Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

St. James asks ‘Now What?’



New People New Places grant will help point women working as exotic dancers in Tulsa toward new directions.

Members of the "Now What?" class at Tulsa-St. James UMC have dedicated themselves to go "into strip clubs and minister to the ladies who have to work there," said Associate Pastor Josue Araujo.

The $6,000 grant for the Compass Rose project will help provide home-cooked meals and small gifts that the class has been taking to women employed at one Tulsa club, Rev. Araujo said. Club managers agreed to the visits. The effort began last summer.

The goal is to build relationships with the women and pray with them, he said. One dancer has brought her children to services at St. James.

During visits, the class members are "not in any way shoving Jesus down their throats," Araujo said.

Purpose of the project is to "help these girls find direction in life," said Meghan Burris, a member of the class.

Compass Rose refers to the design of a compass, showing the four directions. "Jesus is that true north," Burris said. "Jesus is the direction and the focus."

She said class members try to reassure the dancers that they don’t have to continue in that line of work. They tell the women, "you can walk away from this," Burris said.

The class also has contacted several other clubs about future visits.

New People, New Places

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Deana Luckett, Gabi Araujo, and Avonlea Luckett make cookies for the Compass Rose mission.


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