A MOMENT FOR MISSION
"You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you." —Psalm 118:28, NRSV
The Rev. Clarence Yarholar, a member of the Thlopthlocco and Muscogee Creek tribes, serves the rural Wewokagee Indian United Methodist Church near Yeager, Oklahoma. Most of his congregants are Native Americans.
"I am thankful for the opportunity," said Yarholar, who received a Native American Seminary Scholarship. "The scholarship has greatly benefited me to further my personal vision, goal and education. This gift meets financial challenges without the heavy burden that normally follows.
"I am able to pursue my desires. Without this financial support, my ambition would only be a wish and not a reality, and my higher education journey wouldn't be possible. I also appreciate the confidence and support of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference and its efforts working with many pastors."
Yarholar's desire, he said, "is to be an advocate on behalf of Native American seminarians and to do my part in encouraging the next generation of indigenous people preparing for the future by sharing God's good news for all people."
He is especially grateful for United Methodist gifts on Native American Ministries Sunday. Observed on the third Sunday of Easter, the churchwide Special Sunday enriches rural and urban mission with Native Americans and provides scholarships for United Methodist Native American seminarians like Yarholar. Many of the 20,000 Native Americans served are part of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, but the ministry itself is far-reaching from southern Florida to northern Alaska.
Please give generously. Thank you!
Loving God, thank you for your many blessings. Remind us that we are blessed to be a blessing on Native American Ministries Sunday and throughout the year. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday of Easter — God of Grace and Mercy, we bring our offerings to you this day, confessing that even those of us who give the most are guilty of holding back, of keeping our cards close to the vest, of locking away in a secret room that which we could give, but that we've deemed as too costly to share. In this room, we've kept our insecurities, our doubts, our feelings of unworthiness, and our suspicions that this Easter promise is just too good to be true for us. This morning, we are reminded that your Risen Son loves to enter locked rooms, and doesn't always knock, ring, text, or wait for the door to be opened. So, we give our gifts and invite Jesus to visit our locked rooms, leave his peace, and send us forth to be about your work. In the powerful name, we pray. Amen. (John 20:19-31)
More than 30 years ago, delegates to the 1988 General Conference approved a new churchwide Special Sunday with offering, now called Native American Ministries Sunday.
"This Sunday serves to remind the Church of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society" (The Book of Discipline, Par. 263.6). Gifts to the special offering nurture urban and rural mission with United Methodist Native Americans and provide scholarships for Native American seminarians.
"The scholarship was very helpful to me, in filling the gaps in my previous education at a non-United Methodist seminary," said the Rev. Delana Taylor McNac, whose heritage is Cherokee. "I was already in debt …, and I would not have been able to afford both books and tuition.
"Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to move forward toward completing my ordination as a United Methodist deacon in full connection and, ultimately, endorsement by The United Methodist Church as a hospice chaplain."
Every gift, large or small, is important.