U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's schedule is always crammed, his weeks in Washington filled with the pressing issues of the day. When he goes to the First Baptist Church of Muskogee, “it's a time of relief and a shelter from a pretty windy storm. It's a period of mental rest and spiritual peace.”
Ann Dee Lee was raised in the Jewish faith, surrounded mostly by Christians. “You grow up from the time you’re very little knowing that you’re different, and accepting that, and that you have different times of the year than everyone else to celebrate, to pray, to mourn,” Lee said. “There is an apartness, if there is such a word, that makes you realize that you are not a part of the mainstream.”
The Rev. Thelma Chambers-Young is used to people telling her women don’t belong in the pulpit and God would never call a woman to be a minister. She’s also used to people not using reverend when referring to her, even though they use the title with her male counterparts.
How are faith issues handled on the job? Faith is one thing, and religion another. Steve Trice, CEO of Jasco Products Co. in Oklahoma City said he lives his faith in God in the way he runs his company, and treats his employees.
Minority faith communities are growing in Oklahoma, and the Hindu community has a larger presence since the opening of the Vedic Temple, 3048, N. Grand Blvd., one year ago. Roshini Nambiar, spiritual leader of the Vedic Temple, and board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, is actively involved with the temple, and the community.
Saad Mohammed feared the worst after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Would his neighbors blame all Muslims for the misdeeds of an extremist few? Would Oklahomans turn against him and other members of the Islamic community? He needn’t have worried.
Leaders of Oklahoma City’s Crossings Community Church didn’t set out to create a huge church. “It’s staggering. We didn’t set out to do that at all,” said Marty Grubbs, senior pastor at Crossings, where worship attendance has tripled from about 1,500 nine years ago to 4,500 today.
NINNEKAH — For 58 years, Southern Baptist minister Leroy Looper has been preaching God’s message of salvation through Jesus. Looper, 82, continues to preach from the pulpit most Sundays as a fill-in at churches near his Byars home. He is the interim pastor at Ninnekah Baptist Church in Grady County.
Oklahoma City has a rich and diverse religious community that religious leaders say merits exploring. But before anyone embarks on a religious journey, they should be sure to have a patient, open mind, leaders say. Imad Enchassi, imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said anyone looking to find out about their neighbor’s religion first should nix any preconceived ideas about other faith traditions.
Oklahomans have seen religion-related issues heat up the headlines: “Edmond cuts ties with Jesus statue.” “Activists say religion should be used to fight anti-homosexual beliefs instead of sustain them.” “17 state lawmakers refuse Quran gifts.” “Immigration: As new law’s effects are felt, church members are asked to continue attending.”
Have you ever wondered what happened to a ministry leader, or a mover and shaker in the faith community? Are you curious about a certain preacher — once high profile — but now off the news radar? Send us names of the faith leaders you want to know about. We'll attempt to track them down, or obtain information about where they are now for a future story.
People are passionate about their music and church music is no exception. From the traditional hymns like “Amazing Grace” to contemporary selections like Rich Mullin’s “How Great is Our God,” music is an integral part of many church worship services. How that music is presented and incorporated into the worship experience can depend on many things.
Fear of breaking the rules of separation between church and state at times can keep churches and schools from coming together for students. But Oklahoma religious leaders who participated earlier this year in the Educators and Clergy Conference in Norman said they were taking the initiative to aid neighboring public schools.
Some might think that growing up in a household that included more than one religion would be difficult. But for Attallah Harris, 22, of Oklahoma City, having two religions in the house was just something she was used to. Her mother attended Catholic and Protestant churches while her father went to Protestant churches.
Evangelist Billy Graham is to celebrate his 90th birthday on Nov. 7. The renowned faith leader, dubbed “America’s preacher,” is loved and respected by many Oklahomans. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has created a Web site, www.BillyGraham90.com, where people can share their personal memories of the evangelist and even send him birthday greetings.