By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma Conference of Churches will host its 2018 Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet on Thursday, November 8. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center, 2501 Conference Drive in Norman.
Registration and a cocktail reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner and program following. As OCC’s largest fundraiser, the event will feature drawings for prizes throughout the evening, discuss the organization’s mission and this year’s focus, and honor community leaders. Individual tickets are $70 and sponsorships start at $600.
OCC is comprised of 17 denominations; 1500 local congregations; ecumenical, Interfaith, and community partners totaling more than half a million Oklahomans.
This year’s keynote speaker will be the Rev. Lawrence Ware, co-director of the Africana Studies Program and Teaching Assistant Professor and Diversity Coordinator in the Department of Philosophy at Oklahoma State University.
Ware is a contributing writer to Slate Magazine, The New York Times and The Root. He has been a commentator on race and politics for the Huffington Post Live, NPR, and TV One. He has taught and lectured across the country on issues ranging from race to economic policy. Ware organizes the Critical Conversations series, which hosts a number of events on campus related to race, gender, and religion.
“We are thrilled to recognize the following groups and individuals for their immense service to the State of Oklahoma in the areas of Ecumenism, Interfaith Work, Community Service, and Leadership,” said The Rev. Shannon Fleck, OCC executive director. “We hope that you will make plans to join us at our Annual Dinner to help honor these outstanding award recipients.”
OCC will honor Michael and Joan Korenblit with the 2018 Interfaith Award. This award reflects the work that they do for social justice through the Respect Diversity Foundation.
The Rev. Dr. Victor McCullough, District Superintendent, Heartland District, United Methodist Church, will receive OCC’s 2018 Bishop Floyd M. Schoenhals Distinguished Ecumenist Award. The citation is named after the former bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The recipient of the 2018 Community Service Award is the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, an organization that equips and strengthens the Oklahoma nonprofit sector through training, consulting, advocacy, membership, networking and awards.
New this year, OCC will recognize a high school student with the Leader of Tomorrow award, given to a student that exhibits characteristics and actions that would make them an OCC Leader in the making. The recipient will be honored for their commitment in living a life of faith, showing care of their neighbor, and their passion for the pursuit of justice. This award is for students of any faith tradition in grades 10-12, during the 2018-2019 school year. The honoree, to be announced at the event, will receive a $500 scholarship and four free tickets to the OCC Annual Dinner.
A special honor, the OCC Distinguished Service Recognition, will be presented to Dr. William Tabbernee for his years of service to the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.
Raffle tickets for $125 will be available to win one of several special vacation packages at participating resorts, including: The Verandah Resort and Spa, Antigua; St. James’s Club & Villas, Antigua; Pineapple Beach Club Antigua; Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua; Palm Island Resort & Spa, The Grenadines; St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, Saint Lucia; The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa; and the Los Establos Boutique Inn, Panama.
The winner(s) will receive a certificate outlining all details for the vacation package selected.
“Please consider sponsoring our largest fundraiser of the year as we continue our programs and further our reach throughout the state of Oklahoma by empowering, motivating, and educating communities on issues of faith and social justice,” Fleck added.
Individual dinner tickets for $70 are available for purchase on the 2018 OCC Annual Dinner page.
For more information regarding sponsorship packages or tickets, contact the Director of Development & Finance, Courtland Powers at [email protected] or call 405-525-2928. To learn more about the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, visit okchurches.org.