On Saturday April 29 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Bishop Randell Drake was elected to a sixth term as conference superintendent of New Horizons Conference (East Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas). His nomination and election by acclamation was made possible as the over two hundred certified delegates voted 155 to 65 to eliminate the statute of limitations for the conference executive council.
Other officials elected were Rev. Neil Barlow, Assistant Superintendent, and five council members: Robert Ware, Michelle Drake, Greg Aery, Navil Vaughn, Chuck Barrineau. The conference executive selects from the board members the secretary/treasurer. While there have been brothers elected to serve together on conference executive councils, I believe this is the first instance of the wife of the conference superintendent being elected to serve on the executive council.
Bishop Drake began the conference leading the delegates in receiving the Lord’s Supper. Throughout the session there was a spirit of worship and praise to the Lord. At one point there was a word of exhortation and later a message in tongues with the interpretation. There was a season of intercessory prayers for our children and grandchildren who are encountering unusual challenges in the cultural climate of the United States.
The conference adopted a significant training program which will be used to certify future executive council leaders. Bishop Drake has worked on this for the past five years and at the 2027 quadrennial conference all nominees must have completed this preparatory program.
There were six men and women ordained and four who received minister’s license. The conference also remembered nine ministers and spouses of ministers who had passed away over the past year.
In his State of the Conference, Bishop Drake reported that there are 65 congregations, three campus churches, and local church membership of over 7000 members. The conference is active with EVUSA’s Healthy, Growing, Multiplying (HGM) efforts with 22 congregations participating.
Attending the conference were former superintendents Del Hunnicut, Don Williams, and Jim Eby. Also present were Mr. Gary Crouch (lay representative to the Council of Bishops), Mr. Rob Sellers (IPHC Extension Loan Board), Mrs. Christy Barlow (IPHC Women’s Ministries Team), Mrs. Marie McCabe (IPHC Clergy Care), Dr. Tom Murray, (President of Southwestern Christian University), Dr. Terrance Carey (former member of IPHC World Missions Council), Rev. Jerry Morris (IPHC World Missions), and former IPHC missionaries Gary Ackerman and Mike Reed.