Act of Repentance begins May 27
During the first full day of Annual Conference, the first step will be taken in an ongoing Act of Repentance by the Oklahoma Conference, moving toward healing relationships with indigenous people.
Led by Bishop Robert Hayes Jr., the Act of Repentance and Reconciliation with Native Americans will extend across three years.
The bishop described how Oklahoma Conference members will engage through education, hands-on service, and joint worship with members of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC). He is episcopal leader of both conferences.
The 2012 General Conference directed bishops to assure Acts of Repentance and Reconciliation are implemented by each annual conference.
"Methodism was brought here by the seeds of faith carried by Native Americans," Bishop Hayes said. "But some things never made the history books. We are going to acknowledge and remember things that happened to Native people in this land. We are not proud of what went on."
On May 27, the Annual Conference teaching time will feature speaker Tash Smith and a Native American choir. It will include a question-and-answer period.
A historian, Dr. Smith is an authority on Native Americans and Methodism in Oklahoma.
The bishop says he has invited members of OIMC churches in the greater Oklahoma City area to attend the educational presentation, "to be witnesses to our first step in our Act of Repantence."
— Holly McCray