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The Native American Congregational Support Office’s purpose is to enable the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to respond to Native American congregational issues, enable Native American Presbyterians to participate actively in the mission of the church, facilitate the church’s task of evangelism and leadership development and serve as a liaison to ecumenical and denominational entities in relation to issues affecting Native American Presbyterian churches and chapels.
The Native American Congregational Support Office and the Native American Consulting Committee work collaboratively on issues related to Native American ministries.
The Native American Congregational Support Office is available to assist synods and presbyteries, congregations and others in developing a partnership for new ministry with Native Americans.
Rev. Irvin Porter, Associate for Native American Congregational Support
Irvin is descended from three Native American tribes: Pima, T’hono O’odham, and Nez Perce. He is the seventh of eight children raised by a single father after the divorce of his parents. He received an Associate of Arts degree in accounting from Haskell Indian Junior College, now a university, in Lawrence, Kansas. He worked in banking for 10 years in Idaho, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Dubuque, Iowa in 1997. He is a 2001 graduate of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary receiving his Master of Divinity degree.
Church of the Indian Fellowship in Tacoma, Washington, called Irvin as a Commissioned Lay Pastor in September 2001. He was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in October 2003 and is the first Native American pastor since the church was founded by a Presbyterian missionary among the Puyallup Indians in 1876. He continues to serve at one-quarter time.
Irvin’s interest in multicultural ministry stems not only from his pastorate in Tacoma, where he serves a multi-tribal congregation that also includes African Americans, Hispanic and Caucasian members, but also from his work on the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee, the Native American Consulting Committees of both the General Assembly and the Synod of Alaska-Northwest as well as groups within the Tacoma, Washington area, working for increased dialogue between the races.
You can download a directory of Native American Congregations here.
Doctrine of Discovery
The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) called the church to confess its complicity and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. The action also called for a review of the history of the doctrine and the writing of a report on the doctrine. Attached is the reformatted version of the Doctrine of Discovery report approved by the 223rd GA (2018).
Here you can find the Intercultural Initiative approved by the 223rd General Assembly (2018): “Declare an Imperative for the Reformation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in being a Transformative Church in This Intercultural Era”.
Speaker’s Bureau on Indigenous Issues
Congregations, mid-councils, national church agencies, and other groups may contact speakers to learn more about indigenous issues, such as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Apology to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians or the Doctrine of Discovery. In this sharing, we seek to assist the church in becoming God’s intercultural community and work together to end structural racism and white supremacy. See below names of Presbyterian leaders who are available to speak on indigenous issues, as listed by regions.”
Native American Church Properties Inventory and Fund
The 223rd General Assembly (2018) directed the Presbyterian Mission Agency to work with mid councils to facilitate an assembly-wide inventory documenting the physical needs of Native American churches and chapels. The action taken also directed the Presbyterian Foundation to create an ongoing fund for urgent and immediate repairs and improvements.