Saturday, May 31, 2008

Trina Bose North and the Oklahoma Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

I haven't been posting lately because Larkin and I spent 4 days in Tulsa this week as lay representatives at the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Nichols Hills United Methodist Church was also represented by our ministers (Rev. Grayson Lucky, Rev. Rebecca Morton and Rev. Jack Terrell-Wilkes) and lay member Katie McLain (who has gone to Kenya with me three times).

There was lots of business conducted, lots of reports presented and wonderful worship services at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. You can view some of it here and I am sure more will be available in a few more days! Highlights for me were the presentation by the Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries program ably led by Rev. Stan Basler and updates on the United Methodist church's mission projects in Bolivia and Africa.

The United Methodist Church (with several other organizations including the National Basketball Association) has committed to wipe out malaria in Africa. It is very doable - just get everyone sleeping under mosquito netting for awhile - breaking the life cycle of the culprits - via the Nothing But Nets project. Note the photo of St. Luke's UMC senior pastor, Dr. Bob Long, presenting a basketball (signed by all the Bishops in the UMC) to our own Bishop Robert Hayes.

I also loved the ordination service - lots of new ministers (elders and deacons) to serve the church including my friend Trina Bose North.

Best of all, though was the "emerging worship service" organized by Rev. Jack Terrell-Wilkes and others. It was at 7 am on Friday but well worth getting up for. Over 100 participants sat at tables of 10 and participated in hands-on, interactive worship. Among other things, in an hour we broke tiles - then wrote forgiveness request prayers on the back and tiled a cross; worked with clay while listening to Scripture - then explained how our "result" related to the message; washed the hands of the person to our left; had Communion - by serving the bread and grape juice to the person to our left; shared something for which we were thankful as we broke a light stick representing the Light of the World; and much, much more! Unlike our "high church services" that we think of as "tradition" (while actually "typical" for only a couple hundred years at best), this more egalitarian, participatory form of worship very much appeals to those unfamiliar with current worship services and with those turned off by the very formal, bureaucratic church of today.

So that is where I have been but I will be back to blogging soon.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cynthia Crowe Meyerson Recognized for Her Service to Oklahoma Children

On May 8, 2008 during the Junior League of Oklahoma City, Inc.'s "Phenomenal Women" Annual Membership Luncheon, Cynthia Crowe Meyerson was presented the "Presidents Spirit of Commitment Award."

This award recognizes the true "spirit of commitment" shown by a Junior League Sustainer for her continuing effort and commitment to our community. This was a new award category this year designed to recognize a member who has created real change. It may or may not be presented every year. How very appropriate that the first JL member recognized was Cynthia Meyerson.

For many years, Cynthia has work hard and courageously gathering information, formulating solutions, working with a wide range of organizations and agencies to improve the lot of Oklahoma's children including those in Oklahoma's foster care system. She also served on the state's Pardon and Parole Board, is a women's rights advocate, and much more. I wouldn't try to count the hours she has spent at the State Capitol lobbying legislators on behalf of children.

Hurray for Cynthia! We are so pleased and proud you have been recognized for a lifetime of caring and commitment. And, thanks, also, to her loving, supporting husband, Jim (left in this picture) who backed her up all along the way.

I was honored to share in this celebratory event with many of Cynthia's friends including Janice Hendryx, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth. Years ago, I had a small hand in helping design OCCY's initial facility oversight instruments.

Kara Gae Neal To Head Tulsa Technology Center

Tulsan Kara Gae Neal is slated to become superintendent of the Tulsa Technology Center when Gene Callahan retires July 1, 2008. Neal currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma State University. She has served as superintendent of Glenpool Schools, Tulsa County School Superintendent and superintendent of Metro Technology Center in Oklahoma City. Congratulations, Kara Gae.

Erin Anderson and Jane Austin

I recently heard from Erin Anderson, a writer, theatre producer and actress who has reecently relocated from New York back to Okahoma City which she describes as "her roots." She recently completed a stage adaptation of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice that she hopes to produce locally. She sounds like a great person to have as a speaker on Jane Austin's impact on women and contemporary women's issues. :-)

Remembering Manya Korenblit

Holocaust survivor - and long time resident of Ponca City - Manya Korenblit died recently at age 83. Imprisoned as a girl by German Nazis, she survived 5 concentration camps including Auschwitz. She weighed 65 pounds when she was freed at age 20. You can read about her and her husband, Meyer, here and also read Carla Hinton's lovely remembrance. Her son, Michael Korenblit, co-authored a book about his parent's lives entitled Until We Meet Again. Michael and his wife, Joan, also founded the Respect Diversity Foundation which is based in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bessie Coleman's Aviation Achievements

As a rule, I TRY to limit my posts to topics that touch on Oklahoma women, women or Oklahoma in general. This is a stretch - but a good one. Tom Clapper with the State Senate sends me tidbits occasionally (thank you, Tom!) including the following. The merit is that it tells of a women who does an impersonation of Bessie Coleman who was born in Texas but attended Langston University when it was still the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Norman University. She went on to become the first African American (male or female) to become an airplane pilot and the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot's license.

You can read more about Bessie here and here. Here is Tom's article from a newspaper in Xenia, Ohio; it actually sounds like a great event:

Wings of Women Conference to be held -- The word is WOW! The second annual Wings Of Women Conference will be held Friday, July 18, at the National Aviation Hall of Fame, located at the U.S. Air Force Museum, and the Hope Hotel Conference Center in Fairborn. Young women grades 9 through 12 are invited to participate.

Activities include flying an aircraft simulator and learning to build your own aircraft wing to spec. Participants also will have the opportunity to take an EAA-sponsored Young Eagles flight in a small aircraft at Moraine Airpark on July 26, weather permitting. Luncheon keynote speaker will be Lt. Col. Lynn “Jinx” Gawell, Commander, Information Exploitation Squadron at the National Air & Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson AFB. Lt. Col. Gawell is a 1991 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master Navigator with more than 2900 flight hours. Her career spans 16 years during which she has flown the C/KC/NKC-135 Stratotanker.

Other mentors and speakers who will work closely with the participants include Emily Howell Warner, the first woman to fly for a modern major airline; Joan Mace, former director of the aviation department at Ohio University and who has taught many students to fly including current Air Bus pilot Connie Tobias; and Sandra Campbell, an FAA executive who does an inspirational impersonation of the first black woman to earn her private pilot’s license, Bessie Coleman. Local aviation mentors include World War II pilot, WASP Nadine Nagle of Kettering; nationally known wing walker Patty Wagner of Troy; Air Force Reserve C-141 pilot, Lt. Col. Kathy Staiger of Beavercreek, and aviation authors Ann Cooper of Beavercreek and Sarah Rickman of Centerville.

The $10 registration includes a Continental breakfast, lunch and conference materials. Register online at Call 256-0944 ext. 17 with questions.“Come meet and be inspired by successful women. WOW will help you develop your personal “flight plan” toward future goals. Come with your eyes on the sky,” said an event organizer.

Capitol State Art Collection Gallery Renamed in Honor of Betty Price

The Oklahoma House of representatives Public Relations Office reports that

The Oklahoma Legislature voted today to rename the art gallery that houses the Oklahoma State Art Collection in the State Capitol as the Betty Price Gallery.

House Concurrent Resolution 1084, by state Rep. Dale DeWitt (R-Braman) and state Sen. David Myers (R-Ponca City), changes the gallery name to honor Price. The measure was approved by both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the
state Senate today.

Price served as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Arts Council from 1983 to 2007. As an advisor to the State Capitol Preservation Commission, Price was a guiding force in the commissioning and dedication of public art at the State Capitol. Price directed the commissions of major murals, portraits and sculptures in the public areas of the Capitol and was an advisor for the Capitol dome.

The Oklahoma State Art Collection Gallery opened on November 17, 2007 and features more than 100 works of art by artists with Oklahoma connections. Established by the Oklahoma Arts Council in January 1971, the Oklahoma State Art Collection was created to collect and preserve the work of Oklahoma artists.

Price said she was overwhelmed by the honor bestowed on her by the Oklahoma Legislature. "Thank you for the privilege and honor of serving and for the support, counsel and friendship you've shown me these past 33 years. This is the absolute highest honor I've ever received. What an incredible opportunity I've had to get to know the energetic and engaged people of Oklahoma who care about their communities and are making the arts happen across the state."

A member of the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame, Price was honored as the 2006 Red Earth Ambassador of the Year in Oklahoma City. In 2000, she was named State Arts Agency Director of the Year by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Washington, DC. Price currently serves on the National Board of Artrain USA, Red Earth, the Oklahoma Centennial Commission, the American Indian Cultural Center and the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum. She previously served as a member of the Oklahoma Tourism Promotion Advisory Committee, Friends of the Mansion and Friends of the Capitol.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Gov Henry Appoints Deborah Barnes to State Court of Civil Appeals

Here is the Governor's press release:


Gov. Henry Appoints Deborah Browers Barnes to Civil Appeals Court (Oklahoma City) Governor Brad Henry announced today the appointment of Deborah Ann Browers Barnes of Tulsa to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. She will fill the position previously held by Justice John Reif, whom Gov. Henry appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court in October.

Barnes earned her law degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1983. She served as a staff attorney for Justice Ralph Hodges at the Oklahoma Supreme Court from 1985 to 1989, and since then has worked in civil litigation, administrative law, commercial and business law.

Deborah Barnes worked as vice president, corporate secretary and associate general counsel at ONEOK, Inc. in Tulsa from 1997 to 2001. Most recently, she worked in private practice at Crutchmer, Browers & Barnes, P.L.L.C from 2002 to the present.

"I want to thank Debbie Barnes for her willingness to serve the state of Oklahoma," Gov. Henry said. "Her breadth of experience makes her a great fit for the Court of Civil Appeals, and I know she will serve the court with honor and integrity."

Gov. Henry selected Barnes from a recommendation list compiled by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission.