By Rev. Jon Walters
From the days of John Wesley in
In 1540 Spanish ex-plorer Hernando
In 1827, our denominational presence was initiated with the Choctaw Indians in
The recent financial success of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is well known. Coming from a subsistent and survival economy less than 50 years ago to the present state of multiple businesses and jobs is a remarkable change in status. The tribe owns and operates a successful and diversified portfolio of manufacturing, service, retail, hospitality and tourism enterprises. These successes have meant that the tribe is more self-sufficient and less dependent on federal government assistance.
As a major employer in
If we, as United Methodists, are to continue our important and historic commitment to be in mission with the Mississippi Choctaws we must discern a renewed vision and commitment to the future of ministry here as we seek to:
• Dispel the myth that all Mississippi Choctaws are now wealthy and prosperous;
• Listen closely to the experience of the Choctaw Social Services personnel;
• Challenge the problem of a 50 percent
• Establish tutoring and computer literacy programs for children;
• Encourage essential academic achievement and progress;
• Initiate and support efforts for adult literacy;
• Focus on helping children and youth, especially those suffering neglect/abuse;
• Identify and support holistic personal spirituality and Christian nurture;
• Maximize the use of our current facilities and volunteers; and
• Re-energize our goals and financial commitment to our historic Choctaw Mission.
Please help us continue this historic commitment and ministry "to the least of these." Thanks so much for your support in the past which has meant so much. Please include our mission and our ministry and the needs of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in your thoughts and prayers.
Walters is pastor and executive director of the
Mark Your Calendar
Native American Ministries Sunday will be celebrated April 6. The Native American International Caucus proposed Native American Awareness Sunday in a petition to the 1988 General Conference, and delegates approved the churchwide Special Sunday with offering. The 2000 General Conference changed the name of the observance to Native American Ministries Sunday.