Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Virtual annual conference confirms new treasurer

10/12/2021

Bishop James Nunn calls the ordinands to stand before coming forward to receive their ordination. Photo by Meagan Ewton.

The Oklahoma Annual Conference, held Oct. 8-9, voted unanimously to confirm Joe Holt as the new Conference Treasurer and Chief benefits Officer. The conference also passed resolutions regarding conference benefits and the budget without amendment by more than 98 percent.

Technical difficulties with the conference internet caused the livestream to go down for a short period, but conference staff were able to address the issue using mobile hotspots to keep each part of the livestream working properly.

“An unstable internet is double minded in all of its ways,” joked Bishop James Nunn when the livestream was working again.

During a more serious time, the bishop also addressed some of the hopes that churches have posed to him, encouraging ministry leaders to spend less energy focusing on numbers.

“One of the things I’ve heard several people say is ‘We just want to get our attendance back to where it was pre-covid.’ Friends, I would like to take that burden off your shoulders,” Nunn said. “The goal is not to get to some numerical value of the number of people we have in church... The goal is simply to sow seed and to make a difference by showing kindness, peace and goodness, and expecting and giving the best of ourselves to other people.”

The special offering—Learning from the Past, Investing in the Future—will support the work of new church plants in the north Tulsa area, including The Table led by Rev. Michael Long II and Kingdom Fellowship led by Rev. Gwendolyn Collins-Derrick.

“It has been a pleasure being one of two church plants in the Tulsa area, especially north Tulsa, a place still healing yet moving forward from the heinous massacre that took place 100 years ago,” said Long while introducing the special offering to the conference.

Bishop James Nunn (top right) addresses the nine newly ordained elders during the 2021 Annual Conference Ordination Service. Photo by Meagan Ewton.

The ordination service was sparsely attended due to the ongoing pandemic. Masks were available and worn by the majority of attendees and clergy. Those ordained or commissioned are:

  • Ordained elders: Taylor James Anderson, Stephen Wayne Cagle, Jonathon Jennings Clinesmith, Lamarla Jo Cook, Shana Johnale Dry, William Travis Ewton, Laura Gaye Glover, Victoria Shiuan Hie Lee, and John Michael Robnett;
  • Commissioned deacon: Timothy James Navis;
  • Commissioned elders: Timothy Lyn Ashcraft, Meg Burris, Michaela Cathleen Drain, Bo Ray Ireland, Seungrok Kim, and Sei Yoon Park.

Additionally, Linda Tucker was commissioned as a provisional Deaconess during the opening worship of the conference.

Conference reports were given by several lay and clergy conference leaders, including Dr. Don Kim, the conference lay leader; Rev. Derrek Belase, the director of connectional ministries; Tom Junk and Rev. Joe Harris, the lay and clergy delegate leaders respectively. A report sharing about ministries in each district was offered by Rev. Susan Whitley and Rev. Jen Logdson-Kellogg. Highlights include:

  • Cimarron District: Cheyenne welcomed members of the Texas 400, a University of Texas student organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer and cancer prevention by cycling 4,000 across the country;
  • Council Oak District: Skiatook became a member of the local chamber of commerce, allowing them to offer space to local agencies, work with law enforcement regarding meeting community needs, and partnering with the local school to provide various events and resources;
  • Crossroads District: OKC-Wesley expanded their outreach to immigrant communities to welcome Afghan parolees, including assistance with securing and furnishing five apartments and a commitment to continue serving those families in an ongoing partnership;
  • Green Country District: Warner transitioned their monthly community breakfast to carry-out meals, doubling their food distribution and receiving donations to add lunch meals as well;
  • Heartland District: Union City has partnered with the local school’s special education to offer students with disabilities life skills for independent living through their ministry ABLE (Ability Based Learning Experiences);
  • Lake Country District: Ardmore-First transitioned a prison ministry started by a lay member from in-person lessons to written lessons mailed to more than 350 inmates, crafted to remind them of the love of Jesus Christ;
  • Northern Prairie District: Enid-New Hope launched “Open Space,” a monthly alternative worship experience started as a fresh expression by Nathan and Krista Oney, the senior pastor and youth leader, respectively;
  • Wichitas District: Larry David, a lay member of Altus-First, started to draw portraits of pets as a way to raise more than $2,100 for the church’s Blessing Boxes, which saw a sharp increase of use during the pandemic.

Executive clergy and lay sessions were held on Oct. 8 before the ordination service. The next Annual Conference is scheduled for May 22-26, 2022.

 

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