MS Choctaw Mission in Dire Need of Support


 By Jasmine Haynes, Web and Social Media Specialist

Most Mississippi United Methodists are unaware that the long-standing, Mississippi United Methodist Choctaw Mission is facing a serious lack of material and financial resources, and worshiping 

MS Choctaw Mission
Plastic from ceiling being used as a gutter for large leak in the roof. 
in an unfinished building.  Corrine Calvasina, a member at Saltillo First United Methodist Church in Saltillo, Mississippi and seven other church members visited the Choctaw Mission as an outreach effort.  Calvasina said she was appalled at what she witnessed and had many sleepless nights about the shape of the facilities at the Choctaw Mission.


"I was horrified by the condition of the main building which had a huge leak that was being contained with a gutter attached to plastic, running into a bucket," said Calvasina.  "They are in desperate need of Bibles, financial help, clothes for a clothes closet and they could use some volunteers to come in and help with work inside the mission building."


As partners in mission, Calvasina and some of her church members have contributed financially and given the Choctaw Mission three boxes of Bibles.  The group also plans to donate clothes and encourage a group of young people to paint and help with repairs.  Calvasina shared that she feels the Holy Spirit is directing her to bring awareness to the Choctaw Mission, so she has written numerous letters asking people for assistance.  "Mississippi has always been a benevolent state and I think if everyone was aware of what is going on within the Choctaw Mission and knew the resolution we have as The United Methodist Church to support native people, they would give this mission some priority," said Calvasina.


The Choctaw Mission has existed to serve the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians since the 1800s.  Calvasina is referring to a resolution directed by the Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church. The resolution affirmed that tribal nations were autonomous before the creation of the U.S. government and created stipulations for the church to support native people.  The 1992 General Conference comprehensive plan of the resolution mandates that United Methodist churches:

  • "Develop and strengthen native congregations, ministries and fellowships;
  • Train and develop native leaders;
  • Support the efforts of sovereign Native American nations to create means of economic development that do not depend upon gambling or disrupt sacred sites;
  • Urge the Board of Global Ministries to support funding of Native American economic development projects; and
  • Urge the Board of Pension and Health Benefits to invest monies in Native American financial institutions and community organizations."

Calvasina explained that Mississippi United Methodists can uphold the resolution by helping alleviate the missions budgetary stress of trying to produce enough monthly income for operations.  According to the Choctaw Mission's executive director, Dr. Al Styron, on average, $8,150 a month is essential to support its ministries.  Monthly donations average around $4,160--barely half of what is needed.  Styron shared that mission teams usually increase financial assistance but there has been a decline in the scheduling of mission groups over the past two years. 


"We are hoping to create a broader awareness of the mission opportunities at the Choctaw reservation," said Styron.  "You don't have to go overseas to experience meaningful hands-on ministry. You can do it right here in our state."


For those who would like to give to the Mississippi United Methodist Choctaw Mission please send donations to: The Mississippi United Methodist Choctaw Mission; 10971 Road 2606, Philadelphia, MS 39350.