Friday, October 3, 2014

Centennial Celebration

Happy Centennial, Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church! We held our Centennial Dinner tonight. Somewhere between 150 and 200 people attended. They came from as far away as New York and from as close as next door. We ate together and shared some stories.

I gave this glass piece to a representative of the church, commemorating 100 years of service in Dulce. The circle represents the Jicarilla Seal, which has both the red clan and white clan colors, a basket-woven circle with tipis, and the shape of the reservation. I incorporated the cross and the 100 for the centennial.

Two speakers tonight really spoke to my heart. The first was a representative of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. He is an elected official, and the Nation is a sovereign nation. He spoke about the role the church has had in the community's history, both good and bad. He himself is not a member of a Christian church, and he didn't shy away from that fact.

The second speaker was a white man representing the Reformed Church of America, our denomination. He also addressed the history of the church's relationship with the Jicarilla Apache people. He, too, talked about the good parts of that historical relationship and the bad parts. He specifically brought up a couple of incidents written about by a Jicarilla Christian man: Being punished for speaking Jicarilla and forcibly cutting off his braids, both happening during this man's childhood by the Reformed Church. In his book, this man asks, "Will anyone ever apologize?"

Tonight, the white man from our denomination apologized to the Jicarilla man from our community, who was present at the celebration. He apologized more generally to the Jicarilla Apache people, saying that Jesus would never have approved such actions by His church.

I pray that a healing began with that apology. I pray that the work of the Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church will move forward to the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord, in ways that He would approve.

Amen. And amen.

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