Faith and water conservation leaders are asking Oklahomans to pray collectively for rain.
Monday, leaders of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, Oklahoma Conference of Churches and the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma's Whole Creation Community ministry gathered at the state Capitol to talk about a statewide initiative designed to encourage residents to pray for rain and to urge better stewardship of water.
“Prayer works — not only because it puts us in touch with God but it helps us focus on important issues,” said the Rev. William Tabbernee, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.
Clay Pope, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, said that three prayer services are planned in the coming months, beginning with a gathering May 1 at Oklahoma City University. He said other prayer gatherings will be June 26 and Sept. 18.
Pope said the Interfaith Days of Prayer for Rain and Water Stewardship highlight the need for prayer for rain but also the need for people to be good stewards of the Earth.
The Most Rev. Stephen Charleston, an Episcopal bishop who is professor of Native American Ministries at OCU's St. Paul School of Theology, said Oklahomans know all too well what it is like to experience a dearth of rain.
“This is an opportunity for us to do what we did years ago in the Dust Bowl days. We needed water desperately,” Charleston said, referring to the environmental crisis that destroyed much Oklahoma farmland during the 1930s.
He said people during the Dust Bowl era helped one another as they faced catastrophic conditions.
“It didn't matter what color or faith you were. We need that same spirit in Oklahoma today,” he said.