Another eventful year has passed for Oklahoma Baptists, as 2015 featured flood recovery, response to a renowned judicial ruling and exposure of the nation’s leading abortion provider selling aborted baby parts. The Baptist Messenger’s first edition of 2016 looks back on these stories and others that made the top 10 list from 2015, according to the Messenger staff.
Camps Comeback: Falls Creek, CrossTimbers recover after flood
Falls Creek Conference Center’s summer youth camp and CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp overcame historic flood conditions in late June, which caused both encampments to conclude one week of camp early and cancel the following week of camp. Both camps were able to reopen and continue summer programming.
Responding to same-sex marriage
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court mandating same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) responded by establishing a special web page that highlights resources meant to help churches do ministry effectively. Months before, the BGCO hosted a major conference for churches titled, “The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church,” which featured notable speakers R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and Russell D. Moore.
Planned Parenthood exposed by videos
A series of undercover videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, a nonprofit medical watchdog group, has been distributed on the Internet and reveal that Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has harvested and sold baby parts gained through abortions. In the wake of the shocking videos, a Congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood was undertaken, and various pro-life groups and leaders have called on Congress to redirect taxpayer funds away from the organization to more credible groups.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief stays busy
From helping tornado victims in the spring to responding to calls for ice storm recovery in the winter, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were involved in many weather-related disasters in 2015. The ice storm recovery work will continue into 2016, according to the BGCO’s Sam Porter.
Franklin Graham visits Oklahoma City twice
Renowned evangelist Franklin Graham first appeared in Oklahoma City during the Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference in January, and returned in August for the Good News Festival in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The son of Billy Graham drew thousands at each speaking engagement, which witnessed a multitude of people making decisions for Jesus Christ.
Reflections stirred by 20th anniversary of Oklahoma City Bombing
April 19, 1995 is a day that forever changed the state and nation. The Baptist Messenger paid tribute by featuring two profiles of courageous service from the significant tragedy. The profiles may be read at www.baptistmessenger.com.
Ten Commandments monument removed from State Capitol
Removing a Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma State Capitol made national news. The monument, which found a temporary new home at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, located on Lincoln Boulevard, was removed after an order from the Oklahoma State Supreme Court in June said the Oklahoma Constitution prohibited the state from displaying it. The removal stirred responses from many, including State Attorney Gen. Scott Pruitt and a group of Texas cowboys who rode 109 miles on horseback to deliver a tablet of the Ten Commandments to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
Singing ChurchWomen celebrate their 25th anniversary
With more than 300 members, the Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma presented a 25th anniversary concert at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills, reflecting on their history and heritage in the world of Oklahoma church music.
Dedication of Jordan Welcome Center and other Falls Creek facilities
The family of BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan was honored during a dedication ceremony of the Jordan Welcome Center at Falls Creek. The event also featured dedications of Falls Creek’s Thompson Sports Pavilion and Kannady Family Lodge. The new facilities greatly expand Falls Creek’s ability to host conferences and events.
Connect>1 Evangelism launched through ReConnect
The BGCO introduced a major emphasis of personal evangelism through the ReConnect Sunday School strategy during the Annual Meeting in November. The emphasis will be made continually through the theme promotion “Connect>1” and will offer resources to churches, including Gospel tracts, videos, training materials and more.