Native American Ministries Sunday

The relationship between Native American people and Christianity is a complicated one. Part of the process of healing and reconciliation is to learn about history and culture. It is also important to know that Native spirituality and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. On Sunday, April 14 at 10:30 a.m. at Camp Milan Retreat Center, there will be a worship service sponsored by two United Methodist Churches that honors Native American Ministries Sunday.

Portions of the offering at this service will go to fund scholarships, help people in native reservations, and fund ministries in Illinois specifically allocated for Native American ministries. The service will be led by retired United Methodist pastor Rev. Dan Lybarger, who is of Cherokee and Ojibwe descent.

Lybarger is a Native American historian, storyteller, and flute player. He is a retired United Methodist Elder who served many years as the pastor for Native American Fellowship Dayspring Church in East Peoria. Dayspring is a unique faith community in that they are centered on the gospel of Christ, but their worship include flute playing, drum circles, dance, and other traditional native customs. Lybarger knows there is great potential for such an expression of Christianity in the Quad Cities area.

Organizers hope that this Sunday will be the first step in a more sustained effort to minister to people of native American descent. Pastor Lisa Wiedman of Trinity United Methodist Church in Milan will be a part of the service. She is of Cherokee descent and will share Communion with indigenous elements.

“Black Hawk is all over the Quad Cities. It a college, a hotel, a bank, a park, historic site. You can’t go far through the Quad Cities without running into something recalls the leader who once dwelt in this land. How many people however, know much about the man?” wondered Pastor Robb McCoy of Two Rivers United Methodist Church, one of the hosting churches.

McCoy will take a back seat in the service, allowing the other leaders to teach and share their faith from their indigenous perspective. He will share his findings from local historians as well as his research into the local history and some insight he has found from reading books like The Autobiography of Black Hawk.

After the 10:30 a.m. worship service, there will be a pot-luck picnic. Everyone is invited to bring a dish to share. There is refrigeration and electricity at the site to keep dishes either hot or cold until the 12:00 lunch. The service and picnic will be outside under the covered pavilion unless there is inclement weather. If there is rain, everything can be moved inside to the retreat center.

Information and a map to Camp Milan can be found at campmilan.org. The street address is 12905 13th Street in rural Milan, south of the main town, off of route 67.