Native American Consulting Committee Pre-Big Tent Meeting in Louisville, KY
Members of the Native American Consulting Committee (NACC) met at the Presbyterian Center July 30th and 31st to work on the reformation of the Committee as called for by Native American Presbyterian leaders at their consultation in 2012. Members of NACC came from Puyallup, WA, Los Angeles, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Livingston, TX, Watson, OK, Versailles, NY, and Lawrence, KS. They represent synods, presbyteries and local Native American congregations and organizations.
New officers were elected, pictured at right:
Donna Kuyiyesva, Pima/Hopi – Los Angeles, CA; Krista Kleinman-Langley, Alabama Coushatta – Livingston, TX; Rev. Buddy Monahan, Choctaw/Maricopa – Albuquerque, NM; and CRE,
The PCUSA’s ongoing discussions about the future of synods in the denomination will affect the representation of NACC since half of its membership is derived from synod Native American Consulting Committee leadership. Eight synods, Alaska-Northwest, Lakes & Prairies, Southern California & Hawaii, Southwest, Sun, Rocky Mountains, Pacific and Northeast, have Native American constituencies residing in them. One, Southwest, has no NACC committee but has a Native ministries committee for Grand Canyon Presbytery, represented on NACC by Annette Stewart. The Synod of the Southwest’s Native ministries worker, Rev. Judy Wellington, is an At-Large member on NACC. Debbie Battiste-Kleinman, Alabama Coushatta – Livingston, TX.
For the last few years, NACC has met before major PCUSA gatherings such as GA or Big Tent events. Members of the committee are then able to experience those gatherings having completed their own work prior. Yet this creates a dilemma in that previous meetings, as guests of Native Presbyterian congregations around the country, don’t occur. Those meetings enabled NACC to experience worship and fe
llowship with these churches that sometimes are the only Native congregations in their area. By NACC meeting among them it brought a sense of caring and support to those far-flung churches. So the committee will consider this in planning of their annual gatherings.
Reports were heard from the Synod and Presbytery representatives including from Fenton Rexford, from Kaktovik, AK., who represented the Native American
Rev. Irvin Porter discussed what he, as the Associate for Native American Congregational Support, will be focusing upon in the remaining months of 2013 including conducting “town hall meetings” in four Native
American Presbyterian communities which hold some of the largest gatherings of Native Presbyterians in the country; the Nez Perce in north-central Idaho, Dakota Presbytery, the Choctaw Parish in south-eastern Oklahoma and the Gila River Indian Community (Pima tribe) in southern Arizona. With communication job #1, Irvin has planned these listening events to not only let Native congregations know what they can expect from him as the new Associate but also to hear what their joys, concerns and to answer their questions.
An Indian Taco dinner was hosted by the committee as a way of ending their meeting in Louisville but also as a way of sharing with RE/WM personnel and others at the Presbyterian Center.
The names of the newest members of NACC will be published once all those elected have consented to serve. A meeting in the fall is being planned as an orientation for new members and to prioritize the issues that are facing Native American Presbyterians and continue to resource the PCUSA.
Three Native participants attended the Presbyterian Cross Cultural Young Adult Network gathering and luncheon held on Sunday which included a service of worship and a guest speaker, Roger Nishioka. Big Tent 2013 was a success for Native participation and we hope it’s just the beginning.