July 6, 2010
LAKE JUNALUSKA, NC – SEJANAM, the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association for Native American Ministries and Lake Junaluska hosted the its 22nd Annual Native American Summer Conference on June 25-27. The theme for the 2010 event was “A World in Need of Healing,” which focused on the power of prayer and healing.
“This is one of the best Native American Conferences I have attended since my coming to Lake Junaluska!” commented Rev. Bill James Locklear.
Traditional Native American spirituality is rooted in a deep reverence for all life, a profound sense of the oneness of the human community and a sense of responsibility and connection with all things. The intent of this year’s event was on to focus the power of prayer and provide timely, relevant guidance, as well as spiritual broadening on the issues of health and healing for Native Americans across the Southeastern Jurisdiction and the nation. It is also designed to celebrate and experience the diversity and uniqueness of Native Americans, to enhance one’s knowledge about various issues from a spiritual, cultural, social, and contemporary point of view.
“I believe and feel that this kind of gathering in the United Methodist tradition is vital for Native people. The conference was awesome!” said Rev. Anita Phillips, Director of the Native American Comprehensive Plan.
Keynote guest speaker for Stuart Auditorium was Rev. Leonard John, from Fairbanks, Alaska. An enrolled member of the Klingit Tribe, he is a Viet Nam veteran and has served as a tribal council man with Klingit and Haida Central Council in Juneau, Alaska for ten years. One special addition to the Sunday worship service was the inter-tribal Native American Children’s Choir which consisted of Mississippi Choctaw, Cherokee, and Lumbee youth.
Special Conference guest speakers were Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, Mississippi Annual Conference, Bishop Jimmy Jones, and Dr. Evelyn Laycock. Exceptional music was provided by the Kituwah Children from Cherokee, the Mississippi Choctaw and recording artist Youth in Christ from Maxton, North Carolina. Also attending were national Native American leaders Dr. Anne Marshall, Chair, Native American International Caucus; Rev. Anita Philips, Director, Native American Comprehensive Plan; and Rev. Homer Noley, past Director, National United Methodist Native American Center.
“Everyone always looks forward to coming to Lake Junaluska and be part of the Summer Conference,” said Rev. Daniel Tubby, Mississippi Choctaw. "It helps all of us grow in our spiritual journey.”
The conference included a time to acknowledge and honor Native women leaders within the Southeast Jurisdiction and the United Methodist Church. Being honored for their outstanding leadership and contributions to Native ministries, communities and the United Methodist Church were Dr. Anne Marshall, Muskogee Creek, Chair of the Native American International Caucus and Ms. Jessie Mitchell, Lumbee, community leader and advocate for SEJANAM and Native American Ministries in the UMC.
“We believe that participants left with an enrich prayer life and deepen relationships with the risen Christ and with others, experiencing God in a way they never had before” said Darlene Jacobs, Director of SEJANAM.
SEJANAM is SEJANAM is the advocate for twenty-three Native American congregations and four other ministries on reservations in the Southeast Jurisdiction. For more information about upcoming SEJANAM events, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/social-justice.aspx