An Update To Our Mission
For the past approximately five to six years, I and the consequent church that resulted from my initial efforts and those who followed afterwards have focused on reaching out to Native Americans specifically. Indeed, part of our mission statement has been to reach out to tribes as we could. To date, we have contacted numerous tribes and have received a marginal reply. Likewise, we have stood up for Native Rights strongly. To be clear, these motives were not born of attempting to convert natives, but rather to see if there was commonly shared ground. That time as a major focus of this church is over.
Why the Change?
Mostly it is a factor of time. The reaching out has been given a long enough time to reap whatever fruits it will reap. The effort has not received much help or support from either natives or those who ought to be concerned about their welfare. Indeed, many have paid lip service to the idea of wishing to help the natives in one way or another, but yet when the time came to act on this heart-felt help nothing came of it. In many cases, people betrayed their former promises. There is nothing novel about this chain of events as it has happened before. As mortals though, we are called to atone for such mistakes during certain moments of time. There are windows of forgiveness. It is important that when such windows open, we are able to take action such that we move through them.
The New Mission
The New Mission is to make an outreach to whatever it is that constitutes Ephraim in specific. The broader goal is always the reunification of the Tribes of Israel inasmuch as that can be done. This in no way precludes Native Americans who happen to also be a member of a Tribe of Israel. The decision is not made strictly on flesh and blood alone in this case, but what the spiritual motives are for the people who wish to hear what it is we are about and what we have to say.
What does this Mean?
There is not a fundamentally different approach here, other than the focus. One might say that our former motives were a bit more tolerant of pagan belief systems in an effort to see who could or could not be reached with what we had to say. It says little for certain pagans who attacked this church during its time of outreach into those audiences. The goal was never to convert anyone with force or coercive techniques. No true conversion can happen except by a love of those things which are holy and teachings which are holy. To those whose hearts might otherwise be occupied but recognized the spirit, this ministry was and is for them.
We Still Have The Same Values
We still believe in justice, and we still think we should live lightly on the Earth. Indeed, there are many ways of worship that are strikingly like Native American beliefs that as a church we observe. As I have stated elsewhere, I believe that at least some Native Americans are part of the lost tribes of Israel. It is not that surprising then that there should be overlap between the traditions.