Tulsa’s Christian Ministers Alliance was founded as a fellowship organization, but it has a different focus half a century later: youth.
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” says the Rev. W.R. Casey, echoing a famous college fund slogan. He has been TCMA’s president for nearly 26 years. In addition to bringing together Christian churches of various denominations and races, the alliance has made serving youth a priority. “It’s our job as parents, citizens, preachers to help the young people, to be there for them,” Casey says.
With funding from member dues and donations, the alliance adopts 60 Tulsa Public Schools and five Union Public Schools to give away Thanksgiving food baskets as well as Christmas food baskets and toys. The organization also gives college scholarships and hosts a back-to-school bash to provide school supplies for low-income families.
Additionally, the alliance is raising $7.5 million to build a youth and education center at the northeast corner of East Apache Street and North Lewis Avenue to address gang violence, drugs, literacy and teen pregnancy. Three acres have been purchased, and the alliance is looking to buy four more.
“It’s been my vision for a long time,” Casey says of the facility, which will have a computer lab, a swimming pool, a library and a food pantry and will offer GED classes.
“We’ve seen big victories, and we’ve seen a lot of pastors swap pulpits,” Casey says of the alliance’s first 50 years. “We’ve seen things happen, but we want to see more.”
Casey says his highest hope for the future is to “see the walls of racism come down” in Tulsa and the U.S.
Celebrating 50 years
The alliance will host a 50th anniversary celebration Dec. 8 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Downtown Tulsa. Ken Brune is the dinner chairman, Neile Jones of KTUL-Tulsa’s Channel 8 will emcee, and John Gaberino will speak.
The alliance will honor the following individuals for their service to youth:
- Warren Blakney
- Sharon King Davis
- Darryl DeBord
- Msgr. Patrick Galaas
- Rev. Bob Green
- Jack Henderson
- Ernest Holloway (deceased)
- Anthony Jordan
- Ted Kersh
- Kathy LaFortune
- Jim Langdon
- George McCutcheon
- Tom McKeon
- Victor Octar
- Pete Theban (deceased)
- Bob Wagner
- Former Gov. David Walters and Rhonda Walters
Tickets are $100. Call 918-951-7407 for tickets or to make a donation to the building fund.