April 24, 2017
Did you know that two of our nation’s poorest counties are in central South Dakota? Todd County is home to the Sicangu Lakota tribe and the Rosebud Reservation. Shannon County is home to the Oglala Lakota tribe and the Pine Ridge Reservation. Alcoholism rates are around 40%. Unemployment is even higher, around 80%. Life spans are 20 years shorter on the reservation than in communities just across the border. Drugs and violence are common and suicide rates are more than four times higher than the national average. At the same time, beneath this reality lies a rich and enduring culture that has roots going back over 10,000 years.
As we continue to embrace our role in God’s mission, steward his creation, and participate in his ongoing work, our role as image-bearers requires us to serve others in the name of Christ. One of the many ways that we do this as a seminary community is through our annual Rosebud Immersion Experience, which will take place on July 8-14 this year.
I invite you to take a week and immerse yourself. Being “fully alive” is about embracing your role in God’s mission and submitting each aspect of your life to Christ, and through authentic relationships, invite others to do the same. This sometimes requires us to step out of our comfort zones, but the reward is immeasurable. So come and experience the culture grasps the presence of the Creator in all things and values each person (regardless of who they are or where they are from) and of the importance of relationship.
The Rosebud immersion involves a week of listening and learning and of dialogue and reflection. Attendees hear from native speakers, attend culturally-relevant ceremonies and events, and explore contextualized approaches to service and ministry. What is gained from the time on Rosebud Reservation and with the Sicangu Lakota people has relevance for any and all cross-cultural contexts.
So please join me, Dr. Casey Church, a missiologist and Potawatomi pipe carrier who has been serving God in a contextualized format for over 20 years, and Dr. Jack (Corky) Alexander, a missiologist who has been working in native contexts for almost 15 years. You will be changed. You will learn about how to use your gifts to extend grace and service across cultural lines. You will become more fully alive, and by your very presence on the reservation, you will bring life to our Lakota neighbors.
This cultural immersion experience is the product of a partnership between Sioux Falls Seminary, Indigenous Pathways, Sioux Falls Psychological Services, and Wiconi. Space is limited, so register soon by contacting Sioux Falls Seminary at 605-336-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the experience, download the information sheet below or contact me at email@example.com. I hope to see you in July!