On April 26, the Third Sunday of Easter, United Methodist congregations – worshipping remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic – celebrated Native American Ministries Sunday. This Sunday serves to remind the church of the gifts and contributions of Native Americans to society. Half of the special offering is used to develop and strengthen Native American ministries within the annual conference.
In the Indiana Annual Conference, generous contributions are helping in the fight against COVID-19. The conference Committee on Native American Ministries recently sent a $5,000 donation to the Navajo Nation, which has been ravaged by the impact of the virus and currently has the highest infection rate per capita in the United States.
“The connectional church works to reach out to help others,” said Kathie Clemenz, president, United Methodist Women of Indiana. “I received an appeal for the Navajo Nation from the National Office of United Methodist Women. Since our funds have been designated for other projects, I appealed to CONAM since I am also a member of CONAM and asked if there might be funds from our committee that could be sent. CONAM came through with $5,000. UMW and CONAM worked together to help our brothers and sisters of the Navajo Nation. Praise God!”
“We felt blessed to be able to use these funds to make a positive impact on the Navajo Nation during such a time of great need,” added Linda Madagame, an enrolled member of the Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa/Chippewa Indians and conference CONAM coordinator. “Megwetch (thank you).”
The COVID-19 Fund is the Navajo Nation’s only official pandemic fundraising and donation effort. The Nation is accepting monetary and non-monetary contributions to address immediate medical and community needs. Charitable donations are deductible by the contributor for federal income, estate and gift tax purposes
The Navajo Nation’s Health Command Center established a donation branch to coordinate contributions to the Nation. Attorney General Doreen N. McPaul, donation branch chief, tasked the Department of Justice to staff this effort and respond to inquiries. Monetary contributions are coordinated with the Navajo Nation Office of the Controller, and non-monetary gifts are coordinated with the Health Command Center’s Operations and Logistics Sections. All donations are documented on an ICS 213 form for Federal Emergency Management Agency reporting purposes and to ensure compliance with tribal law.
To learn more and contribute to this effort, please go to: Official Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund — http://www.nndoh.org/donate.html
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom
This story represents how United Methodist local churches through their Annual Conferences are living as Vital Congregations. A vital congregation is the body of Christ making and engaging disciples for the transformation of the world. Vital congregations are shaped by and witnessed through four focus areas: calling and shaping principled Christian leaders; creating and sustaining new places for new people; ministries with poor people and communities; and abundant health for all.
– Adapted from Official Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund website and copy by Tom Heaton, Indiana Annual Conference. Used by permission