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Tulsa Workshop canceled, won’t return

After 40 years, international soul-winning event is being retired, organizers say.

The Tulsa Workshop — the free annual gathering started in 1976 and known for many years as the “International Soul Winning Workshop” — has been canceled and won’t return, organizers said Tuesday. • Click here for more coverage of this story, including our interview with the workshop director. That includes the 2017 version of the workshop, which won’t be conducted as originally planned, said leaders of the Memorial Drive Church of Christ in Tulsa.

In a letter to workshop supporters, Memorial Drive church elders and staff said the event has been inspiring individuals and congregations for 40 years.

“However, God has been showing us through decreasing attendance and financial support that He is doing things in other ways now, and rather than continuing to fight against it, we are ready to join in His new works,” the letter said.

“Though this has been a difficult decision, it is also the right one as we seek to follow God rather than nostalgia or our own selfish desires,” the elders added, thanking those who supported the annual event for four decades. 

Longtime attendees greeted Tuesday’s news with sadness and reflection.

Trey Morgan, minister for the Childress Church of Christ in Texas, started attending the Tulsa Workshop as a junior high student 30 years ago.

“It has been a part of my spiritual development ever since,” Morgan said. “Cutting my teeth on Marvin Phillips, Jeff Walling, Terry Rush,
Keith Lancaster, Acappella and others was invaluable to me growing up. I’m so blessed that the Tulsa Workshop was a huge part of my life.”

Carl Feril, who preaches for the St. John Church of Christ in Kansas, said he will miss the interaction with special friends who annually chose the workshop as a place to reconnect.

“It has been obvious for many years that the attendance was declining, but the quality of the speakers has remained a constant,” Feril said.
“I am not sure what God will raise up, but one thing learned from the workshops past and the great leaders there (is that) there will always be another act of God; just look for it.”

Read the full letter on The Tulsa Workshop’s Facebook page.

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates. 
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