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2013 Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference
June 6-9, Preston, Okla.

The theme for the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference's 171st Annual Conference was "No New Faces No More Church" referencing the lack of a large presence of young folks in our churches and the need for us to look at ministry and church differently in order to grow. Scripture reference was from Acts 2:17 from the Message. Conference was held at Preston, Okla., June 6-9. Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr., presiding Bishop of the Oklahoma Area, preached at all worship services. He reminded the churches that if we wanted to see new faces our churches we need to be inviting churches, welcoming churches, loving churches, forgiving churches as well as equal-opportunity churches. In order for our churches to come alive we must be a believing church, a worshipping church and a witnessing church. Marcus Briggs-Cloud, well-known Native American musician and justice advocate, served as worship leader. We were pleased to have as one of the guests Scott Brewer from GCFA.

One of the highlights was a basketball-shooting contest between the Bishop, Conference Superintendent and the District Superintendents using a child-size basketball goal and ball to raise money for Imagine No Malaria during the CCYM report. Over $500 was raised on the spot; quite an accomplishment for the youth of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference! Four ministerial candidates were introduced and one clergy retired having served 44 years. Offerings of over $3,000 were received to assist with disaster response from the devastating tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May. The children of the conference were highlighted on Saturday evening with a language retention program. Choirs, individuals or groups were to present their songs in their tribal language. Songs were sung in the Choctaw, Muscogee Creek, Navajo, Cherokee and Euchee languages representing eight different churches. A proposed budget of $1,077,404 was approved and all constitutional amendments were approved. Membership stands at 6,186, up 11 from previous year. Worship attendance stands at 2,072, down 55 from previous year and Church School attendance stands at 1,017 up 18 from previous year.

-Josephine Deere, Director of Interpretation and Programs