Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University has been awarded a $240,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the first three years of a faculty position for a Native American scholar.
The grant award was announced March 31. This seed money will provide for salary and benefits and will support the seminary’s development of the program "Native American Studies in Church and Society."
In collaboration with the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) and the denomination’s Native American Comprehensive Plan, the school is launching a program to provide theological education for Native American church leaders. A second objective is to raise awareness and advocacy among non-Native peoples.
The presence of a Native American faculty member is the first major step in developing pedagogical and cultural strategies to address needs specific to the Native American community, according to Church and seminary leaders.
"A full-time Native American faculty member will greatly impact the commitment to resource and equip the Native community in and outside of OIMC," said David Wilson, OIMC Superintendent. "It shows the seminary is very serious about its commitment to the Native community."
"This grant from the Luce Foundation is so significant for Saint Paul School of Theology," said Elaine Robinson, academic dean of the seminary at OCU. "Having a Native American scholar on our faculty will help us to envision our steps forward and will deepen our understanding of Native American cultures and histories."
"We are ever grateful to the Luce Foundation," said Saint Paul President Myron McCoy. "This critical support allows Saint Paul to respond in faithful and concrete ways to forging a future that is inclusive."