Native Youth Resource – Kaze Gadway, Oneida

Native Youth Resource – Kaze Gadway, Oneida

February 27, 2013
By: 
Sarah Eagleheart

"Why don’t we each write a story about how the youth live the five marks of mission," suggests Bishop Carol Gallagher. "Then youth ministers will see how practical the five marks can be."

With delight, the five of us in the room begin to write, reading our stories to each other and sharing some suggestions and editing advice.  The Holy Spirit is alive and well as our excitement flows about how our Native youth respond to our mission to:

  • Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
  • Teach, baptize, and nurture new believers
  • Respond to human need by loving service
  • Seek to transform unjust structures of society
  • Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

We have more than enough stories to illustrate each mark. And each of us tells a story in completely different ways. The energy in the room spins around and around in a circle of collegiality.

This is our third meeting of the previously named Youth Manual Team. We still only have isolated bits and pieces of good ideas without a coherent format. When we chose to use the Marks of Mission as our outline, everything fell into place.

I admitted that I didn’t use anything in the previous meetings in my actual youth work. With that confession on the table, all of us talked about what would be helpful for our existing youth groups.

Our homework assignment now is to find links to the five marks that we can include in the resource guide.

Working in the small group invigorated all of us.  But our melding with the larger group at Wintertalk 2013 made it a time of blessing.  Sitting at different tables at mealtimes enabled us to catch up on what is happening to the Native faith community at large. Beginning and ending our day with worship blended the Christian and Traditional words, songs, and chants. This gave us power to remember who we are and where we come from.
A special treat came as Bishop Steven Charleston gave his talk on four approaches to Native Youth Ministry. In fact, we had several Bishops and other Native presenters talk to us the way it really is in our Native cultures.

What can I say? Even through a snow storm descended on us the last day, I left with gratefulness that our Native people have something to say and the skill to proclaim it.