Throughout Annual Conference 2015, we celebrated Native American Ministries in the NC Conference with our Native American Ministry Moments.
Rev. Jim Jones, Jr., a member of the Lumbee tribe and Chair of the Conference Committee on Native American Ministries, shared how important mission is to his community and gave examples of missions they have served beginning with home improvement and growing to sending mission teams to expand a Red Cross clinic into a hospital, constructing churches in Bolivia, providing safe drinking water to the Guaranei Village on the Amazon. These missions have built community and broadened the view of what it means to be “in church.”
Jones ended with a three-part challenge to all churches in the Conference:
1. Every Church shall celebrate Native American Ministry Sunday and develop partnerships with Tribal Leaders within the bounds of the Annual Conference.
2. Every Church shall have a Native American Representative who is a voting member of the Church Council.
3. Every Church shall commit to utilize the Committee on Native American Ministries online resources, which can be found at https://nccconam.wordpress.com.
The Rev. Larry Chandler shared with members in another Native American Ministry Moment. In a moving witness that elicited a standing ovation, Chandler spoke of his challenging journey as a Cherokee in North Carolina and finding himself in the care and acceptance of a local UMC congregation. He shared how his experience at Sandy Plains UMC allowed him to embrace his own Native American heritage and answer the call to ministry. Trey Harris, pastor of Sandy Plains UMC, also shared of how the Native American Seminary Award allowed him to graduate from Duke Divinity in 2015. He thanked the Conference for their generosity and support.
It is a long standing tradition in the Native American community to honor respected elders, leaders, and loved ones with gifts. In a final Native American Ministry Moment on Friday afternoon, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward was presented gifts by several Native American members.
Mabel Cummings, a member of the Lumbee tribe, presented the Bishop with an afghan she crocheted herself which featured the cross and flame logo.
Pam Baker, a member of the Lumbee tribe, presented Bishop Ward with a basin and a towel with a beaded cross and flame from the NC Conference Committee on Native American Ministries.
The Rev. Dr. Milford Oxendine, a member of the Lumbee tribe, presented a signed copy of his book “Meet The Lumbee Methodists – Part II”.
A blanket featuring the emblem of UNC Pembroke’s Old Main was presented by the Native American Cooperative Ministry. This symbolizes the vision and importance of education by Native American elders and forefathers.
Bishop Ward and members showed great appreciation for all the Native American Ministry Moments shared this week at Annual Conference.