Bishop Hope Morgan Ward shares a story of honoring our Native American brothers and sisters.
The Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table of our church are meeting this week. A year ago, we met at Lake Junaluska. We gathered at Cherokee, the place where the Trail of Tears began. As we meet this week, we’re in Oklahoma City, the end of that same Trail of Tears. We will worship together in a service of repentance, and as we remember our painful history, we are called into the future that God gives.
As I return to North Carolina this Sunday, I will be in one of our Native American churches, Hickory Grove United Methodist Church, and there we will celebrate our shared ministry and dedicate the new extension of their building. We give thanks for the great variety of God’s creation. We give thanks for the unique gifts that we all bring in ministry together. Today we offer special gratitude to God for the Lumbee people, here within the bounds of our annual conference, for the richness of this culture, for the wonderful gifts which are offered to us all through our Lumbee brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit continue to bind us in unity and to lead us forward together in radiant beauty.