This Sunday, April 18th, United Methodist churches in the Denver area and throughout the country will be collecting a special offering. One of six Special Sundays recognized in the United Methodist Church, Native American Ministries Sunday provides funds to support various Native American ministries as well as supporting scholarships for Native Americans who wish to enter the seminary. The program began in 1988.
Half of the money collected for Native American Ministries Sunday in the Rocky Mountain Conference will remain in the conference to support local ministries. The rest goes to support scholarships and to fund the Native American Urban Initiative through the General Board of Global Ministries.
One local initiative supported through the Native American Ministries committee of the Rocky Mountain Conference was a trip involving White Bison, a Native American organization that helps with recovery from substance abuse. Sponsored by the committee as well as Trinity UMC of Colorado Springs, the organization led a group on a 6,800 mile journey to visit 22 boarding schools that were established for Native American children in the 1870s. Children were removed from their families to be "assimilated" into supposed mainstream culture. Many of these children were abused in the boarding schools, and many died.
The White Bison trip occurred in May and June of 2009.