Monday, August 12, 2013

Fulfilling the Promise

I met a young friend at the recent Global Gathering in June; her name is Emily Clark. I’ve known Emily through her family at Warner Camp for quite a few years now – long enough for Emily to work as a teen in the Camp Dining Hall for Susan Stace and my wife, long enough for me to baptize Emily although she belonged to Tom Tufts flock at Kalamazoo Westwood, long enough for Emily to matriculate from Anderson University and now hold a Bachelor of Divinity from the School of Theology + receive her CPE for Clinical Pastoral Education, and now long enough for Emily to begin finding her way into church ministry.

Emily is a committed Christian. She has achieved an excellent education!  Emily is competent to go wherever she is called, but she has chosen a place that captured my fancy back in 1985 when I drove to South Dakota and spent one week as the person in charge of our Mission at Wounded Knee; the real Mission Agent at that time was away at the national gathering of Native American Mission leaders. That gave me a learning experience I never forgot. It taught me much I did not know before—especially just how little I really knew about our First American culture. I married an Oklahoman with considerable Cherokee in her. Her father travelled the Trail of Tears from NC to AR as a boy and later served as an interpreter in the Indian Court, but this was a new education for me, and I discovered just how much I did not know.

In Anderson, I learned of Emily’s passion for Wounded Knee and her intention of “Fulfilling the Promise.” This became my chance to give Emily a small boost by sharing her dream with YOU. The Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota have long lived under the shadow of broken promises; I went there not really believing that. The United States government offered the tribe treaties promising that they could keep their land, their language, and their traditional way of life; unfortunately the government broke these promises. This betrayal left the Lakota unable to thrive as they once had on the prairie and resulted in a new way of life in which these people struggled to survive. The effects of that betrayal are still evident in the difficulties of daily life on Pine Ridge. Shannon County, home to most  of Pine Ridge, is one of the poorest counties in America—80% of the population lives below the poverty line. The unemployment rate is around 85%. The rate of teen suicide on the reservation is 150% higher than off the reservation. The high school dropout rate is 70%. The life expectancy for the reservation is 48 for men and 52 for women.

In the midst of this dark reality, the Wounded Knee Church of God on Pine Ridge stands as a testimony to a different kind of promise—not the promise of government treaties, but the promise of God’s kingdom (It is the “only” church mission utilizing Native American architecture). Theirs is a promise that the hope of the gospel means life can be brighter in Pine Ridge. Pastor Stanley Hollow Horn believes that Wounded Knee Church of God can make these promises a reality for his hurting community; however, he knows he cannot do it alone. He shared his dream with the good folk at Germantown, Ohio and they have LAUNCHED AN EXCITING NEW PROJECT AT WOUNDED KNEE CALLED “THE PLACE OF PROMISE.”

The Place of Promise will be a community center located on the church property. Here, the community can come together in healthy ways. Children can play a game of basketball, women can exercise, and youth can learn new skills.  This facility will provide accessible offices for the church, serve as an outlet for ministry and outreach, and, most importantly, stand as a symbol to the promise of hope for Pine Ridge. Here, the broken promises plaguing the reservation for over a century will fade away and people can experience the tangible, eternal promises of God.

ANYONE wishing to help FULFILL THE PROMISE please contact the First Church of God in Germantown, Ohio at 937-855-6907 for more information. OR, VISIT

Here is where Emily comes in (I didn’t forget her). SHE WILL BE AVAILABLE TO SPEAK, BEGINNING IN SEPEMBER--TO YOUR CHURCH-- YOUR SMALL GROUP--OR BUSINESS. When I baptized this happy, freckle-faced little red-headed girl from Kalamazoo into the waters of Lester Lake that long ago, I had no idea where following Christ was going to lead her. Since that time she has spent time at Wounded Knee and has plans for investing some of the most significant time of her young life at Pine Ridge Reservation and there she will give loving service.

You can contact Emily at emily.clark05@gmail or call her at 269-312-0837. Project leaders are looking for people willing to make a five-year financial commitment of some kind, to help make this promise a sustained reality. The Place of Promise (pictured at the top of the page) is a dream quickly becoming a physical reality, but in order to stand against darkness we depend on the light that comes from the whole community of God.

From Warner’s World, this is asking you who can to  support Emily in this vey worthwhile project. I thank you; Emily thanks you, and the project leaders at Germantown thank you . . . :-)

1 comment:

Raimundo Soares de Andrade said...

Deus é fiel e cumpre suas promessas. Abraços meu amigo Warner