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2009 Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference
June 4-7, 2009, Anadarko, Okla.

Delegates to the 2009 Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference session approved a $1,125,624 budget for 2010, voted on constitutional amendments, heard reports on the progress of the conference and were inspired by great preaching, worship and fellowship. The conference's theme was "Come to the Table" and members were privileged to have the use of the worship table that was used at General Conference and made from the trees that had fallen at Gulfside Retreat Center from Hurricane Katrina.

Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr., inspired the conference with his preaching. He encouraged and reminded the conference on that ministry in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference is not about just the pastor or lay person, it is about working together for the sake of the gospel. He challenged the conference to take on more responsibility for itself in terms of its finances. He stated that in order to survive into the future, we have to do more for ourselves.

Raquel Martinez, composer, musician and editor of the Spanish Language United Methodist hymnal was the guest worship leader. Her husband, retired Bishop Joel Martinez preached on June 7 and the conference was blessed to have both present.

The OIMC was blessed to have deeded over to the conference from the Oklahoma Conference, Bryan Chapel United Methodist Church, which is located near Pryor, Okla. in the Cherokee Nation. A Lay Missioner was appointed to lead this newest fellowship. The second newest fellowship, Glenpool Fellowship, was appointed a full-time pastor in preparation for continued growth.

The conference approved a move from the present health insurance provider to the Oklahoma Conference insurance program. This move will save the conference nearly $100,000 for clergy health insurance. However, the budget for 2010 included an increase in 2010 property insurance costs for local churches.

The order of elders recognized elders serving churches with stoles with emblems representing their particular tribe.

The conference received its first Home Missionary. The Rev. David Warden, a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church coming from the Red Bird Missionary Conference, was assigned to a two-point charge, St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Talihina and Grace Memorial United Methodist Church, Hartshorne.

The youth raised $1,000 for YSF through a silent auction, root beer float sale and other activities.

Membership stands at 6196 (down by 27); Average worship attendance stands at 2043 (down by 40) and average Sunday School Attendance stands at 998 (up by 10).

-Josephine Deere