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  • Rev. Bradford G. Olson

The United Methodist Church did a good thing today!

Today the United Methodist Church gave sacred land back to the Wyandotte Nation. We can't change the past, but God can redeem it.

According to Billy Friend, chief of the Wyandotte Nation, in 1819 a woman from his tribe came to hear John Stewart, an African-American, speak and was so taken by his voice and his singing that she brought back several others. That began a relationship between the Wyandotte Nation and the United Methodist Church that continues to this day.

John Stewart became the first U.S. Methodist Missionary and established the Wyandotte Indian Mission, located in Upper Sandusky. Two Wyandotte Chiefs would accept a call to ministry from this mission.

In 1843 the tribe was relocated from Ohio by the Indian Removal Act. They were promised 148,000 acres in what is now Kansas City, Kansas. When they arrived, there was nothing for them. They then relocated to Oklahoma, where they are still located today. This forced relocation was part of what has come to be known as the Trail of Tears.

The United Methodist Church has held the original cabin and cemetery in trust since their departure.

Today we gave it back.

It is part of a recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Mission Society of the United Methodist Church. More than 500 people gathered this afternoon at the John Steward UMC to recognize this historic moment.

We may not be able to change what happened in the past, but we can remember it so that we don't repeat it. We can work for justice in order to bring about healing and redemption. We can celebrate the relationships that have endured hard times and look for signs of hope.

Click here if you would like to see an article by the West Ohio Conference of the UMC.

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