Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Oklahoma UMW celebrates 150 years


Judy Deere (seated left) staffs a table for the Cookson Hills Center. Photo by Tabitha Beckman.
By Tabitha Beckman

United Methodist Women from across the Oklahoma Conference came together at Ponca City-St Paul’s for a weekend of celebrating the past and planning for the future.

The theme of the event was “Bold in Action,” and members were often encouraged to be bold, be strong and be courageous.

“It has been a busy year here in Oklahoma and across the UMW as we have celebrated 150 years of being and serving in mission,” UMW President Glenda Gilpin told those gathered. “Thank you each for being part of this sisterhood in Oklahoma.”

Rhonda Bear, founder of She Brews Coffee House in Claremore, gave the keynote address about mass incarceration. She went from being incarcerated to the program manager of Women in Transition with Stand in the Gap Ministry, where she helps over 1,000 women a year within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and in multiple county jails. Recently she was asked to join the governor-appointed task force Restore Justice to reduce sentencing and get several criminal justice reform bills through legislation.

“This will be the time that we get justice reform done,” Bear said.

“We’re focusing on incarceration in the state of Oklahoma. It’s been about information, and incarceration is something we don’t talk about,” Harrietta Williams, the UMW chair of programming, said. “We’re talking about it today, and we want the conversation to continue for 2020. That was our goal for this meeting and future meetings that we have.”

Rev. Derrek Belase, director of connectional ministry for the conference, and Rev. Tish Malloy, district superintendent of the Northern Prairie District, delivered the teaching times and shared strategies women could implement in their own churches. Mission reports from Neighborhood Services Organization, OU Wesley Chinese Ministry, Mission U, and Cookson Hills were also delivered. Other items discussed were the upcoming NSO 100 Year Celebration, Tool Tyme at Cookson Hills in November and NSO Santa Operation in December.

UMW 150
UMW members gather in the Ponca City-St. Paul’s sanctuary for a time of learning and worship.
UMW 150
Rhonda Bear, founder of She Brews Coffee House in Claremore, gives a keynote address on mass incarceration.
Tree Planting
NSO CEO Stacey Ninness a mission report.

Photos by Tabitha Beckman


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