July 6, 2010
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. - Two Native women were honored as part of the 22nd Annual Southeastern Jurisdictional Native American Summer Conference (SEJANAM). Ms. Jessie Mitchell, Lumbee, a life-long resident of Robeson County, North Carolina, and Dr. Anne Marshall, Muscogee Creek, from Holdenville, Oklahoma, were honored.
Ms. Mitchell was presented gifts, including a certificate of appreciation signed by Bishop Larry Goodpaster, President of the World Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, Jimmy L. Carr, Executive Director of Lake Junaluska, President of SEJANAM Tracy Pender, and SEJANAM Director Darlene Jacobs. She also received a resolution acknowledging her labor, work and advocacy for social justice, for other native people and non-native people, for the formation of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency for Native American Ministries (SEJANAM), making it the seventh agency of the Jurisdiction, and for her tireless, endless, exemplary and unselfish giving of her time, energy, and resources for the glory of God in the Southeast Jurisdiction. Additionally, she was honored with a beautiful quilt made by Ms. Bertha Locklear of Pembroke and embroidered by Ms. Gloria Chavis, also of Pembroke.
Lovingly called ‘Ms. Jessie,’ she was thrilled at the honor. She stated with great excitement, “I could never do anything without the Lord! This is an immense honor and I am deeply humbled.” Ms. Mitchell has attended all of the 22 SEJANAM Annual Native American Summer Conferences, by any means possible.
“Ms. Jessie is a wonderful woman of God and I’m thrilled that she is finally being recognized for all she has given to the Church and Indian communities” said conference attendees.
“She is a great role model to learn and live by,” said Daphine Strickland, newly elected Vice Chair of SEJANAM.
During the same service, Dr. Anne Marshall was presented a beaded eagle feather as well, a prayer shawl, in addition to a plaque signed by Bishop Larry Goodpaster, Jimmy Carr, Tracy Pender, and Director Darlene Jacobs. Dr. Marshall was recognized for her extraordinary leadership and remarkable commitment as a strong resilient Native American woman and leader to the United Methodist Church, Native American Ministries and diligent support of SEJANAM.
“This is an awesome woman, whose shoulders we all stand on!” explained Rev. Dr. Kenneth Locklear, former SEJANAM Director. She’s been in Indian business of over 20 years, vigorously working for all of us. She is enthusiastic and a dynamic force to be reckoned with,” added, Daphine Strickland, member of Triad UMC. This kind of recognition is well deserved and well overdue!” Rev. Doug Locklear, Pastor of Collins Chapel UMC, presented her with the plaque.
Keynote guest speaker for the Summer Conference 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.
Additional 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.
“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.”
“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 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.