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Celebrating Native American Presence in The United Methodist Church

As we prepare to observe Native American Ministries Sunday on April 30, the Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell Jr., an executive of Native American and Indigenous Ministries for Global Ministries, reminds the church to continue the process of healing relationships with indigenous peoples and shares how this special offering is protecting the longevity of the Native American presence in The United Methodist Church.

In this present hour, the environment surrounding Native American communities is truly a challenging one. Native tribes and tribal citizens are working diligently to educate the community at large about social justice issues that plague tribal communities. Violence against Native/Indigenous women is rampant, substance abuse is present, and self-harm amongst Native American youth is three to four times the rates of other young people. Yet Native peoples have worked to reverse and heal from these traumatic experiences.

Native American United Methodist communities have partnered with tribal governments and local churches to assist in providing opportunities for education and advocacy. Numerous Native congregations from across the country have begun to implement ministries for youth and children that teach enhanced appreciation for tribal identity and recognizing tribal characteristics. Native congregations have also begun to host events addressing some of the social ailments that plague Native communities and offering churches and tribal members tools to reverse the trends that are found in Native American communities.

On April 30, our denomination celebrates the rich history and presence of Native Americans in the Methodist movement by taking up a special offering on Native American Ministries Sunday, traditionally celebrated the second Sunday after Easter. Because of these gifts, ministry for many Native American churches, fellowships, and committees on Native American Ministry can take place.

Over the past few years, the funds have provided scholarships for Native seminarians, assisted in the completion of two parsonages for Native American churches, allowed for an after-school program for a Native American boarding school, and provided program funds for two reintegration programs for Native women.

In many situations, Native American churches operate on a limited budget with minimal funds; any additional programming requires funding assistance from outside sources such as Native American Ministries Sunday.  The offerings that are received through this special Sunday have been the lifeblood of many ministries and have assisted in protecting the longevity of the Native American presence in The United Methodist Church.

Prayer for Native American Ministries Sunday

Sunrise photo courtesy of the Rev. Chebon Kernell, Jr.

With each Sunrise may we never forget that hope is always present.
With each Sunrise may we never forget that this new day possesses new opportunities.
With each Sunrise may we never forget that this day is a gift from our Creator.
With each Sunrise may we never forget to work and proclaim good news to all of Creation.

Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell Jr., executive of Native American and Indigenous Ministries, General Board of Global Ministries website

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, Native American Ministries Sunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering supports Native American outreach within annual conferences and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans.

When you give generously on Native American Ministries Sunday, you equip seminary students who will honor and celebrate Native American culture in their ministries. You empower congregations to find fresh, new ways to minister to their communities with Christ's love. Give now

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