Oklahoma – United Church of Christ
Oklahoma has had thirty major disaster declarations in the past 10 years which, regrettably, suggests that there may be a similar or even greater number in the next ten years. Emotional and spiritual care for survivors of such storms is vital for communities to recover. Consistency in care is particularly important for the most Oklahoma has had thirty major disaster declarations in the past 10 years which, regrettably, suggests that there may be a similar or even greater number in the next ten years.vulnerable. UCC Disaster Ministries is supporting the Oklahoma Conference of Churches in developing training modules and credentialing criteria for local and deployed spiritual care responders and providers. Since the 2013 tornadoes in Oklahoma, 66 local clergy representing 21 Christian denominations, several non-denominational central Oklahoma churches, and three interfaith partners have been fully credentialed as “Local Spiritual Care Responders.” An additional 14 lay persons have completed the basic training modules toward their credentialing once they complete additional modules OCC would like to offer. The Conference of Churches’ credentialed responders receive official badges as “Oklahoma Emergency Responders” from the Oklahoma City/County Health Department. They are credentialed to serve only in their own local areas. Deployed Spiritual Care providers related to the organization, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), are officially recognized by the relevant state and national disaster organizations. The UCC is helping the OK Conference of Churches train significantly more Deployed Spiritual Care Providers, Team Leaders, and Spiritual Care Managers who are credentialed and able to deploy at a moment’s notice – thus to be prepared to deal responsibly with the emotional and spiritual care needs of those affected by future disasters in the state, and beyond.