March 04, 2010

Fort Wayne church seeks reconciliation

Sins of history

Local church leaders invite native people to service of reconciliation

Rosa Salter Rodriguez
Monte Sheets, pastor of Cedarville Community Church, isn’t sure, but he thinks he might have a measure of Native American ancestry.

What he is sure about is that he feels a measure of guilt about how Native Americans have historically been treated.

Last month, Sheets and other members of the Fort Wayne area’s religious community did something about that feeling during a landmark gathering at Heartland Community Church in Fort Wayne.

Called “Restoring Ancient Gates: Seeking the Creator for a Regional Prophetic Awakening,” the late-January event brought together more than 500 people seeking reconciliation between Christian churches and native peoples.

Attendees came from area congregations and 20 Native American tribes, with many arriving in traditional tribal dress.

The weekend’s highlight was the presentation of a document from a group of Fort Wayne pastors, including Sheets, acknowledging past sins and unjust acts against the Miami Indians, the region’s original settlers.

The document also committed the signatories to treating Miami descendants with respect as “a spiritual people” and as “the original gatekeepers and caretakers of this land.”
Comment:  Below is Rita Bear Gray speaking on "Native American culture in Christian worship." Is she wearing a traditional Miami Indian outfit? Maybe, maybe not.

For more on reconciliation, see Native Gathering Forgives Columbus and Lenape Tribe, Collegiate Church Reconcile.

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