We offer greetings to you from your Conference Committee on Native American Ministry (CONAM), mindful that we all stand together, and mindful that our Christian heritage gifts us with hope for every grace of God for all of God’s people. We are mindful of the rich blessings the path of repentance finds in our triune God, who is the first giver, and the first to act in mercy and love toward us all.
We are thankful for Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr.’s call to repentance for the hegemony over Native peoples which occurred in our lands a relative few generations ago. It is easy to forget this is relatively recent history. Essentially, our grandparents’ grandparents were witnesses. Among Native people, the grandparents’ grandparents were among those to have been marched, or enslaved, or in some instances to have been simply slaughtered, but whom witnessed evolving disruptions in their community’s possessions, safety, livelihood, and sense of place.
As CONAM, we feel our main message to you at this time is simply this action would most appropriately be seen as a beginning: a formal Annual Conference Act of Repentance made in order to discover, and prepare for, whatever amidst grace may be next on the road to reconciliation.
Our own work as CONAM is also evolving. We must confess that we are still working to strengthen our various connections between the Annual Conference and the four local churches most involved in Native ministry. Two, Round Valley UMC, and Schurz UMC, are located on formally recognized Native lands. The other two ministries, Klamath UMC, and Point Arena UM, are located adjacent to formally recognized Native lands. We also suspect there exists other ministries with Native communities of which we are unaware.
We are now ready to respond to Bishop Brown’s call to the Annual Conference for prayer and action. Bishop Brown asks local churches to:
In addition to the Bishop’s call, we encourage local church leaders to:
Finally, let us fearlessly respond in this regard to our consciences, our faith, and the God of love beyond our understanding by committing ourselves to prayer in the time that remains between now and when the Act of Repentance is considered at the 2016 Annual Conference Session in Burlingame.
God Bless us, every one.
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