Monthly Archives: March2022

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avery-0435Through the generosity of the Oklahoma Annual Conference, 35 clergy and spouses were able to visit the First Americans Museum (FAM) in Oklahoma City during the annual clergy gathering, January 7-8, 2022.

FAM, which features the stories of the 39 Tribal Nations in Oklahoma today, served as the perfect backdrop for clergy to explore a workshop on origin stories. The Rev. Clarence Yarholar led a session that highlighted elements of origin stories from the Caddo, Ponca, Otoe-Missouria, and Pawnee tribes found in the OKLA HOMMA exhibition. He also added the Kiowa origin story and related all the stories to Genesis.

avery-0417“As Native pastors and providers, our views are just as relevant as Christian views sharing theology in biblical stories reaching people in making disciples for Christ,” said Yarholar.

“In the midst of reverence and by grace, we see the narrative in creation stories.”

The clergy also participated in a sexual ethics training and learned of more updates to the policies around sexual ethics for clergy and the church.

Bishop Nunn said he was glad so many OIMC clergy were able to see the museum and was thankful so many participated.

RNVThe Rock the Native Vote initiative, operated by the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC), is gearing up for a busy 2022. The midterm elections will take place Nov. 8, with both the US Senate and members of the House of Representatives up for re-election.

Fourteen coordinators and Rock the Native Vote volunteers met in Oklahoma City recently to plan for voter registration and other events related to voter engagement, including creating videos to highlight the reason to vote.

“We had a great event and we had three other organizations present who are also doing voter
engagement work,” the Rev. David Wilson, Rock the Native Vote director and assistant to the Bishop in the OIMC.

Rock the Native Vote has been in existence since 2004 and seeks to register people to vote, with an emphasis on Native American voters.

“Oklahoma is second in the nation with the highest populations of voting-age Native persons,” said Wilson. The number one state is Alaska. According to the National Congress of American Indians, 1.2 million Native Americans are not registered to vote across the country.

Rock the Native Vote is organized in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and is funded through the National Urban Indian Family Coalition out of Seattle, Washington. The two cities are among
twenty-four cities around the country representing over one million urban voters. Just recently Dallas Indian UMC received a grant from the organization to mobilize in the Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Wilson said.

IMG_5789The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference was blessed to receive generous funding support from the National Network Korean United Methodist Women’s  (NNKUMW) organization for 2022.  The NNKUMW financial contribution will be designated toward programming for the children and youth of OIMC.

In 2020 during the pandemic, OIMC connected with leaders of the NNKUMW. This connection produced a partnership with the organization. Many KUMW units across the country donated cloth facial masks, scarves, socks, hand sanitizers, gloves and so much more. Many of our local church children ministries and outreach programs reaped the benefits of the group’s kindness.   

In 2022, NNKUMW continues to play an instrumental role in funding support towards Advance Specials within OIMC, such as the Native American Children’s Fund which provides clothing grants for Native American. Designated support meets the need of parents applying for the grants. Applicants who meet the income guidelines and support graduating Seniors benefit from the funding support. The provision also provides funds to purchase Vacation Bible School supplies and curriculum for local churches as well.

This year’s financial contribution will support conference youth and
children programming such as summer youth camp, Youth 23, and other potential events. “Our goal is to apply funds wisely to programs that assist our young people of the conference,” said Rev. Pewo. “OIMC is thankful for the relationship and partnership with the NNKUMW.”

FAM_41The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Gala and Silent Auction will be held Thursday, April 21, 2022, at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. The proceeds go to the Stroud Print Silent auctonPermanent Endowment Fund for Pastoral Support.

Table sponsorship are now available beginning at $1,500 up to $10,000. Individual tables will be available for $1,000 for eight persons and individual tickets are $125.00.

In addition to a great meal and program, there will be many silent auction items ranging from Native art, jewelry, clothing items and more.  The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the silent auction. More information will be mailed out in the coming weeks.


April 21, 2022 | 5:30 p.m.
First Americans Museum
659 First Americans Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73129
$125 Individual
$1,000 for Table
Ticket includes access to exhibitions.

The fiscal year for The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference was challenging in 2021, but in the end, the conference finished the year strong, thanks to local churches and financial support from many friends and allies around the denomination.

The most recent financial statements show that forty-five local churches paid 100 percent of their apportionments which was seventy percent, according to the Rev. David Wilson, assistant to the Bishop. “This is amazing, considering the challenges local churches had to overcome through the pandemic.”

The other two pieces that really helped OIMC in 2021 was a Personal Protection Payment loan from the U.S. government and an unexpected gift from the General Council on Finance and Administration, totaling more than $184,000.

“We have participated in Giving Tuesday for the last several years to help us with our end of the year budget,” said Wilson. The campaign raised $7,000.

Wilson said that he shared that OIMC would match up to $2,500 of the
contributions. He asked four OIMC churches to help provide funds for that match and they all agreed to contribute $250.00 to that match. They include Little Washita, Boiling Springs, New Hope and the Clinton Children’s ministry.  The remaining funds came from others and from the Rock the Native Vote organization. OIMC also received close to $900.00 for our Native American Children’s Fund.

Rev. Wilson also reported that three churches have already paid 100 percent of their 2022 apportionments. They include, Little Washita, Seeley Chapel and Nanih Chito. “We are so thankful for these local churches and their commitment to Christ and OIMC,” said Bishop Jimmy Nunn.

The Chickasaw Nation recently contributed $100,000 to the OIMC permanent endowment. The permanent endowment produced $46,000 in 2020 to help with the OIMC budget.

Due to the latest contribution from the Chickasaw Nation and the good returns from the stock
market during 2021, the OIMC permanent endowment has grown to a little over $2.8 million dollars. The conference has used the interest from the endowment as a part of the conference budget each year. That interest has varied from $40,000 to $50,000 a year, according to Rev. Wilson.

BB assemblyDuring a mission trip to deliver UMCOR School kits to Standing Rock, North Dakota in August 2021, an OIMC team came across the Little Eagle Grant School. The school, nearly an hour from Fort Yates, exists in a community where the only place of business is a United States Post Office station. Popup tents around the housing area illustrates the story of homelessness and the fact that 80 percent of residents live in extreme poverty.

“This discovery was very hard to absorb and process,” said the Rev. Donna Pewo, OIMC
director of Connectional Ministry. She said she noticed an absence of playground
equipment or any type of recreation for young people in the area. Within weeks from returning to Oklahoma, Pewo reached out to the principal of the school to find out how OIMC could support the

The Little Eagle Grant School is a tribally controlled school serving 65 students in K-8th grade. OIMC assembled a four-person project team including the Rev. David Wilson, the Rev. Bryan Tener, Lori Harless and Pewo. Their mission was to gather Christmas gifts and supplies for the students.

Several individuals connected with OIMC to provide the gifts including: the OCU American Indian Willis Clinic, the Hispanic Law student organization, Immigration Legal Society, OCU office of Diversity, the Koda Cross Fitness Gym and other individuals.

Little Eagle teamThe team arrived at Little Eagle on December 10, 2021, and unloaded gifts to wrap at the school, as well as four basketball goals.

The gifts and Walmart gift cards were distributed on December 21st during the school’s annual Christmas parade. The parade staff was able to share extra gifts and treat bags to under school age children within the small Native community as well.

“You all made our Christmas for the kids and they appreciate everything,” said Laura Grijalva, staff member at Little Eagle Grant School.

swosu15Nine years ago, a critical partnership between Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry and the Clinton Indian Church and
Community Center began with a common goal to support Native American children.

Led by the Rev. Elizabeth Horton-Ware, former Wesley campus ministry director, students began hosting holiday gatherings in 2014 such as fall festivals,Valentine’s Day parties, Thanksgiving community meals and the annual Christmas programs. Various campus organizations raised funds to support the Clinton ministry.

“It was a great groundwork engaging children and youth with college students with intention to inspire local elementary, middle school and high school students to dream big and set goals for their future,” said the Rev. Donna Pewo, director of Connectional Ministries for the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.  She added that friendships and trust between both groups has been cultivated and the Clinton group has become familiar with the campus and its community.

In 2016, the Rev. Velma Carriaga was appointed as the SWOSU Wesley Campus Ministry Director. Pastor Velma has carried on the partnership and continues to meet the needs of the children and youth of the Clinton Native community.

“Many of our Native children were struggling in school and needed help with
homework,” said Pewo. The SWOSU campus ministry students responded and began offering tutoring sessions twice a month. Campus ministry students travel to Clinton during one of the tutoring sessions and the second session is held on campus.

“The benefits have been worthwhile for both ministries,” said Pewo. “The campus ministry students have learned about engaging with tribal children and families and the Clinton young people have learned about self-discipline, the importance of homework and paying attention in class and learning to ask questions.”

karissa3A shining example of this partnership is the enrollment of Karissa Whiteshirt, SWOSU
freshmen, who is a product of the Clinton Indian ministry. Karissa is one of two interns who live in the SWOSU Wesley Campus ministry building rent free in exchange for supporting Wesley programs which includes tutoring children at the Clinton ministry.

“We are extremely proud of Karissa and her desire to pursue her career in the medical field,” said Pewo.

In addition to supporting the Clinton ministry, the SWOSU Wesley Campus Ministry is a meeting site to various diverse campus organizations. Each week the Wesley students host Thursday Free Lunches to campus students where they feed anywhere from 80 to 145 students.