Celebrating the Sacred: Mother's Day and Native American Sunday
by Mary Beth Coudal
At this time of year, Ms. Josephine Deere's phone at the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference starts ringing off the hook as United Methodists call, asking her to refer worship leaders to celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday. The giving on this Special Sunday undergirds Native American networks and scholars within the United Methodist connection.
But this year, Sunday, May 8, is not just Native American Sunday, it is also Mother's Day. Ms. Deere finds this an apt convergence. "We're very matriarchal. We honor our mothers. We have clans. We follow the clan of our mother. We always go with our mother's clan."
For Native American Sunday at Ms. Deere's church, Grant Chapel in Welty, Oklahoma, the worship includes a remembrance of history. "We use Native American Sunday as Heritage Sunday and dress in tribal clothes," said Ms. Deere, who is on the board of directors for Global Ministries and is the director of interpretation and programs at the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
As at Grant Chapel, United Methodists can use Native American Ministry Sunday as an opportunity to remember history, particularly a history which includes the contributions of Native Americans, mothers, and orphans.
Rev. Debra Tyree will do that by leading the choir at Bellevue United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, in singing "Orphan Child," an anthem from Singing the Sacred: Musical Gifts from Native American Communities.
"We are singing because it connects Native American Sunday with Mother's Day, and the song tells the story of the Trail of Tears," said Rev. Tyree, song leader and Global Praise business manager. The Trail of Tears from Southern US states to Oklahoma was a walk forced by the US government's passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Thousands perished on the journey.
"'Orphan Child' reminds us that, despite our best efforts, there are still children left behind, as on the Trail of Tears," Rev. Tyree said. "This Global Praise hymnbook allows me to be sensitive and multicultural in my worship."
Like Ms. Deere and Rev. Tyree, church leaders across the United Methodist connection will remember this year's Special Sunday, Native American Ministries Sunday, May 8, 2011, through songs and prayers in an attempt to leave no mother or child behind.
To learn about the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, visit: umc-oimc.org.
For worship ideas for this year's Special Sunday, check out the spirit-filled hymnbook, Singing the Sacred: Musical Gifts from Native American Communities or the companion CD which includes all 21 songs from the hymnbook recorded by people from indigenous communities.
The songs come from 15 Native American communities within the US. About half of the songs in the collection come from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
For more about the Global Praise program, visit globalpraise.org.
Order the songbook ($12.95) and CD ($12.95) from Global Praise Music.
You may also call Cokesbury at 1-800-672-1789 or contact your local Cokesbury store.
Date posted: Apr 27, 2011