By Rev. Aaron Todd
Oklahoma City- October 19, 2015 will forever be a day etched into the legacy of the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and into the hearts of the people of Refuge Fellowship Church. Approximately 300 people gathered in the shadows of the Oklahoma City bombing memorial and within the beautiful and sacred confines of First United Methodist Church of downtown Oklahoma City to bear witness to the wonderful works of God and to participate in a Ceremony of Formation as Refuge Fellowship was officially recognized as a Congregation in Formation in the Oklahoma Region.
The ceremony was attended by ordained clergy, representatives from several Disciples of Christ congregations, the members and active participants of Refuge Fellowship Church, and by two elected Oklahoma City officials. The two-hour ceremony was led in part by Rev. Pamela Holt (Regional Minister), Rev. Jesse Jackson (East 6th Street Christian Church), Bishop Robert Taylor (Restoration Community Church), Rev. Michael Snell (First Christian Church-Midwest City), Rev. John Malget (First Christian Church-OKC), and Rev. Noel Haley-Gray (Refuge Fellowship Church) and featured powerful preaching, uplifting music, and many cheers and shouts of joy and affirmation.
Refuge Fellowship Church was born out of the willingness of Pastor Haley-Gray to follow the call to serve the homeless and transient population of downtown Oklahoma City. For the past ten years, Pastor Gray has been leading, shepherding, equipping, and advocating for the homeless of downtown Oklahoma City as she has sought to provide dignity to those whom she serves and to establish legitimacy for this congregation. The congregation gathers each Monday night at 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church (131 NW 4th St, Oklahoma City) for a time of worship and communion followed by a meal that is often provided and served by a different Disciples of Christ congregation.
Early in 2015, Refuge Fellowship received notice from Rev. Pamela Holt that they would be officially recognized as a church by the Oklahoma Region. The ceremony of October 19 marked the culmination of the long road that Refuge Fellowship Church has traveled and helped to usher in a new and exciting future.
For more information regarding the Ceremony of Formation or about the work of Refuge Fellowship Church, contact Rev. Noel Haley-Gray at [email protected]