A Moment for Mission
"You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence." —Acts 2:28, NRSV
Next week, United Methodists will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday. Approved by the 1988 General Conference, this churchwide special Sunday reminds us of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering supports United Methodist ministries with Native Americans and scholarships for Native American seminarians.
Each annual conference has a Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM). In the Mountain Sky Conference, that committee creates opportunities to build authentic relationships with Native Americans for justice, healing and wholeness; promotes and determines the distribution of the special offering; and guides and implements a process to resource new and developing Native American ministries.
The Mountain Sky CONAM encourages United Methodist individuals and congregations to:
- examine attitudes, beliefs and actions;
- identify people who have the heart for this ministry and support their learning and preparation to begin conversations with indigenous people;
- support Native American organizations;
- bring relationships forward for listening and learning;
- participate in the lives of Native American siblings, both within and outside of the church; and
- advocate for systemic change within the conference, the worldwide church and society that will lead toward ceasing harm, acknowledging our guilt and making a commitment to living differently.
How is your local church and conference in ministry with Native Americans? As you anticipate Native American Ministries Sunday, contact your conference CONAM to learn how you can get involved.
—Adapted from the Mountain Sky Annual Conference website. Used by permission.
Loving God, often we fail to consider what our neighbors might teach us. Open our hearts and minds to learn from one another and to share your amazing love. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday of Easter – Gracious God of Light and Hope: We bring our offering to your altar this morning, still riding the joy of our Easter celebration of your triumph over the grave! Scripture has reminded us that we have been given the pathway for new birth, the promise of an imperishable heavenly inheritance, and the power of God's protection. Silent in the realization of these priceless gifts, we offer ourselves to make this good news known to those who have not yet heard the good news. With praise and thanksgiving, we dedicate these gifts. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen. (1 Peter 1:3-9
"Native American Ministries Sunday, a key United Methodist Special Sunday offering, has enabled a route for Native American leadership development," according to the 2016 Book of Resolutions ("Native People and The United Methodist Church," Par. 3321). Before its inception, The United Methodist Church had fewer than five ordained elders and diaconal ministers.
The special offering supports annual conference Native American ministries and seminary scholarships. As a result of the Native American Ministries Sunday offering, more than 100 Native people have been seminary trained and ordained as elders and deacons. They serve in local churches, annual conferences and general agencies. The Book of Resolutions notes, "This program, along with laity leadership development that is culturally appropriate and carefully constructed, are key considerations in continuing to expand leadership development among Native People and in Native tribes, churches, and communities."
How does your annual conference and local church promote and support Native American Ministries Sunday? Check it out. And please, give generously to the special offering. Thank you!