Native Assembly opening draws crowd

Published 6:29 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
Opening ceremonies were held for the bi-annual Native Assembly yesterday at McCullough Christian Center north of Atmore, with the theme "God is One, We are One".
More than 20 different tribes from across North America gathered for the first meeting of the assembly that are sponsored by the Native Mennonite Ministries and Native Ministries of Canada, in partnership with Poarch Community Church and McCullough Christian Center.
"We celebrate who we are," Native assembly host and pastor Steve Cheramie said. "The diversity of who we are as a native people and the diversity of who we are in our worship styles, our cultures and our languages."
The Assembly began Monday evening with a worship service led by Henry and Sherry Johnson, followed by an ice cream social.
A cultural sharing program with native dancing, traditional foods and inflatable games followed the opening ceremony for the children Tuesday.
Laretta Weaver has participated in many assemblies like this one across the southeast.
"It's a way of bringing our two cultures together, the Indian culture and the White culture. We have a real good blend of that in our Native American churches."
Other special events of the assembly will include building a living stone ceremony (Act 17:26) to open and close the assembly, a Christian water ceremony, worship services each evening, and a watermelon picnic at Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve.
Youth events include speakers, youth worship times, outdoor recreation and competitions, cultural crafts, late-night afterglow activities, and service projects on the reservation.
The children will be meeting at Poarch Community Church with activities such as Bible lessons, crafts, recreation and singing. Each evening, the children will be invited to participate in the worship service at McCullough Christian Center. Members of the Harrisonburg Mennonite Church from Harrisonburg, Va., will be leading the children's activities.
(WEAR reporter James Jackson contributed to this report.)

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