Moment for Mission
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are!” —1 John 3:1a, CEB
Stretching across three states, the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference has over 80 churches with members representing more than 39 tribes. OIMC’s purpose is to reach Native Americans with the good news of Jesus Christ through United Methodist witness.
Following the forced removal of whole tribes—over 60,000 people—from the southeastern United States to land that would be named “Oklahoma,” Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist missionaries introduced Christianity. Many area churches, now more than 100 years old, are in dire need of repair. Since a conference priority is to increase the vitality of existing communities of faith, revitalize congregations and create spaces where indigenous models of ministry can occur, paying attention to the physical structures of these worshipping communities is important.
A Global Ministries grant, funded by the Native American Ministries Sunday offering, is allowing the conference to support building and repair projects in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. The Rev. David Wilson, conference superintendent, notes, “We are so thankful to receive this grant from the Native American Ministries Sunday Fund. We have at least 10 churches that need new roofs, and some cannot be insured until the new roofs are installed.”
Those receiving grants have been asked to make in-kind contributions, and United Methodist Volunteer in Mission teams from across the U.S. will provide labor whenever possible. In addition to construction projects, the grants may support the purchase of appliances, including heating and air-conditioning systems.
Loving God, we are your children. Remind us to seek opportunities to reach out and share with our family in faith. Help us to respect and learn from one another. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Touch and See — Mighty God who brings life and hope out of death and despair, help us hear the invitation Christ offered to the disciples, “Touch me and see!” Make us bold to grab hold of the risen Christ – not for this day but for all our days. May we offer our gifts this morning not to the church historical—the church that was—but to a church that is becoming, that is still being born, that Christ will bring into the future. May our eyes and ears and hearts continue to hold on to him as we help Christ lead his church forward! In his name, we pray. Amen. (Luke 24:36b-48)
Oregon is home to nine federally recognized tribes, and 380 tribes are represented in the greater Portland area. Great Spirit United Methodist Church, Portland, serves as a hub for many tribal members living in the area. In fact, the numbers in worship attendance and the amount of music and children's programs have increased since 2017, with giving increasing by 500% during this same time."
A Global Ministries grant through the Native American Ministries Sunday offering is allowing Great Spirit to hire a part-time director of hospitality, nurture and outreach. The congregation identified issues: high homelessness rates, low wages and unemployment, domestic violence, depression, addiction, diabetes and suicide. The church’s core values—Love, Connection, Spirituality and Tradition—guide its ministry and outreach.
When COVID-19 closed the church as a worship and community space, Great Spirit used a second grant from the Native American Ministries Sunday offering to provide food assistance to the especially vulnerable indigenous community. Gift cards for local grocery stores ensured over 300 individuals had access to food at a critical time.
Thank you for giving generously!Mary Lou Greenwood Boice, Global Ministries