Petition 80153

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Healing Relationships (80153-IC-R133)

Replace existing Resolution #133 with the following:

Whereas, historically United Methodism and its predecessor bodies have desired to reach indigenous peoples around the world with the good news of the gospel, yet at the same time that good news has sometimes been perceived as bad news, as Christian efforts have not only introduced Jesus Christ, but in many cases resulted in indignities, cultural
genocide, and atrocities against the tribal peoples, and
Whereas God has been present with all peoples since creation, and through prevenient grace has been a living and moving Spirit among the world’s diverse cultures, and
Whereas in many parts of the world, to become a Christian may mean one is expected to  
abandon one’s culture and traditional religion, resulting in tension and division within families and tribes, and the loss of the unique identity associated with family and clan, including in some places: the requirement to stop speaking one’s own language, to change one’s clothing and hair, to discontinue participation in prayer ceremonies of the tribe and any number of cultural activities such as music and dance, and
Whereas, God so loved the world that he sent his son Jesus, and many missionaries have befriended and suffered with indigenous peoples in tragic circumstances and thereby  
have been a true witness of the love of God, we celebrate and confess the faithful and painful journey of our church’s relationship with indigenous peoples, seeking to learn  the lessons from our past and to avoid the pitfalls that would hinder the sharing and  receiving  of the gospel of Christ among indigenous persons, and
Whereas the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns has participated in conversations with persons who practice their indigenous religion and have yet to hear the gospel as good news;
Be it therefore resolved that the United Methodist Churches throughout the world seek
ways to build bridges of respect and understanding, that our churches listen and become educated about the history of the relationship between indigenous persons and Christian colonizers in their own geographic location, and that through prayer and relationship building, develop means for reconciliation and celebrate the gifts that indigenous people bring to the body of Jesus in the world, and
Be it also resolved that the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns facilitate and make available to annual conferences and local churches,  resources to suggest models and guidelines for building relationships with indigenous persons, and  
Be it also resolved that the General Conference hold an Act of Repentance Service at the 2012 gathering of the Conference, and that that service will launch study, dialogue, and acts of repentance in all annual conferences over the following quadrennium, and
Be it also resolved that the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns be charged with the necessary study and preparation of resources for the process of listening, repentance, and reconciliation to occur.