For whatever the reason— religion, race, financial status, sexuality—we have human brothers and sisters that aren't invited to the table of privilege. Further, many in privileged positions have been curating the systems to keep it that way by perpetuating outdated secular norms. This is the precise territory that Reverend Shannon Fleck operates, and it's why I asked her to visit with me on Find the Good News.
Reverend Fleck is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, a coalition of faith communities, Christian denominations, interfaith organizations, and secular nonprofits that work to connect society to faith-based communities.
This mission and this conversation are personal for Shannon. She holds, as do I, that people are informed by what they see, and when they do not see themselves properly represented they are actually being held back from the fullness of humanity, effectively stunting their growth into their full potential, neutering communities from the enrichment that diversity and variety brings.
Reverend Fleck is a Christian faith leader that is publicly addressing the very real and present issues that many Churches are not addressing. While she isn't a fan of the particularly partisan marriage of religion-and-politics, she does lean her Christian faith directly into restorative justice, as well as the avoidance of umbrella terms that simply placate and maintain old social norms.
REVEREND SHANNON FLECK
The Rev. Shannon Fleck, an Oklahoma native became OCC’s Executive Director in June 2018. She was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2011.
Fleck was elevated to Executive Director after serving as OCC Director of Program Development from May 2017 to June 2018.
She bring as passion for social justice and interfaith relations, both core components of the OCC mission.
Prior to her current OCC position, Fleck service as the Central Christian Church Associate Minister in Enid, Oklahoma. There, she was instrumental in initiating several community outreach programs, such as:
- Weekly Welcome Table Ministry for the community’s food insecure
- Bi-monthly suicide survivor support group
- First ever religious presence at Enid’s (annual) Pride celebration; and
- Multiple services and programs though the church year accommodating other marginalized communities
Other assignments include serving in Little Rock Air Force Base chapel ministry; the First Christian Church of Yukon, Oklahoma, and Western Oaks Christian Church, Oklahoma City.
Rev. Fleck was selected for the 2017 Human Rights Award from Church Women United.
She spent her childhood in Guthrie where she graduate high school before earning Bachelor Arts in Sociology from the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond.
Following college, she spent two years with the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. She entered Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she was the Matthew Thompson Fellow. There she was the recipient of the Sojourner Award; the Interpreter’s Award and multiple book awards along with serving in the Phillips Student Senate.
Rev. Fleck is currently the 2nd Vice Moderator for the Christian Church in Oklahoma and an Oklahoma City Dialogue Institute Advisory Board Member.
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-Brother Oran Parker
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