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2011 Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

"A New Day: A New Calling" was the theme of the 169th session of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Annual Conference held June 9-12 at Antlers, Okla. Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr., presiding bishop for the Oklahoma area, was the preacher for all worship.

The opening ceremonies once again included the presentation of flags: the American and Christian flags, as well as flags from all 39 of the federally recognized nations of Oklahoma. Mr. Marcus Briggs-Cloud, a member of the Miccosukee Creek Nation and member of Norman First American UMC, was the worship leader. Briggs-Cloud incorporated native and contemporary hymns in his repertoire.

Two ministerial candidates were presented, one elder was ordained and one elder retired. During the Sunday morning worship two infants were presented for baptism.

The conference approved a budget of $1,096,998 for 2012. Offerings from the worship services will continue to support the Dulac Community Center, Dulac, La., who ministers to the Houma Indian Nation.

The Rev. David Wilson was elected as General Conference clergy delegate and Mrs. Sue Burgess as lay delegate; alternates elected were the Rev. Margaret Battiest and Mrs. Josephine Deere. Jurisdictional alternates are the Rev. Julienne Judd and Ms. Pearl Thomas.

In 2006, a resolution on language retention was passed stating that we incorporate into annual conference an annual tribal hymn-singing program for the children and youth with appropriate awards and recognitions for all participating churches. Therefore, Saturday evening was set aside to honor our children. This year, nine children and youth choirs participated in this program. Each church received a certificate for participating and each child received a $5 McDonald's gift card. The offering from this evening goes to support our Native American Children's Fund, one of our Advance projects.

The conference unanimously supported a recommendation of endorsement that the Rev. David M. Wilson be named as a candidate for bishop from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. If elected, the Rev. Wilson would be the first Native American bishop as well as the first from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.

Membership stands at 6,189 down 7; average worship attendance 1,996 up 37; average Sunday School attendance 978, down 20.

-Josephine Deere, Director of Interpretation and Programs