By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma Conference of Churches (OCC) will host its 2019 Annual Dinner and Fundraiser on Thursday, November 7. Themed, “Inspired Stories,” the event will take place at the Oklahoma City Farmer’s Public Market, at 311 South Klein.
Registration and a reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner and program following.
“This year’s event will bring together an evening of inspired stories and will celebrate another year of ministry of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches,” said The Rev. Shannon Fleck, OCC executive director.
“This is the conference’s main fundraising event of the year, and we look forward to the opportunity to gather together as those that celebrate a commitment to unity at the heart of the work of faith.”
The program will feature national best-selling author Georgia Hunter, as its keynote speaker.
At the age of 15 years old, Hunter learned that she came from a family of Holocaust survivors. Her book, “We Were the Lucky Ones” was the result of her journey to uncover the incredible history of a Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite against all odds.
“We are thrilled to recognize the following groups and individuals for their immense service to the State of Oklahoma in the areas of Ecumenism, Community Service, and Interfaith Work” said Rev. Fleck.
The Rev. Andrew Long, First Presbyterian Church of Enid, will receive OCC’s 2019 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 Oklahoma Women’s Coalition will be honored with the group’s Community Service Award, and Kuaybe Basturk, former executive director of the Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City, will receive OCC’s 2019 Interfaith Award.
That evening, the Leader of Tomorrow Award will recognize an Oklahoma high school student that exhibits characteristics and actions that would make them an “OCC Leader in the making.” This award is given to a student of any faith in grades 10-12 who shows commitment in living a life of faith, showing care of their neighbor, and a passion for the work of justice. The recipient will receive a $500 scholarship and four tickets to the annual dinner.
“We hope that you will make plans to join us at our Annual Dinner to help honor these outstanding award recipients,” Fleck added.
Founded in 1972, the Oklahoma Conference of Churches has a long history of ministry to the people of Oklahoma through organizing disaster response solutions, cooperating with government agencies to educate people on specific needs, and hosting events designed to inform and promote understanding and unity.
The organization is comprised of Christian denominations, Interfaith houses of worship, and community organizations, which “connects the voices and efforts of many groups for meaningful results,” according to its website.
“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.