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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    A Day of Truth and Repentance for Our Children 2022

    September 13, 2022 / By Sharon Schmit, CONAM

    (Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from a letter that Sharon Schmit wrote to be mailed to local church representatives for CONAM. We will also be using the prayer and liturgy as part of the CONAM video for Annual Conference 2022.

    Long before and since the release of the Department of Interior’s initial report on boarding schools, there has been much focus on the devastating impacts of the Indian boarding school policies that tore away generations of Native American children from their families and communities. A National Day of Remembrance is celebrated on September 30. 

    UNYCONAM has chosen to support the Native American International Caucus of the United Methodist Church to recognize October 6, or the nearest Sunday, as a day of “Truth and Repentance for Our Children.” This is the same day churches are asked to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

    On October 6, 1879, General Richard Pratt took children from First Nations and opened the boarding school in Carlisle, PA.  Between 1869 and the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes and families and placed in boarding schools operated by the federal government and churches, including the United Methodist Church, to “Americanize” and “Christianize” them, stripping them of their rich culture, traditions, and language. 

    Please include a prayer, liturgy, and/or message in your church worship to continue the process of healing, justice, and reconciliation for families and communities. A few suggestions follow:

    Scripture: John 8:32  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

    Prayer: Creator of us all, thank you for leading us into a time where history is being unveiled for us all to see. We come with compassionate hearts that ache with sorrow for injustices brought against our Native brothers and sisters. Open our hearts and minds to your command to love one another that we may enter a new era of truth telling and justice.  As the painful truth of boarding schools is revealed, help us hear the stories of those taken from their homes and the voices of those who never returned. We pray for a world where all peoples are respected and able to live in community, speak their language, and share their culture and traditions from generation to generation. Amen

    Liturgy

    As we listen with honor and respect to heart-wrenching stories of boarding school survivors,

                    We remember for the children long ago, now, and yet to come.

    As we continue our journey of repentance for the actions for many within and without the church,

                    We journey for the children long ago, now, and yet to come.

    As we seek healing and justice for generations affected by the devastating impacts of the Indian boarding school policies

                    We pray for the children long ago, now, and yet to come.

    Resources:

    Click here for an article on the Department of Interior’s initial report on boarding schools.

    Click here to visit the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

    Click here to learn about and support the legislation on H.R.5444 - Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act.

    TAGGED / Connectional Ministries


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."