Community of Christ
Membership Recorder: Naomi Jacks
Historian: Laurayne Galusha
Secretary: Jeanette Melton
Financial Officer: Rich Rupe
Andrew Bolton's Communion service remarks from the 2010 Gathering of the Eagles.
Native American Ministries
Native American Ministries has been part of the church’s ministries since early in the church’s history, beginning in the 1830s. A high point of visibility and activity occurred in the 1970s with the Native American Cultural Appreciation Teams (NACAT) and the Native American Ministries office in the Auditorium at World Headquarters. Even after the office was decentralized and closed in 1984, Native American Ministries activity continued to occur throughout the US and Canada in various ways. At the 1998 World Conference, a resolution was adopted (WCR1260) which resulted in a task force appointed to study Native American Ministries. This task force worked for two years and presented a report at the 2000 World Conference.
Native American Ministries is a part of the missionary outreach of the church directed through the Council of Twelve Apostles by Apostle Andrew Bolton.
Summary of Various Ministries
Native American Ministries is alive and well in the Community of Christ.
Native American Ministries has two major components. The first component provides outreach from the Community of Christ to Native American peoples in a variety of settings, sharing what the church has to offer to their lives through the love of Jesus Christ as expressed through the ordinances and sacraments of the church.
The second component is an outreach back to the dominant culture peoples, and to Community of Christ members in particular, sharing what the Native community has to offer to their lives, and how God’s love for all people has been and is expressed through the various teachings and ceremonies from the cultures of the Native peoples of this hemisphere. This is a bridge-building ministry.
There are many folks involved in both components of Native American Ministries and Ministries with Native American Peoples in many places throughout the United States and Canada, e.g., Alabama, Arizona, California, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming, to name a few!
People take action in many ways, and the variety of the types of ministry is a testimony to the diverse ways in which people are lead by the Spirit when they desire to serve God by serving their fellow human beings. Some of the ministries are the result of one person feeling and responding to a sense of call to reach out to other people. A team of folks (2-4 people or more) working together to respond to a sense call provides others. These people are frequently found at a campground or in the yard of a church or in someone’s backyard on a reservation somewhere, perhaps in Montana or Arizona.
Ministry also occurs in community settings, schools, universities, health care facilities, correctional institutions and people’s homes as well as in churches. Some of these ministries are formal ministries while others are less formal, though equally viable and important. Sometimes the most effective ministry occurs visiting over a cup of coffee or some food.
Some ministries are centered on annual retreats, others around family gatherings or social events (Pow-Wows, various celebrations, or major life events like births, weddings, or deaths), or personal one-on-one ministry in the homes of members or friends of the church.
One ministry works with women coming out of correctional institutions, to help them to reacclimatize to society; another ministry works with folks who are still incarcerated; a third works with folks suffering from addictions (drugs, alcohol, food, or sex). Others have annual retreats focused on Native American spirituality and how that relates to the beliefs and teachings of the Community of Christ.
There are ministries built around a prayer meeting model of sharing good news and concerns as well as prayer and song. Sometimes the songs are Native American drum songs (which are also songs of praise and worship) and sometimes the songs are hymns sung in English and/or Native American languages.
Much ministry is of the home visit/priesthood visit variety where ministers travel to people’s homes and visit and pray with and for the family members assembled there, whether that’s one person or twenty people.
As a result of these home visits, babies are blessed, administrations take place, people are sometimes baptized and confirmed, people are married, and Communion is served. In short all of the sacraments of the church are observed over a period of time.
Native American Ministry can sometimes look like ministry at a typical congregation on Sunday morning, with a presider, speaker/preacher, and hymns, but more often than not it probably won’t. It may not always take place in a church building on every Sunday morning; indeed it often does not occur on Sunday morning at all. It is nothing fancy, just real hands-on, person-to-person ministries.
Yes, Native American Ministries is alive and well, providing grass-roots ministry, reaching out to people at their point of need. People’s lives are being touched and the Holy Spirit is in our midst. Our Creator God and Jesus Christ are central to all that we do, whatever forms each specific ministry may take.
Individuals Involved in NAM
Linda McDaniel, International Native American Ministry Field Specialist.
If you would like more information about how you can become involved with NAM activities in your area, feel free to contact her. Contact Linda McDaniel.
Deborah "Dee" White Eye
Dee is currently living in and providing ministry from Hiawatha, Kansas. Dee is a Singer/Cultural Consultant as well as a school counselor. She has produced a CD of original Native American music entitled, “In Honor of the Grandmothers” which is available for purchase. Also available is her new single song written for her son and all the soldiers serving in the war. It is entitled Ogitchedaw (meaning "warrior" in Ojibwe). Dee has been with NAM since 1976. Dee was a NACAT member until 1983. Other responsibilities have included
- Director of youth camps in Chicago area
- Worked at various Indian Centers in Port Huron, Michigan and Omaha, Nebraska
- Worked with Title programs/JOM in schools to promote culture for Native children
- ALANON groups meetings in her home
- Sponsor of a NAM house church while living in Omaha
- Served on various World Church Committees related to diversity and Native American Ministries including the NAM Task Force.
She holds the priesthood office of Priest in Community of Christ. Dee is also available to teach classes on culture, diversity, music ministry, and concerts. She is a professional licensed social worker and can present topics related to wellness and psychotherapy with Native Americans. Contact Dee White Eye.