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August 9, 1979 Indian Ministries Officer Named 79256

Episcopal News Service

New York -- Presiding Bishop John M. Allin has named a 30-year-old member of the Choctaw nation to be the Episcopal Church's staff officer for Indian ministries.

Steve Charleston, of Oklahoma City, will replace Henry Clyde Redshirt who left the post in the spring to become chief judge of a Sioux reservation tribal court system. Charleston will take up his duties Sept. 1 and will travel immediately to Denver for the Church's General Convention where he hopes to talk with a number of people involved in ministries among native Americans.

The appointment was made with the strong backing of the National Committee on Indian Work, a subcommittee of the Church in Society standing committee of Executive Council under which this ministry falls.

Charleston's duties will be concerned with strengthening leadership and advancing legal rights among the constituents. Episcopal congregations of American Indians are found in Navajoland, the Dakotas, Alaska, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas, California, Oregon and New York.

Much of the work involves ecumenical structures as well as diocesan, regional and provincial organizations. Charleston will be based in the Episcopal Church Center in New York and will work closely with other program groups in the Center to enhance this ministry.

A graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., and the Episcopal Divinity School from which he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1976, Charleston has been active in urban Indian ministry until his recent return to his native Oklahoma. He served as information officer and director of public relations for the Boston Indian Council. He has also produced and written television and radio programs about American Indians.

He has served as a lecturer and graduate instructor in racism and Native American Religion and Culture at Boston University and Boston College.

He and his wife, Susan Shettles Charleston, have one son. They will live in New York.