Photo: The Rev. George Tinker addresses the board of the General Commission on Christian Unity Interreligious Concerns on Sept. 28, 2010 in Denver, Colo.
Native American theologian, scholar to be keynote speaker for ‘Act of Repentance’
(New York, NY) — The Rev. George E. “Tink” Tinker, renowned indigenous advocate and theologian, will be the keynote speaker for The United Methodist Church’s “Act of Repentance To Indigenous Peoples,” April 27 in Tampa, Fla. The service will take place during the denomination’s General Conference, the top legislative body of nearly 1,000 delegates held every four years.
Tinker, a citizen of the Osage Nation, has been an activist in urban American Indian communities for many years. He joined the faculty at United Methodist-related Iliff School of Theology in 1985, where he serves as the Clifford Baldridge Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions. He is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Tinker has served on an advisory council for the development of the Act of Repentance since 2008.
“The planning committee for the Act of Repentance service understands that the relationship between indigenous peoples and United Methodists is at a critical stage, ” said the Rev. Stephen Sidorak, staff executive of the church-wide General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligous Concerns (GCCUIC). “We need to speak some uncomfortable truths about our collective past and care for our indigenous community in a way that does not re-traumatize those among us. Tinker can help us accomplish this goal.”
Tinker has pursued open debate and discussion of his theological views with Indian people in his own community and with global ecumenical partners in venues such as the World Council of Churches—where he has often served as a consultant.
About the Act of Repentance to Indigenous Peoples
The 2008 General Conference mandated the GCCUIC to bring healing to indigenous peoples through an Act of Repentance. In preparation, the commission has held nearly two dozen listening sessions with indigenous people in the United States and two in the regional conferences outside the United States. The dialogues were described as a starting point to understand what it will take to create an experience for the church that will have integrity and be authentic and credible.
In addition to the Act of Repentance service, the GCCUIC will bring legislation to the General Conference asking that a process of healing relationships with indigenous persons continue for the next four years and beyond. The resolution also calls on annual conferences to be in dialogue with indigenous peoples and to hold an Act of Repentance Service in each annual (regional) conference.
About the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Affairs
GCCUIC is a general agency of The United Methodist Church that engages and works with other Christian denominations toward greater visibility of our essential unity in Jesus Christ. It also works toward better interreligious relationships with all of God’s children.