Native American tribes in Nebraska and Kansas were Plains Indians that lived in the two states several thousands of years before they were settled by immigrants. While currently not a large segment of the population, we are called by God and by our theological heritage to be in ministry with all peoples.
The Native American Comprehensive Plan serves as the United Methodist entity that resources, strengthens and advocates for Native American communities and congregations. View the plan on the General Board of Discipleship's website.
Native American Ministries Sunday is one of the six church-wide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church. Approximately 22,310 United Methodists identify themselves as Native American. About 141 United Methodist churches, fellowships and ministries relate to Native Americans. The offering supports Native American ministries and helps United Methodist Native American seminarians to become church leaders.
“Not many of our pastors have gone to seminary,” says scholarship recipient the Rev. David Dunson about Native American clergy. “But now, I can bring the message of hope through education to encourage my people.”
The offering is taken each May. Order your free offering resources today. Bulletin inserts, posters, worship resources, stories and a video are available to download or order at www.umcgiving.org/NAMS.
You can give online to Native American Ministries Sunday at any time. Give now. Be sure to type in "Native American Ministries Sunday" to direct your funds.
A number of Native American congregations lie within the bounds of the Great Plains Conference. Native American congregations in Kansas are part of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
The Oklahoma Indian Mission Conference (OIMC), comprised of 89 United Methodist churches in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, represents the largest concentration of Native American United Methodists in the entire country. The historic Indian Missionary Conference was started by Cherokee, Creek and Choctaw tribes in 1844.
By policy of the vital congregations team, the portion of the Native American Ministry Sunday offering which remains in the Great Plains is shared with Sacred Winds fellowship, an ecumenical fellowship in Lincoln, Nebraska, and given to the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference to be used for the benefit of churches in Kansas.
Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church is an on-going ministry located in Lawrence (920 E. 21st Street) near the Haskell Indian Nations University. It put the finishing touches on a renovation of their building that has been underway for a number of years. The congregation has been in ministry for more than 67 years and reaches out to students, staff and administration on the Haskell University campus and to Native students attending the University of Kansas. An integral part of supporting the ministry is their monthly Indian Taco Sale and outreach, not only for monetary support, but also the opportunity to interact with the Lawrence community and to share the love of God through one-on-one contact. They regularly interact with the Haskell students in ways that celebrate and enforce the Native customs and cultures of their various tribes. In the past, the congregation has used CONAM funds for the following projects for Haskell students: culture specific food preparation and gatherings, purchase of books and calculators, gasoline purchases for emergency situations – aiming to help these students far from family and support systems – feel “at home."
Kahbeah Fellowship is located on the Kickapoo Reservation (east of the Golden Eagle Casino) near Horton. They moved into their current site in August of 2008 and have been busy repairing and renewing the building since that time. On Resurrection Sunday of April 12, 2009, the congregation was able to worship in a sanctuary for the first time in 14 years. Much of the building renovation was done by work groups from churches around the former Kansas East Conference. They received assistance on Sunday mornings from the United Methodist church in Horton. In the past, they have made a concerted effort to reach out to the children in the community through an Easter egg hunt and other activities made possible with CONAM money, resulting in contact with many more than the planners had expected. They have also been past recipients of a grant from the former Kansas East Conference Committee on Native American Ministry to purchase Sunday school curriculum. A thriving AA group meets regularly in the building.
The most recent location for a Native worshiping community is in the Kansas City urban area. It is located at the Heart of America Indian Center just across the state line in Kansas City, Missouri, on 39th street (formerly having met at St. Marks UMC, Overland Park, Kansas). It is a joint project of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, the Missouri Annual Conference and the Great Plains Conference. It is a place where Native peoples come together for worship and service in the large metropolitan area. It seeks to establish a place where people can find encouragement, respect, and a community where they can belong. CONAM funds have helped purchase communion vessels, Bibles, hymn books and other supplies.
Wichita Mission became an official organization in 1957. Prior to their organization as a church they had been meeting as a group for quite some time under Rev. George Saumty, a Kiowa who had moved to Wichita for the express purpose of starting a church for the many Indians who had relocated to that area. A parsonage was purchased in 1962. The Wichita Indian UMC is active in outreach to the homeless.