2021 Oklahoma Annual Conference

Officiating: Bishop James Nunn

The Oklahoma Conference had planned to have an option of in-person attendance for its annual meeting, but the rising number of COVID-19 cases, attributed to the Delta variant, caused leaders to decide the meeting had to be online only. Bishop Nunn presided from the Oklahoma Conference Ministry Center in Oklahoma City.

Some memorable quotations from the Oct. 8-9 meeting:

“So many of the firsts in my life—first trip abroad, first big drive by myself, first trip to Portland, and first time to help run a statewide board came from The United Methodist Church. … The story of my life is woven together with United Methodist thread, with every thread representing different parts of that story.” — Monica Hiller, associate conference lay leader

“It has been a pleasure being one of two church plants in the Tulsa area, especially north Tulsa, a place still healing yet moving forward from the heinous massacre that took place 100 years ago.” — Rev. Michael Long, pastor of The Table, a new church plant

“An unstable internet is double-minded in all of its ways.” — Bishop James Nunn, after internet issues delayed the start of the business session

“One of the things I’ve heard several people say is ‘we just want to get our attendance back to where it was pre-covid.’ Friends, I would like to take that burden off your shoulders. The goal is not to get to some numerical value of the number of people we have in church or the number of people we have in this thing or in that thing or the other thing. The goal is simply to sow seed and to make a difference by showing kindness and peace and goodness and expecting and giving the best of ourselves to other people.” — Bishop James Nunn

Main actions enacted by the conference:

  • Elected a new treasurer (100% yes)
  • Approved retirement plans (99% and up yes votes for all three votes)
  • Approved annual budget (98% yes)

Number of churches that closed because no longer sustainable: 12

Names of delegates for General Conference:

  • General Conference lay delegates: Tom Junk, Don Kim, Cara Nicklas, Barbara Jean Perry, Herschel Beard, Kent Fulton, Janey Wilson.
  • General Conference clergy delegates: Joseph Harris, Derrek Belase, Sam Powers, Jessica Moffatt, Charla Gwartney, Valerie Steele, Tom Harrison.
  • Jurisdictional Conference lay delegates: Chuck Stewart, Kira Dawn Calhoun, Andrea Beth Dollarhite, Gloria Aijnomisangham, Holly Joy, Piper Nigel Freese, Aly Elizabeth Shahan.
  • Jurisdictional Conference clergy delegates: Carol Cook Moore, Fuxia Wang, D.A. Bennett, Matt Judkins, James Lambert, Carlos Ramirez, Tish Malloy.
  • Alternate lay delegates: Evan Hal Nicklas, Kyla Powers, Courtney Blacksten.
  • Alternate clergy delegates: Lesly Broadbent, Jennifer Long, Adam Shahan.
  • Delegate executive leadership team (In order of election): Tom Junk, Cara Nicklas, Joseph Harris, Derrek Belase, Jessica Moffat

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age: nine ordained elders, one commissioned deacon, six commissioned elders

Number of clergy retired: 31

Membership: 208,774, down 4,763 from previous year.

Average weekly worship attendance: 27,955, down 17,252.

Average weekly online worship attendance: 48,821, up 40,809.

Average weekly church school attendance: 13,600, down 9,237.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith: 917, down 699

Adults and young adults in small groups: 26,620, down 12,077.

Worshippers engaged in mission: 22,296, down 15,718.

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