First Sunday in Lent: A Worship Service for Native American Children

Read Romans 5:12-19

First Sunday in Lent: A Worship Service for Native American Children

On the first Sunday of each month, about 25 Native American children come to Grace Indian United Methodist Church, in Southeast Oklahoma, for a worship experience that is designed just for them. These children are students at a Choctaw Boarding School, and represent many Indian Nations: Choctaw, Navajo, Cherokee, Sioux, and many others.
Almost everyone in our small church is involved in hosting “Super Kids Sunday.” We want the young people to experience Christ’s grace and to learn to enjoy God.
And so, at the conclusion of the worship service, we serve Holy Communion. I explain to the children the meaning of the sacrament, and they come forward in small groups and form a circle around the Communion table. As they are standing in the circle, I walk around the circle to each child, offering the bread and the cup. We pray for the forgiveness of our sins, and for the gift of a repentant heart that will take us forward to newness of life. And indeed, this is what all of us, both children and adults, need and long for even: newness of life. As Romans 5:15 expresses it. “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Thanks be to God!
After worship, the students are broken up into groups to enjoy crafts, games, classes and a festive celebration of recent birthdays. We serve ice cream, cupcakes, and a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.
Our aim is to love these beautiful Native children, living here within the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, into the Kingdom of God. And surely the grace of Jesus Christ has overflowed to everyone in our congregation, through this ministry with these bright Native American children!! Though our church is not growing in number, we are growing in love and caring. Everyone looks forward to the children coming to worship with us. At this time, in the life of our church, we have found this outreach ministry to be as helpful to us as it is enjoyable to them. You can’t out-give God, and we feel blessed in many ways through this ministry. Chihowa chiholito blashke! (God bless you!)

David and Patricia Warden became GBGM Home Missionaries in 1978, and served 31 years in New Mexico and Southeast Kentucky. Since 2009, they have served in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, working among the Choctaw people. David is a retired pastor in Extension Ministry of the Holston Conference, and Patricia is a teacher and is involved in the work of United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 3/6/2014 11:00:00 PM
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