A Moment for Mission
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge.” — Psalm 17:6-7a, NRSV
As issues of race and racism have taken the forefront in recent years, much of the discussion has ignored the experience of Indigenous people, according to the Rev. David Wilson, assistant to the bishop, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. To help combat this, the OIMC applied for and received a grant from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
“Time after time,” Wilson said, “conversations around race were held, and we were left out. The grant is seeking ways for folks to learn from each other and to remind the church of our presence as OIMC and Indigenous persons.”
Wilson and the Rev. Bessie Hamilton, associate director of connectional ministry for multiethnic initiatives, Oklahoma Annual Conference, realized how much their communities had in common and how much they could learn from each other.
“We talked about the commonality of the term ‘massacre’ and how that is applied to various events,” Wilson said. “We decided to visit both the Washita and Tulsa Race Massacre sites and take leadership from both conferences to learn about the events and about how to create more intentional relationships with both conferences.”
“It was an opportunity to be in solidarity, hear each other’s stories and do something together to be communal,” Hamilton said.
National Native American Heritage Month—observed throughout November—is an opportunity for Native people in the United States to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life.
What is a saint? Part of a city’s name like St. Louis? A football team like the New Orleans Saints? A religious person of exceptional character like Mother Teresa of Calcutta?
On November 1, we celebrate All Saints’ Day. We remember all of the saints—modern-day saints such as Mother Teresa, biblical saints such as St. Paul and everyday saints who share their love for God by teaching Sunday school, singing in the church choir and preaching the gospel.
Often, on All Saints’ Sunday, church members will light a candle to remember saints in the church who died during the past year. Often, we sing special hymns like “For All the Saints.”
We give thanks for the many saints who teach us to love God.
Loving God, so often, we focus on our differences, not our similarities. Teach us to look beyond what is right in front of us and to see and appreciate all of your children. We love you. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost — God of truth and light, we come to you from our daily lives that are full of scams and tricks seeking to gain our confidence and steal and betray. In many ways, it makes us wary of opportunities to show compassion. Jesus has reminded us to trust in you and in your truth that speaks not through phones or emails but directly to our hearts. As we give this morning as you have called us, may we do so with joy, not fear. We pray this in the name of Christ, who intercedes for us that we might know truth. Amen.
“The experience deepened my desire to learn more, to push me into areas that are uncomfortable and painful,” said Lori Foster, associate director of connectional ministry for mission, Oklahoma Annual Conference. “It reinforced my role as a child of God to work toward peace and love and to seek mercy and justice for all of God’s children.”
“It is important to understand what we have in common as Methodists and as people of God,” said the Rev. David Wilson, OIMC assistant to the bishop. “There is a need to educate folks about the tragic history of the treatment of racial ethnic people and to learn from it.”
Observed every November, National Native American Heritage Month provides a platform for Native people in the United States to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life—and for others to learn.
Adapted from “Shared History Brings Diverse Communities Together to Learn,” Meagan Ewton, OIMC Advocate, April 2022. Used by permission.