Tonight’s worship at General Conference carries the title “An Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous Peoples.”
Here’s a sample line from the liturgy:
“We name before you a heart-breaking list of wrongs committed by our ancestors against native peoples through imperial ambitions of colonial powers the world around …”
“Our faith traditions are complicit: indeed, often actively engaged in the violations and even the cultural and physical genocide of native peoples. … Our congregations and ministries benefited from native lands acquired unjustly when it was not a result of outright confiscation.”
Tonight the hymn “Dust and Ashes” will be sung, with a verse specially written for the occasion by Brian Wren.
The main speaker will be the Rev. Dr. George E. “Tink” Tinker, a member of the Osage tribe and Clifford Baldridge Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions at Iliff School of Theology.
At a press conference today, he said the service should be seen as part of an ongoing process.
“Repentance dare never, ever, be boiled down to a one-time incident,” he said.
Part of the Methodist history that suggested the event was the Nov. 29, 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, in which U.S. troops under the command of Col. John Chivington, a Methodist clergyman, slaughtered residents of a Native American village in Colorado, including women and children.
For a UMNS story previewing the service, click here.