(PNS) Four organizations working to provide leadership development for Native Americans have been selected to receive the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s 2018 Native American Leadership Fund Award. The one-time award for Native American leadership development was created by action of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. In total, $151,000 will be awarded to the selected organizations.
In May 2018, a call for proposals was issued with an invitation for organizations and groups to submit a proposal for grants. The designated funds are to be used for education and/or leadership development of Native American Presbyterian leaders or in Native American Presbyterian organizations and communities.
Tim McCallister, associate for Mission Program Grants & Schools & Colleges Equipping Communities of Color, said, “These grants are offered by the Mission Agency to encourage pioneers, risk-takers and trailblazers. I am pleased that the lack of financial resources will no longer be an obstacle for the grant recipients to develop ministries and opportunities in Native American communities,” McCallister concluded.
“This grant was designed to encourage the birth of new proposals to support Native American leadership development opportunities and ministries,” said Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries. “I am grateful that the committee awarded grants to ministries that will impact communities and opportunities for Native Americans.”
The four awardees are: The Synod of the Southwest Native American Ministries, The Dakota Presbytery/Synod of Lakes and Prairies Let There Be Peace ministry, the Jimersontown Presbyterian Church Native American Leadership in the Church ministry, and the First Indian Presbyterian Church, Women’s Retreat ministries.
The Synod of the Southwest Native American Ministries received a total of $50,000.
The synod will use their award to facilitate a gathering of Native American leaders. Each of the 32 Native American churches and chapels will identify who within their congregations will attend. The event is designed to assist dominant culture leaders to better understand the issues facing Native American peoples, develop leadership skills for Native Americans and continue conversations among all peoples to recognize issues in Indian country and surrounding areas.
The Dakota Presbytery/Synod of Lakes and Prairies received $30,000 for their Let There Be Peace ministry. The ministry is designed to be a research tool for leaders to determine the sort of leadership desired from individual congregations and ministry areas. This ministry will work to provide an experience that celebrates who they are as indigenous peoples with customs and values that are like other tribes, and to continue to learn ways in which they can incorporate their culture into their faith.
For their Development of Native American Leadership in the Church ministry, Jimersontown Presbyterian Church received $50,000. This ministry will use their award to develop leadership skills that will focus on broken families, those struggling with substance abuse issues and environmental concerns, as well as work to develop Seneca values by blending both the Christian and traditional Seneca ways.
First Indian Presbyterian Church, which received $21,000, will use their award for women’s retreats. The congregation will pursue a long-term approach with two-day retreats to see women of the Nez Perce reservation healed of deep-seated personal pain, which can lead to dysfunction and disunity. They will share fellowship, teaching, prayer and counsel with trained resource persons, small group discussions and worship to deepen friendships with each other and bring encounters with Jesus, who suffered and died that all might experience abundant life and share it near and far.
by Gail Strange, Presbyterian News Service