Methodist Reach out to Help Native Americans (April 2021)

Posted by on Mar 18, 2021 in EventReminder, Mission: Beyond our Community | 0 comments

John Wesley, the founder of what is now known as “Methodism”, urged us to constantly be involved in “Works of Piety” and “Works of Mercy.”  Piety means that we need to personally take on habits that help us grow closer to God spiritually.  This involves prayer, Bible Study, and Worship. 

We usually think of “Mercy” as meaning forgiveness or withholding punishment.  But as we’ve seen in Pastor Jim’s recent Bible Studies on the Beatitudes, “Mercy” goes deeper.  The Greek word used in Matthew’s account of the Beatitudes means to “get inside the life of a person.”  Or as we would say, “walk a mile in my shoes.”  And this is ongoing; it’s a lifestyle attitude.  When we “walk in someone else’s shoes,” prejudice begins to wear out and we begin to feel the needs of others.  It is then that we can fully engage in “Works of Mercy.”

One of the ways that United Methodists engage in “Works of Mercy” is through something we call UMCOR.  UMCOR stands for “United Methodist Committee on Relief”.  It’s a stuffy term.  But this “committee” matches a variety of world wide needs to the people who feel the call to minister to those needs.  UMCOR provides the organization to allow ministry to happen.

One of those “Works of Mercy” ministries that UMOCR organizes is for Native Americans.  This recent Missions Report highlights Native American Ministries…

 

NATIVE  AMERICAN  MINISTRIES

The United Methodist Church designates April as a time for us to focus on Native American Ministries and to remind us of the traditions, gifts and contributions of Native Americans to our church and to society. For centuries Native Americans have shared their love of God’s creation, their respect for all people, and their desire to live peacefully. Each tribe has a unique heritage in danger of being lost if we don’t help protect and preserve Native American arts, language, customs, and spirituality. To this end the United Methodist Church is working in their midst to support our Native American brothers and sisters spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Here are a few of the things we’re currently doing to help Native Americans…

1—Native American Ministries provides scholarships for UM Native American seminarians, strengthens and develops Native American ministries in communities, both urban and rural, and supports Native American outreach.
2—The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, and the Four Corners ministries have been established by UMC Global ministries and work with UMCOR and other organizations to meet the needs of Native Americans living in the southwestern United States.
3—The Navajo nation who live in a large remote area was particularly impacted by COVID-19. 38% of the Navajo live in poverty. The OIMC and UMCOR have been sending funds, emergency supplies and blankets to them. An UMCOR grant is designated to establish additional sources of potable water.
4—The Native American Community Response Fund was the first to send a grant to strengthen outreach to families in need. Funds were given to local churches to support food banks enabling them to purchase food and snack packs for children who were at home during the pandemic; and they were also able to provide utility assistance to families. High numbers have been vaccinated.
5— During this pandemic the homeless community has grown. Funds were used to purchase backpacks filled with necessities such as blankets, socks, flashlights and toiletry items for them.
6— Most recently, UMCOR purchased PPE including masks, water bottles, and hand sanitizer for Native American children returning to school; and delivered 6000 school kits to area schools and tribal communities.

 

There ere no conditions to being a child of God. Celebrating Native American ministries is our opportunity to affirm some of God’s children. The United Methodist Church feels strongly that contributions made by Native Americans to our church  should be cherished and that all United Methodists should support and promote this important ministry.

We can help the thirty local pastors and lay missioners who work with and for Native American ministries with our prayers and support.
More information and videos are available at www.umc-oimc.org.

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To learn more about how PUMC  is ministering to people’s needs worldwide, click this button:    Beyond Our Walls  

 

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