Moment for Mission
“The apostles continued to bear powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and an abundance of grace was at work among them all.” —Acts 4:33, CEB
The Navajo Nation encompasses 27,000 square miles in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. Approximately 174,000 people live on the Navajo Nation reservation. A year ago, the reservation had the third-highest COVID-19 infection rate per capita in the United States.
Attempting to reduce the infection rate, the Nation’s government-imposed travel restrictions, nightly curfews, stay-at-home orders and weekend shutdowns. Many reservation residents had difficulty obtaining food, water, cleaning materials and infant supplies.
The Mountain Sky Annual Conference responded to this humanitarian crisis. The conference Disaster Relief Committee donated $15,000 to the newly formed Navajo Nation COVID Relief program, and CONAM (Committee on Native American Ministries) granted $2,500. The project was managed by the conference Native Grace Intertribal Fellowship and First United Methodist Church, both in Cortez, Colorado, in coordination with Chapter Houses and official Navajo Nation representatives.
Native Grace is a ministry by and for Native Americans, hosted by First UMC-Cortez. Native Grace is intertribal and intentionally connects Native traditions with the Christian faith in a safe, accepting, and nonthreatening setting.
The initial project target area was southeastern Utah. New Mexico and Desert Southwest conferences responded in New Mexico and Arizona portions of the Navajo Nation.
Your gifts on Native American Ministries Sunday support the ministries of annual conference Committees on Native American Ministries. This offering serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. Please give generously next Sunday.
Loving God, we are your witnesses around your beautiful world. May abundant grace be at work among us. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Unless I See — Holy God, we continue to hold on to the celebration and triumph of Easter. As we look back over the past year, we realize that many of us can identify with Thomas’s doubt. “Can we be the church, the body of Christ, when we can’t see the body gathered in our sanctuary?” Yet Christ has opened our eyes to his risen body that can’t be confined by walls and is not diminished by precautions and social distance. As we make our gifts to you, we affirm the Resurrection power that we have seen, and so we say again, “Alleluia!” In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen! (John 20:19-31)
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, Native American Ministries Sunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering supports Native American outreach within annual conferences and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans.
Annual conference Committees on Native American Ministries play a vital role on this churchwide Special Sunday and throughout the year. According to The 2016 Book of Discipline (Par. 654), “There shall be an annual conference committee on Native American ministry or other structure to provide for these ministries and maintain the connectional relationships.” Check out your conference CONAM and find exciting ways to get involved.
When you give generously on Native American Ministries Sunday, you equip seminary students who will honor and celebrate Native American culture in their ministries. You empower congregations to find fresh, new ways to minister to their communities with Christ’s love.
Adapted from “The Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief eEfforts,” Pastor Jean Schwien, First United Methodist Church, Cortez, Colorado, May 15, 2020. Used by permission.