Ethnic Congregational Development

Native American Ministry: Enmegahbowh

Enmegahbowh (Ottawa), the first American Indian ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1859.

Native American Ministry:  New Jamestown Covenant

Owanah Anderson, a Choctaw from Oklahoma and director of Native American Ministries of the Episcopal Church, signs the New Jamestown Covenant, the Church’s new covenant with Native Americans, November 1997.

The current ethnic ministry programs are direct descendants of special commissions formed as a result of restructuring of the Executive Council in the late 1960s and reforms arising from the General Convention Special Program of 1969. Although officers for Black and Native American ministries had worked in the Home Department of the National Council for many years, the issues facing the Church and American society in the late 1960s forced the Council to re-examine its approach to these ministries. As a result, several advisory commissions were appointed by the Executive Council and General Convention to direct policy towards ethnic groups and to distribute funds from the General Convention Special Program. A staff officer was also appointed to supplement each commission. These four commissions directed African American, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian ministries.

Throughout the 1970s, the ethnic desks were pulled together into a single department from their separately administered programs. The desks became a part of Congregational Ministries in 1995, now Ethnic Congregational Development, where they remain to this day. At the 2003 General Convention, the work of the Asian American, Black, Hispanic, and Native American Ministries desks was affirmed as integral to the Church’s new evangelism effort. [Sources]