A post from Bishop Gayle E. Harris:
With Lakota drum and singing-chant, scripture read in Shoshone, Dine and Lakota, and the Rev. Dr. Mary Crist (Eagle Woman), a member of the Blackfeet Nation, as our preacher, today we celebrated small congregations and Native Indian culture in the context of the commemoration of Samson Occum at the Eucharist. From Holy Women, Holy Men, a supplement to Lesser Feasts and Fasts:
Samson Occum, the first ordained Native American minister, was born a member of the Mohegan nation near New London, Connecticut, 1723…In 1723 he began studying theology at the school of congregational ministry Eleazar Wheelock, later founder of Dartmouth College. Occum did mission among the Native Americans in New England and Montauk, Long Island. In 1766, at the behest of Eleazar Wheelock, Occum went to England where he was to raise money for Wheelock’s Indian charity school. He preached extensively for over a year, traveling across England, and raised more than 11,000 pounds from wealthy patrons including King George III. When he returned from England…his family supposedly under the care of Wheelock, was found destitute, and the school for which he had labored moved to Hanover, NH, where it became Dartmouth College. The funds he had raised had been put toward the education of Englishmen rather than of Native Americans.
Thus it was. Unfortunately, thus it still is. Treaties continue to be broken. The promise of equality in the church and the world continues to be broken. Justice continues to be broken for political expediency. Fairness and ethics continue to be broken for the sake self gain. The hopes of the alien, outcast, poor, marginalized and people of color to fully sit at the table of leadership and authority are broken by those who have power and resources. Those who suffer discrimination from one “ism” participate in oppressing others with another “ism.”
The mission of God in my heart is to cry out against brokenness that others experience. My eyes contain tears of the brokenness I suffer. The work of this General Convention in resolutions and a budget for the Episcopal Church sometimes and in some ways meets brokenness with the tools to knit wholeness.