A Moment for Mission
"I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he has inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live." —Psalm 116:1-2, NRSV
Today is Native American Ministries Sunday, and United Methodists in the Florida Annual Conference offered a preview at the "Living Together" event during April 15–19 . The annual Native American Gathering is sponsored by the conference Committee on Native American Ministries. Participants celebrated the rich culture of Native Americans through worship, prayer, music, singing, dancing, teaching, workshops and fellowship. "In these and other activities," a CONAM representative said, "we pray that Jesus Christ will be glorified in a way that is culturally appropriate. All are welcome."
The guest speaker for the Gathering at Camp Horizon, Leesburg, Fla., was Barry Lee (Munsee) of Spirit Wing. He shared about the Wampum belts of Pennsylvania and William Penn's agreements with the Lenape (Delaware) and other Pennsylvanian native tribes. These belts made from quahog clam and welk shells are a lasting record of the agreements between the Native people and the new settlers from Europe. Lee is the executive director of Circle Legacy Center, an organization that promotes and assists Native Americans in southeastern Pennsylvania. He is also lead singer and guitarist for the musical group Spirit Wing.
Approved by the 1988 General Conference, Native American Ministries Sunday, a church-wide observance, 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. Your generous gifts make a difference. Thank you!
—Adapted from the Florida Annual Conference website, February 6, 2020. Used by permission.
Loving God, you hear our prayers. Remind us, always, that we are not alone and to call on you in times of joy and sorrow. Bless our Native American ministries. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Third Sunday of Easter – God of righteousness, God of mercy: We have been called through the apostles to live in reverent fear – not a fear that immobilizes, but a fear that empowers us because we know how much is at stake. We know there are implication for what we do and what we don't do. Dedicate the gifts we give this morning to do the things your heart longs for your church to do; help our eyes to be opened to where you would use us. We pray in the name of our risen savior, Christ our Lord. Amen. (I Peter 1:17-23)
Generous gifts on the annual Native American Ministries Sunday develop and strengthen Native American ministries within annual conferences and expand the number of target cities in the Native American Urban Initiative. The offering also provides scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist schools of theology and other seminaries approved by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church.
This special Sunday offering is an investment in the future. Every contribution goes toward supporting and educating a new generation of principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.
How is your conference involved in Native American ministries? According to the 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." Learn about your conference CONAM and see how you can participate in its work.
Native American Ministries Sunday strengthens ministries and nurtures leaders! Thank you.