Within The United Methodist Church, there are approximately 111 Native American congregations.
In the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC, North Carolina has the largest number of Native American ministries established. A majority of the remainder are part of Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC).
The state of North Carolina has approximately 125,000 Native American residents. Approximately 2,400 of those are United Methodist.
To oversee and support those ministries operating within the North Carolina Annual Conference (which serves the eastern half of the state), the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) was formed. The Committee serves as a ministry within the life of the NC Conference that gives voice to Native Americans and meets the mandate as outlined in the Book of Discipline which “serves to remind the Church of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society.”
CONAM seeks to challenge the understanding of radical discipleship and our passion for the Lord as indigenous people to be called out into the world as disciples of Christ in communities that minister to those who suffer from being marginalized and disenfranchised.
The ministries offered include:
- Encouraging lay and clergy leadership development through programs such as Discover God’s Call Ministry for laity and clergy to better understand their gifts and graces.
- Developing local and international mission work teams to offer hope and allow the light of Christ to be made visible. Mission beyond the church provides a greater sense of being a disciple that witnesses to the kingdom that has come in Christ Jesus.
- Developing youth ministries to help youth and young adults stay connected to the local church, find their place at the table and develop their understanding of ministry.
- Promoting Native American Ministries Sunday Offering, training interpreters, and continuing to work with our NC Conference on selecting a Native American Representative in each church.
The Impact of Your Gifts on Native American Ministries Sunday
By Prentis “Trey” Harris III
John Wesley once said, “God grant that I may never live to be useless!” Wesley’s words are powerful, even more so for Christians. Being in ministry, clergy or laity, we should take these words to heart, so that we will never be useless!
While at Duke Divinity, I was honored to receive the Native American Seminary Award. To this day, I viewed that award as an affirmation of the call upon my life. The United Methodist Church provided me an opportunity through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, to pursue a Masters of Divinity. The Native American Seminary Award was presented to me while I was attending Duke Divinity School.
- Read more of Trey’s story about how your gifts to the Native American Ministries Sunday Offering.