Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

World Religions Expo engages conversation


Right: At the World Religions Expo on April 7, Jalisa Ross, who is Miss Indian OCU, leads a Native dance. Above: Buddhist nun Jian Gai Shi poses with Dann May, a professor in OCU’s Wimberly School of Religion. The two collaborate on service learning projects, May said. OCU students helped build a meditation path at Buddha Mind Monastery, Oklahoma City. Below: sophomore Zach Turner, a music theater major, presents what he learned about Taoism. His audience includes Hardeep Singh Saluja, a pharmacy professor at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, and Guneet Kaur Saluja. They are of the Sikh faith. Photos by Holly McCray    

A is for Anglican. B is for Buddhist and Baptist. C is for Catholic.

As a service-learning project, students in four classes of the Wimberly School of Religion, Oklahoma City University, planned and hosted a World Religions Expo on April 7 in the OCU Chapel.

The expo drew about 100 people, including several United Methodist church confirmation classes.

The OCU student presenters were joined by representatives from about 20 religions, branches of Christianity (including United Methodist), and interfaith organizations. Some booths shared food specific to their traditions. Demonstrations included Native American dancing, tai chi, and a Jewish blessing ritual.

Questions, engaging conversation, and increased understanding marked the event. The students are enrolled in two World Religion classes and two Introduction to Biblical Literature classes.

  • Youth Service Day — On March 2 more than 150 United Methodist youths came to OCU to serve the surrounding community, worship God, and make new friends at the annual Youth Service Day.  

From across the state, 14 youth groups learned firsthand about the college experience at OCU — the only United Methodist university in Oklahoma.

OCU junior Trey Witzel, a Religious Life intern, coordinated this event involving more than 30 student volunteers.

He said, "It’s wonderful that Oklahoma City University is in the middle of the state, ready to help develop servant leaders while providing a world-class education."

  • Easter Vigil — About 250 people attended OCU’s third Easter Vigil on March 30. Among them were five United Methodist youth groups, who also came for dinner on campus and a preview of the service. Forty OCU students, along with 10 faculty and staff, led this re-creation of an ancient church ritual.

  • Engaging young people — Special recognition goes to the youth group from Ponca City-Albright Church and their director, Kim Brown. On three weekends, they traveled more than 100 miles each way to attend each of these special events at the university.

For information about special programs, contact Rodney Newman, university chaplain, rnewman@okcu.edu,  405-208-5484.


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