UNY CONAM announces 2021 Award winners part 1

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.
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Each year, the Upper New York Annual Conference’s Committee on Native American Ministries presents the Four Directions Humanitarian Award to honor one or more individuals for their dedication to native ministries.

This year we chose to honor four individuals who have retired from their service after years of tireless effort. We offer congratulations to these four individuals. Each has been blessed with many gifts which they have generously shared with others. They have made a difference in the lives of countless individuals and will continue to do so in their future endeavors. 

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 Rood from Four Corners United Methodist Church on the Cattaraugus Territory. In September 2012, our District Superintendent brought a man with him to our church meeting. The DS introduced David Rood to our church members and told us that he was going to be our new pastor. We were taken off guard and were skeptical as to how non-Native David Rood was going to fit into our Native church. Up until this time we had several “fill in” pastors and we felt lost without a full-time pastor. 

Over the next few years, we came to love and respect David because he respected us and our culture. In February 2021 David left the ministry and left our church. We grieve our loss and are trying to move on without his leadership. We are thankful that God sent David to us and we hope that one day he will return to us. He is our friend.

Mark Garrow from Hogansburg United Methodist Church located on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation at Akwesasnee. Mark was raised in a devoted church family. His grandparents were founders of the Hogansburg United Methodist church. Mark has a wonderful voice as the gifts of talented singers were imbedded in his family. At times he was the only one singing as we are all shy. Together with his beautiful wife Jennifer they raised their son Leonard. They have a lovely daughter in law Kandy, along with an adorable granddaughter Ophelia.

While being called upon by Christ and taking on the responsibilities of the church lay-leader, Mark still held a full time job as a Gaming Inspector Manager on the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Gaming Commission. He dedicated twelve years of putting sermons together, coming to church, and adapting the traditional lifestyles into parables of our own.

Mark, the Hogansburg United Methodist Church will be forever in your debt to bring His sheep back to the fold. Thank you for your calling. God Bless you, and keep you and your family safe.

excerpt from a story by Sharon Schmit, CONAM, Upper New York Annual Conference

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