Native American Sunday honored at Woodland UMC

May 04, 2023 | by Hanna Widlund

Native American Sunday honored at Woodland UMC

Editor's note: Sunday, April 23rd, is a special Sunday in the United Methodist church calendar when we officially honor our Native American siblings with generous gifts toward ministry that support ministries with Native American communities across the US. 

Our Native American siblings are an essential part of ministry in California-Nevada.  Show your support and solidarity by giving now and often to Native American Ministries. 

At Woodland UMC, Native American Sunday was celebrated on April 30th this year with readings, education and an offering for Native American Ministries. 

The service began with a land recognition, acknowledging the ancestral home of the Patwin people that the church resides on. The scripture reading, Acts 2:42-47, was read from the First Nations Version, an Indigenous Translation of the New Testament. 

The highlight of the service was a reading of the Lord's Prayer in Choctaw by church member, Shannan Mustacci, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Shannan, who holds a Master's Degree in Indigenous Peoples Law ended the prayer with gratitude, "In my language, we say Yakoke or thank you. For allowing me to pray with you in my ancestral language, Yakoke".

This is the first time in recent years that Woodland UMC has honored Native American Sunday. Rev. Tom Widlund felt especially called to do so this year after leading a mission trip to the Guatemalan highlands last fall to work with indigenous Mayan people. The trip inspired him to research and learn more about our current and historical relationships with indigenous people all over the world, "For me, I have felt the The Holy Spirit pushing on my heart to say we need to do better at this".  

Native American Sunday was officially April 23rd this year, but local churches can honor our Native American siblings any Sunday through education, offerings and supporting the Committee on Native American Ministries. 

Click here to watch a recording of Woodland UMC's Native American Sunday Service. 

Click here to purchase a copy of the First Nations Version: An Indigenous Translation of the New Testament.  


Hanna Widlund serves as the Communications Associate for the California-Nevada Conference.