Pastor and Staff

craigPastor ~ Jennifer Long  

Jennifer was born and raised in Oklahoma City as the youngest of three daughters. Dancing from the age of three, she always recognized the gift of the body in communication and revelation. After spending a year as an undeclared major at Oklahoma State University, she transferred to Oklahoma City University to major in musical theater. Though she loved dancing, singing, and acting, she knew it was not to be her final vocation and finally graduated from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Mass Communication: Radio, TV, Film and a minor in English Literature. After college she moved to New Hampshire where she worked in Massachusetts at a radio station in sales, taught dance in New Hampshire, and was a DJ at a radio station in Hew Hampshire, all at the same time! During her two years in New England she received her call into ministry and traveled to Evanston, Illinois to attend Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary where she graduated with her Master of Divinity degree.
During seminary she helped start a new United Methodist Church and then spent a year in California before returning to Oklahoma to serve as the Associate Pastor at Bartlesville First United Methodist Church from 2000-2005. In 2005 she was called to Oklahoma City University as the Director of Religious Life/Campus Minister where she spent 9 years in ministry. Upon being accepted into the Doctor of Ministry program at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, she and her family moved to California for a year to complete the majority of her coursework and enjoy the beautiful weather and adventures of the Bay area. Jennifer is focusing her studies on Theology and the Arts and working towards her dissertation topic which is presently and loosely titled “Dance Theology from the Word to Praxis: Bringing the Body into Preaching, Teaching, Prayer, and Pastoral Care.”
Jennifer’s husband, Jason Bush, is an accountant and loves sports. Originally from Enid, he and Jennifer met through a mutual friend at a gathering of the Oklahoma Annual Conference. You never know what things will come out of Annual Conference! They are enjoying Oologah along with their two children.

   

KarlaDirector of Mission ~ Karla Yates

Hello. I am Karla Yates, the director of Mission here at OUMC. I have lived in Oologah all my life and have been an active member with OUMC since 1988. My passion is for mission outreach opportunities outside of the walls of the church, local, regional and foreign. I am a Team Leader with the Oklahoma United Methodist. We currently offer several mission opportunities to be "HIS" hands and feet.  I have been married for over 30 years and have two grown children and three grand babies Braxton, Bentin & Beatrice and two grand dogs Tessa and Remington  During my spare time I enjoy camping, traveling, shooting guns,  and spending with time with my family. You may reach me by calling the church office (918) 443-2457 or email me at karla@oologahumc.org. 

   

DelaneyDirector of Children's Ministry ~ Calley Gray

Hello, I am Calley Gray and I began attending Oologah United Methodist Church when I was in middle school. When old enough, I began a job at the church working in the nursery and did that for a couple of years. I started working with young children, helping as an aid to the teachers and then in 2014 I directed Vacation Bible School; Shortly after I was hired on as the Children’s Director.

It is my mission to impress on our children the importance of having Christ as their savior and crucial that they know how “fearfully and wonderfully made”  they are in the eyes of God. This takes the love and dedication of not only immediate family but also the extended church family.  I believe the church should be a “home away from home” for our kids; a place where they feel safe and welcome and know that they can share their thoughts and cares - a place to grow not only physically but spiritually. It is a journey and one that is well worth taking.  

 

Director of Traditional Worship and Choir ~ Ruth Mathews

Hello, I am Ruth Mathews, Worship Director of the Traditional Worship Service and Choir Director here at Oologah United Methodist Church. I was raised in Barstow, California and attended a small Methodist Church where I first met my husband Jim at age 6. We grew up together in that small church and were married in 1965. My husband Jim and I have been members of OUMC for over 30 years and raised our two sons – Bruce and Bradley - in this wonderful church. I began my music training at age 5 with piano lessons. which, oddly enough, I really never enjoyed. At age 9, I was the youngest member in the church choir and sang my first solo in that small church on that Palm Sunday. Thus beginning many years of following the call to Music Ministry. My passion for Christian Music reaches beyond my local church, as I sing in a Southern Gospel group - [Harmony Southern Gospel Trio] - and in two choral groups (in Claremore and Tulsa). I became the Music Leader/Choir Director of Oologah United Methodist Church in 1990. I believe when we worship in music, be it instruments or voice, it is as a prayer to the Lord and prepares our hearts to hear His message. It is a communication to Him for praise and worship and renews our spirit. My hobbies include time with family (& those precious grandchildren) and friends, working in the yard, fishing with my husband, reading, cross-stitching, knitting, and of course, music.

Choir practice is Monday evenings at 6:30. If you feel a little “tug” in your heart to be a part of our choir, please join us Monday evenings. I can be reached at ramathews@live.com or 918-724-2084. 

 

Director of Contemporary Worship ~ Larry Escalanta

Hello, my name is Larry Escalanta. I am married to Lori and we have two children, Jessi and Cole. Lori and I were the first “Couple” to get married in the new OUMC (March 17th, 2012). I met Lori June 3rd of 2011, and then realized that God had brought our hearts together. I joined the Praise & Worship Team shortly after that. I love our church family and enjoy all the “crazy – dysfunctional” things we do. I remember the first time coming to OUMC, I showed up and was blessed enough to help with VBS. I quickly got involved in other areas of ministry including Men’s & Couples Bible studies, Trustees, and mission/outreach. I now lead the praise team and love each and every one of the “volunteers” – yes, our AWESOME Praise Team is all Volunteers. We spend countless hours working on music; not for recognition, but for the Love and Glory of Jesus Christ.

I was born in Huntington, AR, where I was raised and baptized in the Methodist Church and sang my first solo there at the age of 7 (Mansion over the Hilltop). I started playing the cornet in the school band in the 4th grade. By the 7th grade, I had moved from playing trumpet to playing the saxophone, which is my instrument of choice. My musical influences included: Charlie “Bird” Parker, Ace Cannon, Boots Randolph, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Duke Ellington, and Dizzy Gillespie. By the end of high school I had played saxophone, trumpet, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, tuba, French horn, percussion, drums, piano and xylophone. I also enjoyed singing Latin and Italian opera. I attended University of Arkansas-Ft Smith on a music scholarship. During my college years I joined an International Service and Musical Group, Up with People. As a teenager from a small town, I was able to travel and see many diverse cultures, developing a servant’s heart for all. I have been blessed with many exciting performance opportunities, including some for Presidents, the halftime show at Super Bowl XVI, and live shows with a variety of artists - Doobie Brothers, Molly Hatchet, REO Speedwagon, Gene Watson, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Dizzy Gillespie.
I have always loved to play music and sing. God has continued to bless me with His gifts, graces, and abilities to do just that. Of all of the musical venues I have played, it is still my greatest joy and blessing to perform in worship for Him. If you have that love, urge or desire and want to join the OUMC Praise Team, or if there is a song that touches your heart that you would like to sing or hear, please let me know.

 

Administrative Assisstant ~ Rhonda Wolters