Take Advantage of this Opportunity to Learn & Share
April 14, 2013 is Native American Ministries Sunday in the United Methodist Church. As your Bishop, I ask you to prepare now for that day.
Native American Sunday offers we United Methodists an opportunity to celebrate the rich heritage of the many and varied Native Americans in Wisconsin. Native Americans here in Wisconsin include a rich variety of cultures, some of them dating back thousands of years. According to the State of Wisconsin, there are eleven sovereign tribal nations, each with its own dialect, art forms, traditional practices, and histories. Some of these Nations occupy reservations covering over 500,000 acres of land. For those of us who aren't Native Americans, it is often difficult for us to know and understand the true history of the place and people of Wisconsin, in part because we are taught history from the current day dominant culture point of view. Native American Ministries Sunday gives us an opportunity to learn together and to honor the history of the first people of Wisconsin.
In 2012, the Delegates and visitors to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church participated in an Act of Repentance. You can learn more about that event by clicking here. Every Annual Conference, including Wisconsin, is asked to take our own journey toward Repentance. We, as Wisconsin United Methodists, are seeking to find a way to make our Act of Repentance more than just words spoken, but rather a path that leads to recognition of the pain and wrong of the past, and a future of abundant blessings in relationship with each other. I pray that as individuals, and as congregations, we seek to continue to renew existing relationships and establish new relationships with Wisconsin Native Americans.
Our offerings for Native American Ministries Sunday will help in our efforts to build relationships. Some of the offerings are used to support Native American ministries in Wisconsin. Part of the offering goes to scholarships for Native Americans attending schools of theology (seminaries), and some are used to develop and strengthen Native American ministries beyond Wisconsin. Our gifts will make a difference!
In addition to the special offering on April 14, I encourage you to take time to remember, to listen to the stories, and learn from each other. And, if Sunday, April 14 isn't the best date for your congregation, then pick another date that works better and celebrate then.
Click here for some resources you may find helpful as you prepare for April 14.
God bless you and our gifts!
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).