Monthly Archives: January2020

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IMG_8436A record number of Native youth participated in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference’s fall youth retreat on Oct. 19, 2019 in Oklahoma City. The day began with a devotion at Mary Lee Clark United Methodist church in Midwest City and included a trip to the Frontier City theme park.

“At the time of planning, we hoped to have a few churches join us on the day,” said Jalisa Ross, Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) coordinator. “As the deadline approached, more and more churches joined the numbers and we were thrilled to have 135 youth, children and youth workers from across the state attend the event.”

CCYM president, Jariah Eyachabbe, greeted the crowds and led the devotions with officers: Alyssa Underwood (vice-president), Serena Tulsa (secretary), and Ramona Butler (worship leader). All the churches who reserved tickets before September 30th were provided with free tickets for their youth and coordinators.

Growing youth ministries is a priority for the CCYM, according to Ross who came on board to work with Native youth on September 15, 2019. Several events have been scheduled in 2020 to engage the youth and support them in their spiritual journey, she said.

The CCYM Winter Retreat is scheduled for January 4-5, 2020 in Oklahoma City. The youth will start at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma located at 3355 S. Purdue Street in Oklahoma City at 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 4. Following the service project, they will head to downtown Oklahoma City to enjoy ice skating at the Devon Ice Rink. All attendees will be responsible for their own skate rentals which are $13.00 plus tax.

Details about the event may be found on the OIMC Youth Facebook page or by contacting Ross at jalisaross70@outlook.com. Registration is due by Dec. 30, 2019.

80610289_10158157311487845_927318017988100096_nOn Dec. 19, volunteers from the OIMC delivered snow boots, snow pants, underwear and school supplies for children living on the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota.

The reservation has experience flooding rains and a series of extreme weather events over the past year. The Rev. David Wilson met with tribal leaders and discovered many people are living in deplorable and hazardous conditions.

“We are grateful for our many local churches, partners and allies who have made donations to help with the immediate needs of the Yankton Sioux.”

He says the crisis on the Yankton Sioux reservation is not getting any media coverage and no help from federal agencies.

Donations can be made online by visiting www.umc-oimc.org/online or mailed to the OIMC office at 602 SW 35th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73109.

IMG_8330The fifth annual Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Gala and Silent Auction held Oct. 17, 2019, raised more than $75,000 for the permanent endowment fund for pastoral leadership.

Organizers are calling the event held at the Reed Center in Midwest City a great success.

“We were pleased with the outcome of this Gala and certainly thankful for the many people who attended and supported the
endowment with their contributions,” said the Rev.David Wilson, OIMC superintendent.

Brent Greenwood, Chickasaw artist and member of OIMC, created a painting live during the event which sold during the auction to a former state senator. The Chickasaw Dance Troupe provided the cultural entertainment and Tara Dawkins served as the emcee for the Gala. Over fifty items were donated for the silent auction which also produced several thousand dollars, Wilson said.

The endowment has grown to approximately 2.3 million dollars which is generating permanent funds for OIMC’s yearly budget. Wilson says the goal is to be able to raise the base salary of full-time OIMC pastors which are the lowest paid in the The United Methodist Church in the U.S.

“The Gala is important because it celebrates the heritage and lives of Native Americans and proclaims a future filled with hope for the churches and people of the OIMC,” Bishop Jimmy Nunn, episcopal leader of the Oklahoma Conference and the OIMC.

Donors of $10,000 or more included The Chickasaw Nation, The Choctaw Nation and Bishop Jimmy Nunn. The Cherokee Nation also supported the gala with a $5,000 contribution.


After many years of faithful waiting and work, the people of the Good Springs United Methodist Church have a brand new church building. The church, located near Talihina in Southeast Oklahoma, dedicated their building on November 10, 2019.

Oklahoma Bishop Jimmy Nunn, Conference Superintendent the Rev. David Wilson and District Superintendents the Rev. July Tecumseh and the Rev. Margaret Johnson were on hand to celebrate the completion of the new structure.

“I’m so proud of the people who have worked here at this church and just thrilled with what God is doing in our midst,” said Nunn.

Lay Missioner Margie Jones has led the church faithfully for over 20 years and was ecstatic about the new building.

“I look at the church and wonder what our elders would think,” she said. The construction began last July with a Volunteers In Mission team from Wayne United Methodist Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The team consisted of mostly high school students and their experienced construction leaders who built the church from the ground up. When the team left, the church was dried in and church members and friends completed the work.

The church had great support from friends in the community who provided free labor as electricians and plumbers and sheet rock installers, saving the church thousands of dollars, Wilson said.

“It was great to see the energy that this new building created in church members and those outside of the church who wanted to help.”

Funding for the building came from the local church, Choctaw Nation, and grants from the Shoemake Trust out of the Oklahoma Methodist Foundation and the denomination’s Native American Ministries Sunday Fund.

The church includes indoor plumbing which is a first for this small church.

The Council of Bishops announced a proposed separation agreement reached by an unofficial group representing a diverse range of United Methodist traditionalist, centrist and progressive interests. The agreement, known as the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was signed on Dec. 17, 2019 and announced January 3, 2020.

While details of this protocol include terms of denominational separation, the local church does not need to worry about division just yet. The agreement itself is not an official plan included among the business of the 2020 General Conference. A two-thirds majority of delegates to General Conference will need to agree to suspend the rules before the protocol can be considered for a vote, and proposed amendments will likely change how any proposed separation plays out.

Many in the church are ready to move past the harmful debates and debasement of others. We believe that all people are of sacred worth, and we are called to make disciples of all people. As we move forward into uncertain times, I urge you to continue being faithful to Jesus Christ. Continue to support your local church, and continue to bring the light of God’s love to those living in spiritual darkness. No plan or separation will ever change the mandate for all Christians to love one another.
The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference will continue to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and we will continue our commitment to equip local churches and strengthen our United Methodist witness throughout the state.

If you would like to read the Council of Bishops’ press release, you can find it at UnitedMethodistBishops.org. If you would like to review a list of questions and answers about General Conference, you can find my responses at okumc.org.

I encourage you to continue your prayers for the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Delegation as they prepare for General Conference in May. Moreover, I encourage you to hold fast to your faith, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and expect God to reveal the next steps in our journey forward.

Bishop Jimmy Nunn