“I still believe Matthew 28: Go ye therefore…,” said Victor Cope, pastor for nearly 32 years of Moore, First Indian. He leads the church on three mission trips a year (except for 2020’s pandemic interruption).
Cope, is a member of the Citizen Pottawatomie tribe who also identifies with the Creek and Absentee Shawnee tribes. He graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1979, has been in the pastorate 44 years, an educator for 36 years, and director of Indian Falls Creek for 30 years.
For 32 years, Moore, First Indian has taken mission trips to the Blackfeet reservation in Browning, Montana (1,500 miles one way), to western Oklahoma and to eastern Oklahoma.
“Indians reach Indians. That’s the primary mission,” Cope said. “I know it’s very important for us to go. We can have greater success helping another Indian church.”
Cope was hired in 1989 as the Indian Education Director in Tecumseh public schools. Today he teaches multicultural studies involving Native-, Jewish- and African-Americans.
“They’re similar,” Cope said. “Native Americans were almost exterminated; Jewish people were almost exterminated; and African-Americans were brutalized in the United States.” He tells his students, “My goal is to make each of you better human beings, to learn to treat everyone with honor, respect and love.”
Last spring Cope, deemed an “essential person” in Tecumseh schools because of federal programs, spent days alone in a big building. In the past his personal study was to help him be a better pastor, he said. Now because of devotions and scripture readings added during no-student time at the school, “I have become a more prayerful man, I’m engrossed in learning more about the Bible, and those two things have helped me become a better Christian.”
Cope exercises an hour or more a day, seven days a week, to alleviate the stress of pastoring and teaching.
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Victor Cope was featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Pastor Cope’s prayer requests, visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp