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Native American Ministries Sunday

Greensky Hill Indian UMC congregation

Learn how your offerings support Native American ministries in Michigan and beyond, and plan to receive an offering to support this Special Sunday on April 14.

The next churchwide Special Sunday with offering is Native American Ministries Sunday, set for April 14, 2024. Although this is the official date, you are encouraged to celebrate on a date that is most convenient for your congregation. Resources to celebrate and promote this Special Sunday can be found here.

You can support this Special Sunday by planning to receive an offering in your local United Methodist church, giving online at UMC.org/SSGive, or mailing a check to GCFA, PO Box 340029, Nashville, TN 37203. Please include “Native American Ministries Sunday” in the memo section of your check.

What Is Native American Ministries Sunday?

This Special Sunday is a denomination-wide celebration designed to raise awareness and remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society. A knowledge gap exists in The United Methodist Church, both in congregations and in other United Methodist entities, relative to comprehending concepts of Native American life, cultures, languages, spirit, values, contemporary issues, and such. We affirm the sacredness of indigenous people, their languages, cultures, and gifts to the church and the world. Churches are encouraged to donate through their local churches or give online.

Where Does the Offering Go?

An offering is taken on this Special Sunday to support vital ministries and churches in Native American communities. The offering allows The United Methodist Church to partner with existing Native ministries to develop new programs on behalf of Native Americans. Last year, your generosity delivered over $243,000 toward these ministries

Infographic showing where Native American Ministries Sunday offering goes
The Michigan Conference keeps 50% of the offering received on Native American Ministries Sunday. ~ infographic courtesy UM Communications

50 percent of the funds collected on Native American Ministries Sunday remain in the annual conference to develop and strengthen Native American ministries here in Michigan. To assist in developing these programs, the Michigan Conference has a Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM). This committee seeks to advocate for ministry with and by Native Americans to share the diverse culture, history, and traditions of Native peoples. The committee determines the distribution of the Native American Ministries Sunday offering, coordinates the promotion of that Special Sunday, and monitors Native American ministries within the annual conference. Learn more about the United Methodist Church’s Native American Comprehensive Plan here.

The Michigan Conference’s CONAM meets twice a year. Bradley Indian UMC will host the upcoming meeting on May 3-4, and Greensky Hill Indian UMC will host the October 4-5 meeting. Contact CONAM, find out what members of this committee are working on, and get involved. Tammy Okuly is the chairperson of the Michigan Conference CONAM. Email her at [email protected] and ask how your church can do more for our Native churches and ministries in Michigan.

There are six Native American churches in Michigan, along with the Pawating Native American Elders program out of Northlawn UMC in Grand Rapids. Rhonda Loonsfoot is the director of that program. Click to read an article about this vital ministry.

    • Bradley Indian UMC – Pastor Sandy VandenBrink
    • Greensky Hill Indian UMC – Pastor Jonathan Mays retired on December 31, 2023
    • Kewadin Indian UMC – Pastor George Pamp retired on December 31, 2023
    • Northport Indian UMC – Pastor Wava Hofmann
    • Mt. Pleasant: Chippewa UMC – Pastor Carla Sineway
    • Oscoda Indian UMC – Pastor Pam Harkema

25 percent of donations received fund scholarships designated for Native Americans attending United Methodist schools of theology. A significant shortage exists of Native American pastors and trained professionals, and these scholarships provide development, implementation, and assessment of higher education recruitment and retention for Native Americans. Learn more about Native American Ministries scholarships here.

Native American United Methodists in Michigan
Left photo: Each Memorial Day, members of Oscoda Indian UMC honor their elders at an annual service at the nearby Native cemetery. Right photo: Northport Indian UMC received a grant thanks to the Native American Ministries Sunday offering for new gutters on their church building and the professional removal of more than 20 trees from the nearby Onominese Indian Cemetery, which is now owned and cared for by the Northport congregation. A major storm took down several 100-year-old trees at this sacred cemetery. Click here to read the courageous story of how the members of Northport Indian UMC reclaimed this cemetery after years of neglect. ~ photo on left courtesy Pam Harkema/photo on right MIphoto/James Deaton

25 percent of the donations collected are used to create beneficial programs. These funds allow The United Methodist Church to partner with existing Native ministries to develop new programs on behalf of Native Americans. Some of those efforts include mentoring programs, peer support systems, funding for economic development projects, and restoring traditional and historic ways that bring forth new leaders for Native American communities. Learn more about the grant application here.

One of the beautiful aspects of The United Methodist Church is that we can do so much more together than we could ever do alone. Your generosity provides funding for strengthening and developing ministries with Native Americans.

Need More Stories and Resources?

Click here to read stories about the impact you are making with your gifts in The United Methodist Church.

Download worship and promotional resources designed specifically to celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday.

Explore and share the Did You Know? resources to learn more about this Special Sunday.

James Deaton, Content Editor for the Michigan Conference, contributed to this article.

Last Updated on April 10, 2024

The Michigan Conference