Reverend Meridith Whitaker is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as a Church and Community Worker. She is the director of Cookson Hills Center United Methodist Mission, a mission project to the Cherokee Indians in Cookson Hills, Oklahoma.
Rev. Whitaker works to develop programs that will help the people of this very poor area find ways to live within their means. Along with her staff, she administers a large Senior Citizens Nutrition Program, which includes lunches, craft programs, field trips, social events, health checks, and daycare for infants through age 8. She oversees cottage industries that include a recycling project making doormats out of vehicle tires, silk screening, an embroidery shop, ceramic chalice making, and jewelry repair. Responsibilities also include the Health Resource Center, thrift shop, craft shop, and many other programs that serve the low-income people of this tri-county region. She works with visiting Volunteer-In-Mission teams.
Meri is a graduate of Brockport State University in Brockport, New York, where she earned a bachelor of science in Physical Education. After teaching high school physical education for four years, she attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, where she received a master of religious education degree. She was ordained in 1984 and is a member of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
Meri served in Anadarko, Oklahoma, with Kiowa and Wichita Indians, and in Lockport, New York, as the director of Christian education, and outreach minister to the Tuscarora Reservation, and Niagara County Jail. She returned to Oklahoma in 1985 as director of campus ministry at Bacone College, and accepted the position as director of the Cookson Hills Center in March 1987.
Meri is the supply pastor for Canterbury Chapel United Methodist 12-Step Church for people in recovery from drugs and alcohol. The church has received attention and mention from two authors, George Hunt and Bishop Robert C. Schnase of the Missouri Annual Conference. Meri is herself an author. Her book, My Sister, The Father, is part of the 2011 reading program of United Methodist Women.
Rev. Whitaker was appointed to the World Methodist Council in 1996, was the recipient of the Harry S. Denman Award in 2002, and the Sequoyah County Citizen of the Year Award in 2007. She holds local church membership in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
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