Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Call for action from the Bishop

TO: All United Methodists FROM: Joseph Harris, assistant to the bishop/director of communications, Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church

URGENT: You are asked to contact state officials TODAY, via email, about House Bill 2774, a proposal that would negatively affect our United Methodist camp ministries, particularly Canyon Camp near Hinton. HB 2774 would repeal legal protections for nonprofit church camps and recreational areas under Title 82 (water and water rights). The proposal has been introduced in the state House and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Rep. Dale DeWitt. He has scheduled a meeting about the proposal for Tuesday. That timing causes Oklahoma Conference leaders to seek your quick response on this matter. Below is a copy of my letter, which you may choose to adapt for your own email message. In the subject line, put OPPOSE HB 2774. I am sending the letter to Rep. Dewitt, who is the author of HB 2774; to Rep. Chris Benge, speaker of the Oklahoma House; and to Jeanette Nance, who is the governor’s liaison to the Secretary of the Environment. Their e-mail addresses are: daledewitt@okhouse.gov Chrisbenge@okhouse.gov jeanette.nance@gov.ok.gov Your voice can be powerful to help stop this proposal in its early stages. Thank you. Joseph Harris

EMAIL MESSAGE-- The Honorable Rep. Dale DeWitt Natural Resources, Chairman Oklahoma State Capitol I oppose the passage of HB 2774, which seeks to repeal the protections afforded nonprofit camps and recreational areas in law under Title 82. There is no compelling reason to change the law, and I respectfully request that you withdraw this bill from consideration. HB 2774 would put legitimate recreational facilities in jeopardy, including destroying United Methodist Canyon Camp near Hinton, a ministry that has existed for more than 50 years, serving the people of Oklahoma. Title 82 protects our camps in unique ways because all swine-feeding operations require water permits, but not all swine operations require licenses from the Department of Agriculture. Procedures have become well established in the past 10 years and are working. The system is not broken. Respectfully, Rev. Dr. Joseph Harris Assistant to the Bishop, Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church E-mail: jharris@okumc.org Phone: 405-530-2077

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