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Native American Ministries Sunday Prepares Diverse Church Leaders

The work of the Office of Loans and Scholarships at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) with Native American scholarships plays a vital role in accomplishing the agency's mission of developing diverse leaders for the denomination. Rev. David Wilson, conference superintendent, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, shared how much of an impact GBHEM's work and Native American Ministries Sunday makes in developing Native American pastors and church leaders.

Native American Ministries Sunday is one of six annual Special Sundays throughout The United Methodist Church that designates a special offering for a specific group of individuals. Native American Ministries Sunday honors and empowers the Native Americans in the denomination through scholarships for seminarians.

Your gifts on Native American Ministries Sunday helps support the ministries of the Committee on Native American Ministries in their annual conferences. This offering serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society.

David Wilson with students dsitrbuting coats in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.

"It is important for the church to invest in initiatives like Native American Ministries Sunday because of the need for educated Native persons in ministry in our churches," said Wilson. "Many of our congregations are on reservations or in rural areas and struggle financially. Having seminary-trained pastors helps not only with preaching the gospel, but helps the people get through the social ills within the community—unemployment, substance abuse, etc.—helping people live in a productive and fruitful way."

The United Methodist Church has vowed to seek reconciliation with Native Americans and are committed to represent the community and showcase the proud heritage. This Special Sunday offering specifically supports Native American seminarians, developing and equipping pastors to work efficiently and effectively in Native American congregations, ministries and communities.

 "We highlight diversity and inclusiveness within the church. For us to understand the diversity of God's world, it is important for us to understand the contributions that Native American people make within the church. We contributed much and have so many more contributions to make in the future of our church."

With more than 20,000 Native Americans within the denomination, the special Sunday helps to ensure that this group of United Methodist leaders is recognized and invested in. Many Native American United Methodist are a part of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference; however, the group is spread across the country from east to west.

"The impact of your giving makes in the lives of Native American pastors is tremendous. It helps them preach the gospel, helps the folks in their congregations get through life and understand their worth as people of God, and prepares people to serve in various ministries," explained Wilson.

"I thank the Office of Loans and Scholarships at GBHEM for their amazing work with Native Americans scholarships and all scholarship programs." Wilson added, "What is special about the Office of Loans and Scholarships is that they understand the nuances of Native American Ministry and go out of their way to understand our needs and culture. They are flexible and really help us work through the scholarship process. We appreciate their partnership."

General Board of Higher Education and Ministry

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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