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2015 Oklahoma Conference

Oklahoma Conference met at  St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City. 

Dates of conference: May 25-28, 2015

Officiating bishop: Robert E. Hayes Jr.

Guest speakers: Rev. Jorge Acevedo, lead pastor of Grace UMC in Florida

Memorable quotes:

The Rev. Jorge Acevedo: "Are we TRYING to be Christian instead of TRAINING to be Christian?"

Karen Distefano, Oklahoma Conference secretary of Global Ministries: "10 cents a week per member at YOUR church will: introduce lifelong atheists to Christ on the (University of Oklahoma) campus, advocate for peace with justice in the Middle East, equip Hispanic laity to spread the good news among that community, (and more)."

Rev. Richard Norman, disaster response coordinator for the Oklahoma Conference, speaking about the ministry since the May 2013 tornado in Moore: "We will continue until the last family who is in need is served ... It is amazing how people will give out of their lives for two years to do for others." (3,500 cases have been completed.)

Bishop Hayes' episcopal address:

"I am so enthusiastic about our future. In each of these eight new districts ... laity and clergy at the district level and among churches grouped by affinity as Missional Areas can brainstorm, design, and implement ministries and partnerships that best fit their particular region.

Our rationale is to get as many people as possible involved in disciple-making. We want more laity and clergy blazing new paths for people to encounter Christ!

After 11 years, I find myself entering my final year as your bishop.  Hear me:  I am determined to make this last year the best one, as we serve together ... Even though I’m going into the last lap of this race, my pledge to you is to finish strong, running THROUGH the tape and not TO the tape!  I owe this to you, Oklahoma United Methodists who keep the fire burning for Christ ... More importantly, I pledge this to God."

The Oklahoma Conference structure formally changed from 12 to eight districts.

Resolutions adopted: Ten churches were officially closed.

Election of General Conference delegates:

Clergy: Linda Harker, Joseph Harris, Bob Long, Jessica Seay, Sam Powers, Tom Harrison, Brian Bakeman.

Laity: Don Kim, Bill Junk, Herschel Beard, Chuck Stewart, Janey Wilson, Cara Nicklas, Aly Shahan.

Jurisdictional Conference delegates (the previous 14 plus):

Clergy: Aaron Tiger, Wade Paschal, Matt Judkins, Jeff Jaynes, D.A. Bennett, Valerie Steele, Fuxia Wang. (Clergy reserves: Ray Crawford, Tish Malloy, Lesly Broadbent.)

Laity: Sarah Nichols, Tom Junk, Barbara Perry, Kent Fulton, Cindy Hull, Briana Tobey, Earl Mitchell. (Laity reserves: Debra Davis, Reece Player, Ahnawake Dawson.)

Number of clergy ordained, commissioned, received: 26

Current membership:  233,037

Last year’s membership:  233,350

Current worship attendance:  50,679

Last year’s worship attendance:  52,180

Current church school attendance:  6,385 small groups

Last year’s church school attendance:  6,327 small groups

- Holly McCray, director of Communications, Oklahoma Conference