Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Award Honorees
Organizations are underlined.
Kayla Jean Bonewell
Rev. Kayla Bonewell was born in Oklahoma City. She earned a BA in Religion from Oklahoma City University (2002), a Master of Liberal Arts from Naropa University (2004), and a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California (2008). Ordained in the United Church of Christ (2010), Kayla has ministry experience as a hospital chaplain, campus minister, social justice activist, youth minister, associate pastor, and now as pastor of two UCC congregations: Church of the Open Arms and Cathedral of Hope (2016). Her personal mission statement is “To empower community, through experiences of the divine, to lead lives of deep meaning, while cultivating health, peace, and beauty in our world.” She is passionate about relevant worship, spiritual growth, community engagement, and her wife Dana.
Pastor Kayla serves two progressive Christian congregations (Cathedral of hope OKC and Church of the Open Arms) that are both welcoming and affirming to all people. She and her congregants are often on the front lines of supporting Human Rights in Oklahoma. Some recent examples include:
- Marching with black Lives Matter and preaching and teaching about racism and white privilege.
- Attending and speaking at weekly “vigils for immigration Justice” for undocumented immigrants.
- Continually advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community at the OK State Capital, in prisons, and a non-affirming Christian churches and denominations.
- Holding a press conference and rally in support of the Standing Rock movement of indigenous communities protecting the water.
- Collaborating with and hosting ACLU “Criminal Justice Forum” and “Know Your Rights” training.
- Hosting a Mental Health First Aid Training for church and community individuals.
- Creating and maintaining a blessing Box outside the church so people who are food insecure have access to food, water, and toiletries on a regular basis.
- Operating a food pantry every Friday afternoon to give a basket of food to everyone that shows up.