Members of Cache United Methodist Church plan living nativity
More than 2,000 years ago, a young couple expecting their first child traveled to Bethlehem, meeting other travelers, shepherds and Roman soldiers along the way.
Visitors to the free Live Nativity Trail in Cache from 6-9 p.m. Friday through Dec. 15 can experience Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and the night of Jesus' birth in the manger.
This is the eighth year that Cache United Methodist Church members, including Pastor Mike Winchell and his wife Donna, will guide visitors through a distant country that existed two millennia ago.
Visitors will travel through the night by hay wagon, meeting and talking to shepherds and being questioned by Roman soldiers and three wise men. They will pass donkeys, llamas, a camel, miniature horses and a herd of sheep along the way to the humble barn. In the rude barn, a baby will be sleeping in a manger surrounded by his parents, angels and farm animals.
"I'm a guide and my name will be Jacob. My wife Donna is also a guide named Sarah. We will go in pairs accompanying the 'pilgrims' going to Bethlehem to pay their taxes," Mike Winchell said.
Pilgrims will be part of story
The pilgrims will feel as if they are part of the story.
"It is very experiential; visitors will be able to interact with the actors in each scene they progress through," said Rhonda Clemmer, director of the trail and owner of the 110 acres of land used for the annual event. The story is very familiar because "we closely follow scripture."
Written by Staff|
Friday, 06 December 2013 22:15 | Published inReligion
Applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are due in local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices on Dec. 20, according to Gary O'Neill, state conservationist for NRCS.
"The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is a voluntary program that is available to owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern to be addressed," O'Neill said.
EQIP provides financial assistance for eligible producers to help plan and implement conservation practices that address existing natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. Another purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet federal, state, tribal and local environmental regulations.
"EQIP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established farmers as well as beginning, historically underserved and limited resource producers. This is another example of the work of NRCS in Oklahoma and our efforts together with our partners to address environmental conservation issues and strengthen Oklahoma's rural economy," O'Neill added.
Written by Staff|
Saturday, 16 November 2013 00:59 | Published inReligion
ALTUS The public is invited to attend the annual Country Kitchen Christmas Bazaar scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church, 317 N. Main.
The lunch menu will include Pride of the Prairie Stew, Circuit Rider's Best Beans, Methodist Cornbread, and World Famous Peach Cobbler to be served at the Calico Soup Nook. Take-outs will be available.
Delectable holiday foods will be sold at the North Pole Bakery and Mrs. Claus Candy Shoppe. They include cherry pies, Italian cream cakes, pound cakes, pumpkin pies, pecan pies, Aunt Bill's candy, peanut brittle, pumpkin bread, herbed yeast breads, sausage balls, chocolate fudge, salsa, jams and pickles.
Three quilts will be offered at the event. They include:
The "Kitchen Woodbox," pieced by Lucille Holsey. The pattern, also known as "Farmer's Wife," is constructed in octagonal blocks joined with squares on point. The design dates from at least 1941 when it appeared in the Kansas City Star, according to Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. This quilt uses a large variety of prints and colors, thus making it a charming "scrappy" quilt. It was quilted by the First United Methodist Church Quilting Bee.
"Apiary (Where the Bees Be)," made by Jeanette Glasgow. The design is inspired by a honeycomb, hence the name "Apiary." The blocks are composed of cheerful and sunny prints reminiscent of a summer cottage garden. The whimsy is enhanced with a single block made in the design of a lovable bee. The fabrics are from Kate Spain's Honey Honey collection.
The annual collection of shoeboxes filled with small gifts for Operation Christmas Child will begin Monday and end at noon Nov. 25.
The OCC collection point for all of Southwest Oklahoma is First Baptist Church, 501 SW B. There are two additional drop-off centers, but those centers will have to have all their boxes brought to First Baptist Church no later than noon Nov. 25. Anyone who plans to drop off their boxes either at the First Christian Church in Walters at (580) 875-3238, or First United Methodist Church in Duncan at (580) 255-3353, should call those churches to find out the last day to drop off the boxes.
Individuals or groups who have filled the shoeboxes destined for children in need across the globe, can bring in their shoeboxes to First Baptist Church Monday through Nov. 25. Collection times include: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 23, 2-4 p.m. Nov. 24, and 11 a.m. to noon Nov. 25. Samaritan's Purse, a non-profit nondenominational evangelical organization, which started Operation Christmas Child 20 years ago, will then pick up the boxes for shipment, said Nan French, southwest regional coordinator for OCC.
Even though it is the start of collection week, individuals can still fill shoeboxes as long as they turn them in no later than noon Nov. 25. Standard-sized plastic or cardboard shoeboxes or the red and green Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes can be used.
Dave Roever hopes that each person attending Sunday's services at First Assembly of God will leave "with a joyful and happy heart."
Roever will bring his message to the 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. services at the church, 2201 NW 82nd. Veterans are invited on a reservation-only basis to an 8:30 a.m. reception Sunday at the church hosted by Roever. Reservations are required due to a limited number of seats. Call 536-9325 to find out if any seats are still available.
All are invited to hear this well-known evangelist at the services. He will bring his story of his faith in God and the love of his wife that brought him through the severe, life-threatening burns he suffered when a white phosphorus grenade exploded in his hand in Vietnam in 1969.
Roever said that despite the pain and all the surgeries he endured, the explosion and his recovery "was probably the best thing that ever happened in my life."
The decorated Vietnam veteran simply states how his life has been since after the explosion.
"I went through hell, but came out in Heaven," said the former U.S. Navy sailor.
As soon as he was discharged from Brooke Army Medical center in San Antonio, Texas, he became an evangelist at churches and a speaker at schools, businesses and military installations. He has traveled across the U.S. and around the world bringing his message of hope, helping those dealing with tragedies, low self-esteem, substance abuse and violence.
Without that life-changing experience, Roever said, he would probably be "a couch potato."
Instead, he travels about 300 days each year. Every month he travels to different installations for the U.S. Department of Defense talking to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines about suicide prevention and other subjects under the auspices of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program.
During the last 20 years, Operation Christmas Child project has sent 100 million shoeboxes of gifts to needy boys and girls around the world and more boxes will be on their way from Lawton soon.
From Nov. 18-25, First Baptist Church will be the collection point in Southwest Oklahoma for all the shoeboxes filled by individuals, families, church groups or other organizations in Lawton and surrounding cities and towns, said Nan French, southwest regional coordinator for OCC.
"Last year, 4,653 boxes were sent from here and went to Mexico, the Philippines and another country. This year we hope to send more than 5,000," French said. On Nov. 3, church members held a packing party, packing 1,100 red and green boxes that now await shipment.
Each shoebox is filled with an assortment of items selected by the sender including school supplies, hygiene items, small toys and stuffed animals, messages and pictures from the sender and messages of faith.
OCC is a project started by Samaritan's Purse, a non-profit nondenominational evangelical organization, which provides spiritual and physical support worldwide to those in need. The OCC project, according to the organization's website, is designed to "share God's love with children around the world."
Learning to help others Each year the packing party at First Baptist Church is a big undertaking, with various groups in the church providing items for the boxes, said church member and OCC volunteer Gwen Phelps.
"I went in before the packing party and helped count and divide items. Our youth group folded all the boxes and had them ready to fill," Phelps said. "They had toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths ... toys, color books, combs and a bunch of little bracelets."
At least one of the families at the event was new to Lawton, but not to OCC.
"I have been participating in Operation Christmas Child since I was 5. It is a yearly tradition for my family," said Carolyn Johns, who grew up in the Raleigh, N.C., area. The wife of a soldier, she moved to Lawton in June with her husband, Thomas Johns, and their two children Sara Johns, almost 4 years old, and TJ Johns, 20 months old. Five weeks ago, the Johns became members of First Baptist Church and Carolyn immediately volunteered to help with the upcoming OCC event.
Grace Fellowship Church's "Garage Free" event today is more than a free garage sale, "it is a family activity," said Sharon Allison, a volunteer for the event.
The Garage Free event begins at 9 a.m. today at the church, 5333 NW Liberty. The event will have free items available including clothing, household items, toys, electronics and furniture. Attendees can also enjoy a free lunch and treats from Cherry Berry as well as free face painting and contests to win a flat screen television and full Thanksgiving baskets.
Sharon Allison's husband, Cyril, found out about the annual event three years ago from his co-worker who is a member of the non-denominational church, she said by phone Friday. When they heard about the church's outreach, the family decided to make the trip to the Garage Free event the last two years and look through what is available and enjoy the day.
"It's a family activity like going to the zoo ... we got mostly kids clothes and toys," she said, adding that this year she decided it would be a good thing to volunteer and give back.
"I wanted them (her children) to see how much work it took .. it is important to learn to give as well as receive," said Allison, who homeschools her children.
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