NORMAN — Norman’s St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is celebrating the ministry and gifts of Kay Antinoro as she retires this month after 32 years of service in educational ministries at the church. Plans include an all-church retirement celebration today.
Antinoro, who joined St. Stephen’s staff in 1981 as part-time director of the church’s Children’s Academy, has served longer than any other staff member in the church’s history, working alongside senior ministers John Price, Craig Stinson, Dianne Peters and Amy Venable. Her ministry at St. Stephen’s expanded in 1991 when she was named full-time director of Educational Ministries, adding adult education to her duties.
A life-long United Methodist, Antinoro has served as a United Methodist Women Conference study leader for more than 40 years. She has been a study leader at six regional schools of Christian Mission and numerous conference schools in Oklahoma and surrounding states. She has sought to provide quality learning opportunities for adults that address both “head and heart.”
“Kay is the common thread throughout the years that has kept us on track with our mission as a progressive Christian church,” said Sharon Gray, director of care ministries at St. Stephen’s. “I have grown personally working with her through her wisdom, broad knowledge of curriculum, gifted problem solving, creative thinking and wonderful friendship. Her loving influence at St. Stephen’s as a master teacher and group leader has been and will continue to be an indispensable gift.”
In her early years on the St. Stephen’s staff, Antinoro sought to create experiences to “help children feel welcome in worship, learn why we worship the way we do, and learn seasons of the liturgical year,” she said.
She fondly recalls years of organizing Ecumenical Vacation Church School, hosting mini CROP Hunger Walks for children on the church lawn to help raise awareness about hunger and planning all-church intergenerational mission studies designed to broaden world views and help appreciate cultural differences. In the early 1980s, Kay helped launch a children’s advent preparation workshop that has evolved to become an annual church event for all ages.