City. For more information, call 405-677-3347.

A classic car show draws community interest at Douglas Boulevard UMC on Aug. 11.

MIDWEST CITY — The weather was perfect Aug. 11 for a benefit car show at Douglas Boulevard United Methodist Church—with hot rods, pickups, and Cadillacs showcasing the craftsmanship of their owners.

The DBUMC First Annual Open Class Car Show drew more than 26 car and truck entries and exceeded expectations in general attendance. Entries ranged from 1939 trucks to classic ’50s hot rods and new vehicles. "We even had a 1949 restored classic Indian motorcycle," said Steve Bassam, treasurer of the church’s United Methodist Men.

"Our men enjoy cars, and several of us enter car shows all the time," he said. "It sort of grew more into a church family function than just a UMM event."

United Methodist Women operated concessions and a bake sale, and the youth group sold drinks.

"Our ladies pitched in to serve hot dogs, hamburgers, and nachos," said Donna Bassam, food coordinator. "Our youth pitched in. Overall, I would say it helped our church family come together before the end of summer in such a fun way."

Car owners were judges and handed out 21 trophies. The grand prize, "Pastor’s Pick," went to John Shepperd for his 1949 Chevy pickup. For the "People’s Choice" award, spectators placed donations into jars. The jar with the most money went to that vehicle’s owner, and all other donations supported the church’s ministry fund.

"I think we exhibited community spirit, and it allowed us to reach into our own local community through such a family-friendly event," Pastor Jeannie Himes said. "To see all our church family together, working as a team and reaching into our community, helped nurture new relationships with local businesses and families.

"It was a nice change of pace from the fundraisers we do so often."

Stigler UMC Lay Leader Flo Conklin takes her turn during the August groundbreaking for a new parsonage. Also shown are Trustees Chairman Jim Lamb and construction overseer Johnnie Garland, right.

STIGLER — The Stigler parsonage family will have an extra reason to give thanks at Thanksgiving. That’s when construction should be complete on a new home. And it will be mortgage-free.

Ground was broken Aug. 12 for the parsonage, in a new subdivision on the town’s perimeter. Valued at $170,000, the home will include a large, covered back patio.

Pastor Larry Gaston said the old parsonage was sold; major problems there were identified. Leaders agreed that new construction was less expensive than repairs, and funds had been accruing to invest in a new home.

The Gastons are occupying a rental home until the work is finished.

Shovels dig in to mark the new church site for Norman-­BridgeView. South OKC District Superintendent Frankye Johnson is at center, with Pastor Sherri Lashley to her right.

NORMAN In less than two weeks, the Easter people of the BridgeView congregation pledged more than $532,000 for a church building. They broke ground June 3 at 4300 Indian Hills Rd., and Bishop Hayes was guest speaker.

An idea was born in 1999 to start a new UM church in north Norman. The church met in a grade school and then moved to a strip mall.

Several years ago, land on Indian Hills Road was purchased and the property debt has been paid fully. But there were other obstacles the church had to overcome before being able to start building. The biggest challenge was funding, as with any large construction undertaking.

On Palm Sunday evening, Pastor Sheri Lashley explained to members that, if they wanted to break ground this year so that they might move in 2013, the church needed to quickly raise more than half-a-million in pledge dollars. Then, they had to secure approval to build from the Bi-District Committee on Church Location & Building which was meeting in three weeks.

By Easter, more than half the needed amount had been pledged. By Wednesday of the next week, the goal had been met, and by Friday more promised funds took the campaign over the top, reported an excited Rev. Lashley. In less than two weeks, the capital campaign was completed.

BridgeView secured the board’s approval, celebrated by breaking ground, and the construction process is ongoing. They plan to occupy the new building by April 15.

Teamed to serve in Wynnewood are, from left, Hailey Weaver, Vicki Yates, Allyson Harris, Edith Harris, Connor Horton, Matthew McAngus, Caleb Barrick, and Wesley Barrick.

WYNNEWOOD — For the first time in several years, Wynnewood-First held a Confirmation Class.

Six young people attended the spring program and studied the Credo series. And as part of the class requirements, the sixth-graders performed yardwork for some local residents, raking grass, trimming shrubs, and removing old bird nests.

All the students were confirmed and, on Easter, most were baptized, reported Susan Stewart, church secretary.

Also this year, three children’s Sunday School classes were launched, she said. Attendance was averaging 20. Last year, no classes for children or youths were available.

CLEORA — In far northeastern Oklahoma, the Cleora congregation recently connected face-to-face with United Methodists of Tanzania, in Africa.

The church welcomed Rev. Umba Kalangwa and his wife, Ngoy, when the UM missionaries visited in the state. Cleora UMC is among their sponsors, reported Vicki Matthews.

In Tanzania, the couple is planting churches in three locations, and they helped establish a pastors’ training center and schools. The Susannah Wesley Training Center in Morogoro assists disadvantaged women and supports vulnerable children, including orphans. Now 256 children attend the Wesley Primary School and Preschools, with seven classrooms and 12 teachers. Four preschools at other sites also were organized.

Cleora UMC’s financial support of the Kalangwas encourages evangelism and strengthens the new ministries.

The Cleora church also asks others to pray for UM missionaries and consider forming covenant mission relationships.

Conference Mission Secretary Karen Distefano has information; contact her at kririe@aol.com.

POCOLA — At right, Students from Howe Public Schools explore the pumpkin patch at Pocola-First UMC in 2011.

The church receives a portion of sales from the annual October project, and those funds go toward the Apportionment.

The effort also attracts people to worship and Wednesday evening programming.

More than 1,200 pumpkins decorated the church property last year, and schools in the area were invited to visit. Thomas Corrigan, who was pastor at the time, taught the children how Christ’s love is like a jack-o-lantern! Nikki Carter is the new pastor.

Volunteers--from Crown Heights, Wesley, and Quayle churches, and from OCU--load boxes of books into a truck on loan from Hobby Lobby on Feb. 28. Pastor Dianne Peters is in the foreground. Photo by Jeff Peters

OKLAHOMA CITY — Evelyn Phyffer waved goodbye to 22,570 books that had been loaded into a Hobby Lobby truck parked at OKC-Crown Heights UMC on Feb. 28.

The boxes of books were headed for the Operation Classroom warehouse in Lapel, Ind. Their next stop: Liberia.

Phyffer is a retired attorney, Crown Heights member, and Certified Lay Speaker. When she started sharing her story about the needs of school children, medical students, and seminary students in Ganta and Monrovia, Liberia, God blessed her efforts.

She had never planned to become an expert in packing boxes of books! Nor had she dreamed this second shipment for the project would nearly double what Crown Heights sent in 2010.

Groups across the metro joined Crown Heights in collecting and donating books, periodicals, school supplies, and art materials.

Among them were: Wesley, Quayle, South Lee, and Southern Hills UMCs in Oklahoma City; Norman-St. Stephen’s UMC; Mustang United Methodist Women; Project Transformation; and OCU students and faculty.

Phyffer saw the need firsthand when she taught English in Liberia in 2009.

"Teachers use the ‘chalk-and-talk’ method," she explained. "They have to write lessons on a chalkboard because students do not have the necessary textbooks. The section of the (school) library for younger students had about 75 books, to be used by nearly 500 children in the lower grades. The only periodicals were 13 National Geographic magazines from the 1970s."

Phyffer also saw signs of hope there: in the faculty’s commitment and students’ determination to learn; in the parent interest and concern visible at PTA meetings, teacher conferences, and school programs.

This mission project is especially dear to Bishop Bennie Warner, a former UM bishop in Liberia who now pastors in Oklahoma City.

His family donated land for a new school in his hometown. Volunteer construction has begun, and some books in the February shipment are designated for that school.

"This ministry really struck a chord with our congregation. Everyone could do something to help," noted Phyffer.

"We may be a small church," Pastor Dianne Peters observed, "but our people have a great heart for God’s mission. We are so excited that so many others chose to partner with us as we send boxes full of hope to Liberia."

Skyler Lehrman carries debris to a trailer in Granite.

GRANITE — The youth group of Granite UMC wanted to do a mission project, but funds were lacking. Then they found a need right in their hometown. The cost: time and labor.

Their goals were to assist someone who needed help, beautify the community, and be good stewards of the environment as they put feet to their faith last spring.

Hot cinnamon rolls greeted them at the church as they met on a Saturday. Their mission was to clean up a lot owned by a disabled woman unable to do the work herself. The group loaded into pickups and went to the location. They cleared the yard of old toilets, sinks, and trash, loading items into trailers and pickups to haul away.

Youth volunteers were Skyler, Remi, and Laney Lehrman; and Whitney and Gavin Walker. Sponsors were Larry and Sue Lehrman, Brandon and Melissa Lehrman, and Linda Lusnia.


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